The education sector is managing significant challenges and opportunities as the market continues to evolve rapidly in response to competition and the country's economic circumstances.
The further and higher education sectors have become fiercely competitive with degree awarding powers facilitating diversity and innovation within the Higher Education sector.
The larger FE colleges have been on the merger and acquisition trail and have become powerful organisations with strong brands and an international presence, with all colleges considering how best they can manage their estates, control costs and work more closely in collaboration with each other and the private sector.
Many universities, in response to the gaps created by funding cuts, are focusing on creating wealth through their research capabilities. Research and innovation are the hallmark of these organisations as they strive to thrive in a tough economic environment.
Schools have seen a huge shake-up, with a continuing numbers of schools being awarded academy status, the creation of Multi Academy Trusts and the merger of smaller Multi Academy Trusts, giving them greater autonomy and control over budgets.
At Rollits Solicitors, we represent a range of education establishments, including some of the most ambitious and innovative institutions in the country. Our clients include colleges in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region that are recognised nationally and internationally for their best practice and influence on the sector.
We also act for a wide range of Multi Academy Trusts together with leading universities and independent schools as well as state schools, sixth-form colleges, student unions, nurseries, local authorities and private training providers.
The team at Rollits really know us. They work collaboratively with us and each other and you never feel like they will “drop the ball” – everyone knows what is happening and they keep us up to date at every step of the way.The UK Legal 500 2024 edition
Approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic.The UK Legal 500, 2024 edition
The Education team at Rollits provide us with a regular and trusted source of advice on an increasingly wide range of matters. We have a good, personal relationship with the team of solicitors. They are extremely responsive and will always get back to us same day, and in an emergency they are usually available on demand.The UK Legal 500 2023 edition
Local knowledge and responsiveness to queries and in the provision of advice. Very accessible with a dedicated and named team.The UK Legal 500, 2023 edition
"We have access to a knowledgeable team who are very familiar with the issues facing the sector and indeed our particular college. A small team with whom we have built a strong relationship and who are very reactive to our ongoing requirements."The UK Legal 500 2022 - Education
Excellent responsiveness, professional, comprehensive communications and thorough understanding and awareness of the education sector.The UK Legal 500 2022 - Education
Our education law expertise
Our education law solicitors deal with a full range of issues for education establishments, including:
- Acquisitions and mergers
- Constitutional and governance advice
- Funding arrangements
- Regulatory compliance including around funding rules
- Property law including planning and development
- Data protection and freedom of information legislation
- Employment law
- Information technology
- Contract law including drafting contracts for education subcontractor arrangements
- Asset transfers
- Academy conversions and mergers
- Dispute resolution
- Student complaints
Get in touch with our education law UK solicitors in Yorkshire
To discuss your educational law requirements, get in touch with our specialist education solicitors. From our offices in both Hull and York, we support clients in the region and the North, as well as across the rest of the UK.
Our education legal services
Acquisitions and mergers give colleges the opportunity to come together to provide a more efficient service, with the potential to reduce overheads and increase provision.
We regularly advise institutions on acquisitions and mergers, including in respect of structuring, employment issues and other legal implications.
We can take your college through the entire merger or acquisition process, ensuring you have the right agreements in place to create a robust legal foundation for your new venture.
Having the right constitutional set-up in place will give your organisation the sound framework it needs to be resilient and manage the many challenges facing the sector. We can work with your institution to ensure it has a robust constitution and provide recommendations on governance issues as needed.
Ensuring you have the right advice before making crucial decisions will mean that you have the assurance of knowing your actions have a sound basis. Where they have been thought through and discussed with a legal expert beforehand, difficulties will be minimised and you will be able to defend your actions robustly.
Educational funding arrangements are notoriously complex and it can be invaluable to have clear guidance from an expert in ensuring that you are maximising your opportunities while staying within the rules.
The education provision system is highly regulated and compliance requirements are strict. We help our clients navigate a full range of regulations, from health and safety to data security.
Funding is a particularly complex area and our team can advise you on the rules, ensuring you are compliant with the requirements of the Education and Skills Funding Agency and that your organisation follows their financial management good practice guides.
As your institution evolves, you may need to acquire more premises, develop existing sites and change the use of some of your buildings. We advise clients on dealing with education property matters, including purchasing property for schools, colleges and universities, planning advice and obtaining planning consent and bringing together all of the legal strands needed for a development. This could include financing, development contracts, planning issues, development management agreements, building contracts and appointment documents.
