Employment issues are often a concern for schools and other educational institutions. We regularly work with education institutions helping them with
- drafting employment contracts and policies
- advising on managing performance issues
- handling flexible working requests
- dealing with issues surrounding pregnancy and maternity leave
- advising on ways to address the status of peripatetic teachers
- addressing retirement and age discrimination issues
- handling disciplinary investigations
- resolving issues including negotiating settlement agreements.
Our experience of working with the education sector means that we are mindful of the context in which our advice and guidance is being applied so that it is practical and relevant in the education environment.
If you have limited HR resources we offer an Employer Support Service where for a fixed monthly fee you have immediate access to a specialist employment lawyer who knows your school and, if you choose this, access to a team of dedicated HR specialists. We can also arrange protection against the financial exposure of an employment dispute. If you sign up to this service, we will undertake a free review of your contracts, policies and practices.
Property and planning
Property is often one of the key assets of an education institution and needs to be protected and maximised. Our property team advise a number of schools in Hertfordshire and North London on property sales and acquisitions, third party use agreements, and planning.
We understand the planning and property issues which affect schools in particular, whether they are located in the City Centre or in the Green Belt and we have worked with a number of schools in the area to secure planning permissions for new teaching blocks, including sports halls, a swimming pool and classrooms. Our expertise lies in unlocking the development potential of land.
Litigation and dispute resolution
Education institutions, like any large organisation, use professional advisers and enter into contractual arrangements with their suppliers. These can sometimes result in disputes including claims for breach of contract and negligence. Our litigation and dispute resolution lawyers provide robust advice not only on the legal merits of the dispute but on the most cost effective solution to it. The team has experience in a number of specialist areas including recruitment process outsourcing within education.
With the help of our family lawyers we can also work with schools where a student’s parents are in dispute following divorce or separation, to find a workable solution.
Recovery of school fees
Even with the best run credit control system, fee recovery can still be a challenge for many independent schools. We offer a professional and confidential fee recovery service to help manage the financial aspects of running a school through our fixed and capped costs debt recovery product, Debt Fast.
We work with leading independent schools in Hertfordshire and across the UK to successfully recover unpaid school fees including claims for failure to give a terms notice.
The charitable status of most independent schools needs to be taken into consideration, particularly when dealing with the property and commercial aspects of a school’s business. We advise a number of educational charities in Hertfordshire and North London not just on the sale and acquisition of properties, but also the ongoing management of investment properties owned by charities. We are able to work with schools and other educational bodies when setting up or altering the legal structure of the charity and liaising with the Charity Commission.
We help education institutions looking to secure funding and loan agreements, working alongside major banks we ensure sums being borrowed are made available as quickly as possible.
Our commercial lawyers can also check you have all the right commercial agreements in place to run a successful business, including IT contracts and parent contracts.