We understand that independent schools require legal advisors who are able to support you in every aspect of your school’s operations, conscious that the legal and regulatory issues facing independent schools are wide ranging and subject to change.
Our Education Team has the experience and expertise to help schools navigate and manage these matters with confidence.
We are able to provide expert legal advice to the governing bodies and senior leadership teams of independent schools on all matters ranging from operational issues to governance and risk management. The firm is proud to count a number of leading independent schools as clients and we would be pleased to meet you to discuss how we may support you as well.
WE CAN ADVISE ON
Drawing on expertise across the firm, we share knowledge and experience to offer an integrated service ranging from governance and HR advice to mergers and collaborations and exploring opportunities overseas.
Our expertise includes advising on:
- CHARITY LAW AND REGULATION
- COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS
- DATA PROTECTION
- DISPUTE RESOLUTION
- EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION
- FUNDRAISING AND TRADING
- GOVERNANCE AND CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS
- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
- INSOLVENCY AND RESTRUCTURING
- MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
- REAL ESTATE
- RISK AND REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
We often take the role of trusted adviser to the governing bodies of our clients, both advising on matters of the law and providing practical advice based on our education experience to assist in the implementation of the school strategic plans.
Members of our team our governors themselves, and we offer bespoke training to governing bodies on their legal roles and responsibilities, as well as on more specific topics such as fundraising, data protection and HR matters – do get in touch if you are interested in finding out more. (We have also worked closely with AGBIS to provide them with a Model Governance Manual for schools).
Some examples of our experience include:
1 Fundraising and bursary charitable foundations
Establishing fundraising and bursary charitable foundations as well as restructuring networks of significant associated bursary funds (most recently in relation to the establishment of a foundation to and the transfer of multiple bursary funds to that foundation, amounting to approx.. £30 million).
2 Royal Charter & Public Schools Act schools
Advising high profile independent schools governed by Royal Charter or the Public Schools Act on complex constitutional and governance mattes, including recent liaison liaising with the Privy Council to substantially update a School’s Statutes.
3 International franchising projects
Advising on international franchising projects, unpicking a franchising project for one of the oldest schools in the world, requiring quick action to ringfence risk in Singapore and India as well as managing the involvement of a Japanese investment house, and recent advice to a well-known school on the cessation of its activities in China.
4 Governance and constitutional reviews
Carrying out ‘root and branch’ governance and constitutional reviews for schools, including liaising with the Charity Commission to update the charitable objects of a school.
5 Teachers’ Pension Scheme
Advising a number of schools on withdrawing from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, including advising on communications with affected members of staff and trade union representatives.
6 Employment law and HR matters
Assisting schools on a range of employment law and HR matters, including advising on disciplinary allegations against staff, settlement agreements, , the scope of reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010, drafting employment and HR policies and successfully defending Employment Tribunal claims.
7 School Estates
Advising on the basis on which schools hold and can deal with properties in their estate, including the provision of security of land in financing arrangements and recent advice to a school whereby we obtained expedited Charity Commission consent to the sale of land to a connected party.
8 Charity Commission
Liaising with the Charity Commission on behalf of Schools, including recently helping to successfully navigate the governors of two schools through detailed Charity Commission enquiries.
9 Commercial contracts
Commercial contract advice to schools, including in relation to decision to waiving required fee payments in lieu of notice and advice on parent contracts.
‘BDB Pitmans stands out for its ability to advise on complex charity concerns and compliance issues, making it a go-to firm for independent schools.’
‘The Charity relies upon the expert team in this practice to provide sound, commercial advice at a good price and with an ability to respond quickly where needed.’
‘Practice head Penny Chapman has an excellent reputation in charity law; she advises independent schools and other charitable education institutions on governance, constitutional and regulatory matters.’