Educational establishments are party to a vast array of contracts and subcontracts with suppliers, employees, stakeholders and others.
We can work with you to establish exactly what you want from a contract, then draft and negotiate terms to ensure that you have a sound agreement in place. We will go through every requirement to ensure that it is in your best interests, including the terms, conditions, warranties and indemnities you need to protect your organisation’s rights.
Our education contract services include:
- Service agreements
- Agreements for goods and services
- IT contracts
- Joint venture and collaboration agreements
- Contracts for the use of facilities
- Agreements for public procurement
In the education sector, it is essential to have clear and concise employment contracts and policies in place. These documents help to protect both the employer and the employee, and ensure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.
Some of the key policies that should be in place include:
- Policies for absence and sickness
- Policies for diversity and equality
- Disciplinary and grievance processes
- Health and safety
- Performance reviews
- Flexible working
- Equal Opportunities
Our academy conversion and merger solicitors have extensive experience in helping schools through the processes, whether that’s considering whether it is the right choice to convert to an academy, putting an academy trust in place, creating a Multi Academy Trust or merging Multi Academy Trusts .
Operating as an academy can give you the control you need over your school and any others who join with you, including managing staffing, budgets and admissions as well as more freedom to choose your direction and the emphasis you want to place on certain areas of education.
Our team can ensure that you have the best possible start from the initial advice to the creation of the academy or multi academy trust. Our academy conversion and merger services include:
- Initial advice on converting to an academy
- Converting new schools into existing academy trusts
- Merger of multi academy trusts
- Setting up the legal structure of your academy or multi academy trust
- Advice on regulatory compliance, to include putting the necessary framework in place to ensure ongoing compliance
- Transfer of premises and other assets to the academy trust
- Dealing with the transfer of employees and their contracts
- Advising on your funding agreement with the Department for Education
- Ongoing assistance to your academy on a long-term basis to deal with issues such as contracts, compliance and funding
With a complex organisation such as a school, college or university, you can expect to be involved in legal disputes from time to time. To resolve these efficiently, it is crucial to address them as soon as they arise.
We routinely work with our education sector clients to manage and resolve disputes effectively. By involving an expert in education legal advice early on, you stand the best chance of dealing with the issue before it escalates and positions become entrenched.
Our team can step in on your behalf to assess the issue and offer suggestions to end the matter. We are usually able to resolve matters without the need for litigation, which is faster and more cost-effective and allows you to return your focus to where it is needed, running your organisation.
Where it is not possible to resolve matters by correspondence and negotiation, we can recommend alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or early neutral evaluation.
As a final resort, we can prepare a strong case for court or Tribunal if this proves necessary.
We have a strong track record of success in dealing with issues promptly and out of court.
Why choose our education lawyers?
At Rollits, we have a strong reputation in education law for our in-depth understanding of the sector and the clear and practical advice that we provide, focused on your goals as well as your needs. Working in partnership with an Education Consultant from the sector means we are uniquely placed to enable us to provide the correct legal advice and in context.
We will always take the time to gain a thorough knowledge of your institution, building long-term relationships that allow us to provide the best possible guidance and representation. A substantial number of our education clients have been with us for many years.
Our partner-led approach means that you will deal with highly experienced lawyers on a daily basis who know the sector inside-out. We provide bespoke advice, tailored to the unique needs of your organisation and we will always make sure we are available as needed to discuss any concerns you may have and talk through situations to ensure that the actions you are taking are the right ones.
Established over 180 years ago, we have a wealth of legal experience and are known for the high standards of service we provide. We are also a strong presence in the local community, involving ourselves in charity work and supporting schools, churches and social enterprises.
We provide additional legal support and practical guidance to our education clients, in partnership with an education consultant, through regular briefings and training sessions on topical issues impacting the sector.
Our education legal services fees
We know that budgets are of major concern to those in the education sector and you will find our costs to be competitive. We offer an exceptional service and will always work to ensure this is provided to you in the most cost-efficient way possible, providing you with the right level of legal expertise for your requirements.
We will provide you with costs estimates from the outset as well as regular updates. To discuss our education law fees, please contact us today and we will be happy to talk through your needs.
Speak with our education lawyers today
Our education law specialists work with a full range of education establishments and have a high level of expertise in this challenging sector.
To discuss your requirements, please feel free to ring to speak to an education lawyer. From our offices in both Hull and York, we support clients in the region and the North, as well as across the rest of the UK.