Jacksons Law Firm works with primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges within both the maintained and independent education sectors. We have a long-established track record of advising on the whole spectrum of legal issues which schools encounter, providing practical and pragmatic legal advice and support.
We have a genuine interest in education and we acknowledge and support the vital role that education has to play in our community. We have demonstrated this over the years through a level of engagement with the education sector which has extended significantly beyond the legal services which we supply. We encourage all of our staff to participate in the voluntary sector and all of the senior lawyers within our education team have given many years of voluntary service as school governors. We have also run liaison programs with local secondary schools to provide work experience opportunities for their pupils and we regularly make our people available for career events.
We believe that the experience of our team members, as both lawyers and governors, means that we truly understand the practical considerations for a school in any matter and not just the legal issues. Our team will support your school, not from a blinkered legal perspective, but with a very real appreciation and understanding of the priorities, concerns, and needs of your staff and governors and an awareness that your school will have its unique characteristics and considerations.
Jacksons provide legal support to all types of schools and educational establishments ranging from preschool nursery to primary and secondary schools and further education colleges. The school system has gone through and will continue to go through, a period of significant change with the introduction of the academy program and the government’s pledge that all maintained schools are to become academies by the early part of the next decade. This has taken place against a backdrop of public sector cuts that have radically affected the extent and manner in which local authorities can provide services to schools. These changes will continue to impact all schools at every level of their operation.
Schools face a unique suite of legal challenges, requiring specialist expertise combined with a pragmatic and empathetic approach. We can provide support for all the legal challenges you may face no matter what your size or where you are located.
Our services to schools and colleges include:
We can advise you on the conversion options available to you including the implications of joining a multi-academy trust. Academy conversion requires several legal agreements to be drawn up. Model legal documents have been drafted by the DfE for this purpose, but it is imperative that schools obtain legal advice and guidance on the implications of the terms of these agreements. Our Education Team, which comprises experts in corporate and commercial, property, employment, and health & safety law, is experienced in handling academy conversions and the incorporation of multi-academy trusts. We can provide advice and support at all stages of the process and work with your school to ensure that your conversion is delivered on time and within the allocated budget.
Procurement and Outsourcing
Academies contract directly with their suppliers and, as publicly funded bodies, are subject to the public sector rules and regulations governing the procurement of services, works, and goods. We can help you navigate through your contractual arrangements to ensure that your procurement processes are regulatory compliant and that, through the terms of the contracts themselves, you minimize your commercial risk.
As part of the conversion process, the school property needs to be transferred or let to the academy trust. Most local authorities now have template documentation for this and we are familiar with the documents that many of the northeast authorities are using. Further, a report to the DfES is required on all site issues. Our team can assist with all such matters and have plenty of experience in doing so. Many schools now sublet, to after-school and nursery providers, areas of their site, and letting documentation to record this and ensure the school’s interests are protected is required. We can provide documentation for this and suggest options for such projects. We can also assist with renewables contracts for wind turbines or solar panels for example.
Finally, if a school has been involved in or is planning a major building project we have specialist construction lawyers who can, in the case of historical projects, review the building contracts and warranties and advise on the risks, liabilities, and rights which the academy trust will assume or, in the case of new projects, assist with the preparation of the contractual documentation and the appointment of professionals to protect the interests of the school.
An academy conversion will have significant employment law implications for the parties to the conversion and their employees. It is almost inevitable that the Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) Regulations will apply. We have extensive experience in advising and supporting educational establishments and other employers on the full range of obligations and rights that conversion brings. Before, and at the point of the transaction, this will include the election of employee representatives, the provision of information about the transfer, requirements for consultation, and due diligence including the provision of employee liability information. Post-conversion we will advise on the options for and implications of structural/organizational change and changes to employment contracts and policies.
Health and Safety
Jacksons health and safety team provides a tailored service to several organizations across a wide range of sectors including Education. We understand the importance of having up-to-date health and safety procedures in place particularly, where there are children involved. Our specialists can help you ensure your school is complying by supporting you in the following areas:
- Annual support package
- H&S management system
- Policies and procedures
- Audit and inspection
- Accident and incident investigations
- Risk assessment
- Bespoke services
Click here to find out more about Jacksons’ Health and Safety.