Independent schools operate in an increasingly competitive market. While being free from the constraints within which academies and free schools operate, independent schools have to balance their status as charities and meeting their public benefit requirement with delivering education in a fee-paying environment. The particular concerns of each independent school may vary according to their history, constitution, stakeholders, activities and asset base. However, each will need the support of lawyers who are familiar with the charity, education, property and commercial law issues that this sector faces.
We know that our clients need the comfort of speaking to those who understand the unique needs of this complex sector. Our approach is both commercial and practical. We appreciate our clients’ need to focus on outcomes and solutions while taking into account budgets, regulations and reputation. We deliver a personal service and spend time getting to know our clients and how we can best support their objectives.
We advise many independent schools in the region. The matters on which we have advised include:
- mergers and collaborations between independent schools
- governance, regulatory and compliance issues
- outsourcings of key operational support services
- the parent contract
- school fee-related matters (including fee deferral arrangements and the establishment of a fees in advance scheme)
- commercial letting arrangements
- disposals of property
- commercial contracts
- employee issues
- policies, including safe-guarding and data protection
- reputation management.
We are able to offer training on matters of particular interest to our independent school clients including as part of our training for charity trustees and on specialist topics such as data protection and issues relevant to partnership working or mergers.