Education

We support higher and further education organisations, schools, local education authorities and education governing bodies and charities across the UK.

Our education team is made up of lawyers from across our firm, who can help you navigate any area of the law.

We’ll guide you through the process if you’re moving or expanding your teaching premises, need some help with teacher or lecturer contracts, want advice on equality and diversity or student issues, or are facing a regulatory or governance challenge. Many of our lawyers are also Welsh speakers, so we can advise you in Welsh, if you prefer.

We’re on the National Procurement Service Framework for Wales, Crescent Purchasing Consortium, London Universities Purchasing Consortium, and Crown Commercial Services legal panels, so you have easy access to our services.

 

We can help with:
Governance, constitutional and regulatory

We can help with:

  • directors or trustee duties
  • proper exercise of statutory powers and duties
  • judicial review proceedings
  • charity law
  • competition law

We recently advised:

  • David’s Academy School on charity governance, acting on several corporate investments and reviewing commercial contracts.

Employment

We can help with:

  • day to day employment law advice
  • employment tribunals
  • mediation
  • equality and discrimination
  • industrial relations
  • pensions
  • immigration
  • vetting and recruitment
  • grievance and disciplinary

We also offer a wide range of consultancy services through our integrated HR consultancy business, Capital People.

We recently advised:

  • a large Welsh FE institution on the investigation and disciplinary process of an employee facing allegations of gross misconduct, including reviewing the disciplinary investigation and correspondence with the employee.
  • CAVC on the employment implications of setting up an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA). This involved providing advice on employment status, and the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations, Fixed Term Worker Regulations and other legislation applicable to the arrangement, as well as drafting relevant employment contracts.
  • numerous members of the Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (UCAC) and National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) in relation to all manner of employment situations.

Data protection & freedom of information

We advise and assist education, private and public sector clients and regulatory bodies on the implications of GDPR and preparation for and compliance with the new regulation. This involves responding to complex queries and analysis and interpretation of the new regulation. We can help with:

  • General Data Protection Regulation
  • subject access requests
  • freedom of information
  • data breaches
  • privacy and Electronics Communications Regulation

We recently advised:

  • the University of South Wales on data breach and data protection issues arising from a whistleblowing investigation, duties of confidentiality, freedom of information queries, student complaints, and the role of the Competition & Markets Authority in the regulatory framework for the higher education sector.
  • an FE institution on its strategy for responding to a county claim for disability discrimination and an associated subject access request under Data Protection legislation. Our assistance resulted in the claim being withdrawn.
  • numerous clients with GDPR training through Capital Law workshops, in house to clients (both in-depth training to senior managers/directors and roll-out training across all staff), and in partnership with the National Association of Head Teachers to provide training to the education sector.

Commercial advice

We can advise on:

  • standard terms and conditions to complex multi-party agreements
  • collaborative arrangements
  • public procurement
  • major projects
  • consumer and third-party contract issues
  • students’ complaints
  • university spin-offs and student-led enterprise

We recently helped:

  • the University of South Wales and the Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies to enable eligible SMEs to access funded collaborative research and development.
  • a client in the FE sector to scrutinise the Welsh Government’s policy in terms of work-based learning contracts and consider obligations placed on the Welsh Government when awarding such contracts.
  • Cardiff and Vale College to acquire a recruitment agency, Acorn Learning Solutions.

Corporate advice

We can help with:

  • due diligence
  • forming and funding companies, charities, joint ventures and consortia
  • mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, reorganization and group restructuring

We recently advised:

  • Cardiff and Vale College in respect of its £16m funding with Santander in relation to expanding its property portfolio.
  • HSBC Bank plc in respect of a loan to an HE institution in South Wales, including reviewing and approving a City of London Law Society Certificate of Title, preparing overview reports, perfection of security and ensuring all sector specific authorisations and approvals were obtained.
  • in a dual representation capacity for the Royal Bank of Scotland plc and a specialist college in West Wales who provide services to young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities in respect of a loan facility.
  • St David’s Academy School Limited, whose majority shareholder is a trust set up for the purposes of establishing an international school in the Vale of Glamorgan, in relation to raising overseas investments via the Tier 1 Investor Scheme.

Risk, accountability and health and safety

We provide practical solutions and support for commercial and legal risk management in a wide range of areas, including:

  • health and safety
  • fire safety
  • environmental
  • human resources
  • accident investigation
  • risk management systems
  • policies and procedures review

We also deliver accredited training programmes through our integrated consultancy Capital People – comprising IOSH, NEBOSH and CIEH courses – focusing on equipping your staff to meet their responsibilities at all levels, and outlining specific risks relevant to your organisation.

We recently helped:

  • Swansea Metropolitan University to complete fire risk assessments on each of their buildings along with providing fire safety consultancy in relation to building modifications.
  • Coleg Sir Gar to develop a suite of safe working procedures that reflected the needs of the establishment and helped them meet their legal requirements, providing specific safety advice in areas of concern including asbestos, educational visits, contractor management and fire safety.
  • John’s College as a CDM advisor, providing them with technical advice and assistance allowing them to comply with current regulations in their development of Barry Lifeguard Station. We worked with main contractors to develop a construction phase plan, provided input to the construction phase and compiled the Health and Safety file for the client at the end of the work.

Litigation

We can help with:

  • contract disputes
  • employment disputes
  • professional negligence
  • student issues
  • property disputes
  • intellectual property disputes
  • business ownership disputes

We recently advised:

  • A university on a misrepresentation claim against the former owners of its London branch.
  • Coleg y Cymoedd on a terminal dilapidation claim for £1m brought by its previous landlord. The dispute involved expert consideration of the diminution in value of the property.
  • A school on judicial review strategy relating to additional support from a local authority for a pupil diagnosed with a severe form of asthma and defence of judicial review proceedings initiated by a pupil excluded for up skirting.

Intellectual property

We advise on all areas of intellectual property (IP) law – from international brand strategy and protection to IP exploitation and dispute resolution. We’ll ensure you protect what’s yours and help you exploit its true value. Contentious and not.

We recently helped:

  • an HE institution on an IP dispute with a former member of staff over rights to an invention created while a lecturer with the institution.
  • one of the UK’s leading education recruitment specialists in a copyright/database right infringement claim against one of its main market rivals. We acted swiftly to avoid the need for court proceedings, achieving a desirable and cost-effective outcome.
  • a UK life sciences company in relation to a proposed joint venture with a large foreign life sciences company about IP protection, royalties and licensing of future products developed under the proposed agreement.

Legislation

As an essential part of our day-to-day work, we closely monitor the latest legislative developments in both Wales and England, informing our clients of changes that are particularly affecting their activities. We do this through:

  • direct contact
  • bespoke training
  • breakfast briefings
  • webinars
  • legal updates

We recently helped:

  • an independent school in Wales when conducting a review of their student policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with Welsh safeguarding legislation.
  • A school in its discussions with the local authority over the need for a statutory assessment of a 16-year old pupil with a severe form of brittle asthma.
  • The Welsh Language Commissioner intervene in judicial review proceedings which explored compliance with the School Organisation and Standards (Wales) Act 2013 and Welsh Language Standards.

Estate management

We can help you with:

  • assets and portfolios management
  • development and infrastructure projects
  • any property disputes
  • property transactions
  • large scale funding for projects

We recently advised:

  • the University of South Wales on the surrender of lease at Crownford House, ensuring various consents were obtained in accordance with the University’s governance and statute in relation to further education institutions.
  • Bridgend College in relation to the development of a new STEAM academy at their Pencoed Campus. This included reviewing title documents, ordering and reviewing search results and drafting a report on title in relation to this large site.
  • an independent school in the acquisition of a new lease. We also acted on behalf of a university on a lease renewal.

Debt recovery

Capital Collect is a service we have developed to recover uncontroversial debts such as rent fees and debts. The Capital Collect service is a non-collection service, with no initial fee for all non-controversial debts up to six years. If this does not work, we can continue with court proceedings or other routes based on a host of fixed cost options. Either way, our clients have assurance of control, clarity and certainty.

We recently helped:

  • an FE institution on its strategy for terminating several subcontracts for apprenticeship delivery, including insolvency procedure and debt recovery.
  • the board of trustees of one of Wales’ top independent schools’ on a range of matters including debt recovery work.

Reputation management

We can advise on:

  • investigations
  • defamation
  • breach of restrictive covenants
  • compensation for breach of confidence

Additional Learning Needs

The Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Educational Tribunal Act was passed in January 2018 and will begin to be rolled out from the start of the new school year in September 2020. Our training will help you with:

  • the implementation of new ALN legislation and statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • statutory assessments and annual reviews
  • the drafting of Individual Development Plans
  • SEN Tribunal for Wales claims
  • admission policies and admission appeals panels
  • school transport and policies (equality, restorative justice, behavioural, code of conduct, ban of parents from the premises)
  • contracts with third parties (catering, cleaning, maintenance)
  • summer schools & out of term tuition

Safeguarding & child protection

Safeguarding and child protection requirements are increasingly strict, so it’s important that your procedures are up to date. We deliver training to help you deal with:

  • duty of care issues
  • vulnerable students, mental health issues and fitness to study
  • childcare proceedings and court orders in relation to parental responsibility
  • home tuition and failure to send a child to school
  • responsibilities and duties upon school/local authority to maintain the school’s premises
  • compliance – vetting, barring and DBS checks
  • new Safeguarding Guidance for Wales

Complaints & procedures

Complaints from parents and/or third parties can be tricky to deal with and highly emotive. We can provide guidance on the procedure to follow and some do’s or don’ts especially relating to vexatious or persistent complainants.

We can also provide training on the interplay between the school’s complaints procedure and other procedures such as:

  • admissions policies
  • exclusions
  • behavioural code of conduct
  • banning of parents
  • equality policy
  • anti-discrimination

Governance & leadership

With the new curriculum to be introduced in classrooms in Wales from 2022, it’s crucial that schools have the right governance and leadership structure, to enable transition. That’s why we develop training tailored to Chairs of Governors, Head Teachers and Clerks, covering:

  • leadership
  • strategy development
  • managing change
  • innovation & creativity
  • strategic & enterprise risk management
  • good governance
  • a range of health & safety specific activities
  • emotional intelligence
  • decision making
  • cognitive bias
  • political understanding

Discipline & grievance

In the event of allegations being made about or by your staff in the course of their employment, having the right procedures in place, and understanding them, is a necessity. We can deliver training on:

  • running disciplinary and grievance procedures (to include the interplay with child protection processes)
  • discrimination (disability, race, sexual orientation, transgender etc.)

To help you make fair decisions, our training also covers:

  • when to request additional evidence
  • redaction of sensitive information
  • sharing of evidence or witness statements with parties
  • removal of parents or pupils from meetings or hearings
  • human rights and equality legislation
  • apparent bias

Education Workforce Council

If a member of your staff is removed from their role, you may need to make a referral to the Education Workforce Council (EWC). This often requires schools to release sensitive information, and to give evidence at an EWC hearing. We can provide guidance and training on:

  • EWC’s principle aims as regulator
  • obligation to provide information and documentation
  • what a Fitness to Practise hearing entails
  • what to expect if asked to provide a statement or give oral evidence
  • what happens during a hearing day and how to prepare
  • practical tips about giving evidence
  • some Dos and Don’ts when at the hearing

International

As well as advising education institutions on their legal and regulatory obligations in the UK, we have significant experience of advising UK further and higher education entities that wish to set up franchises, joint ventures or corporate enterprises providing education services abroad.

We recently advised:

  • the UK division of Boston University on the requirements of UK safeguarding legislation
  • several international schools on the legal and contractual issues that arise in relation to fee paying students/parents
  • Wales’ largest college on establishing joint venture training arms in China
  • several universities and private schools on the structure of partnerships in countries such as Singapore, Vietnam and China