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Legal services for the further education sector

Eversheds Sutherland acts for more than 200 further education and sixth form colleges in the UK. Our team is best known for its work on college collaboration and merger projects. Our unique governance service is also an important tool for college clerks. We regularly work with sector bodies such as the Association of Colleges and the Sixth Form Colleges Association on providing training for sector leaders and developing good practice.

Legal services in the further education sector

Our aim is to ensure that senior leaders fully understand the legal frameworks within which colleges operate and to inform sound decision-making. You will be looked after by a dedicated client service team with deep sector knowledge, who will invest time in getting to know your institution and how it works. The experience and reach of our team means that we can support you with any legal issue that arises from senior postholder issues, through student complaints to merger and collaboration arrangements.

Key areas of advice include:

  • advising colleges on their response to the area-based review process
  • college merger (model A and model B) and other collaboration projects
  • conversion of sixth form colleges into academies
  • campus development/real estate rationalization and disposals
  • academy sponsorship
  • managing relationships with senior postholders
  • charity law and governance
  • procurement/outsourcing
  • commercial contracts
  • shared-use agreements
  • hiring agreements
  • leases
  • student contracts
  • student mental health and fitness to practice
  • regulatory compliance including health and safety, data protection/freedom of information, public sector equality duties and immigration
  • reorganization and industrial relations
  • performance and absence management
  • disciplinary, grievance, sickness absence and performance matters
  • discrimination legislation and diversity
  • employment tribunals representation
  • obligations under the rules of the TPS and LGPS
  • litigation and dispute management
  • defamation and reputation management
  • issues with funding and accreditation bodies

In addition, we have created a customized service for clerks at further education and sixth form colleges in England. Download our College Govern@nce flyer for further information.

Our advice to you is delivered by lawyers with in-depth sector experience. It is straightforward, commercial and based on risk-management principles. We are also always mindful of the financial, regulatory and reputational issues that colleges face.

Contact our further education team

If you would like any further information or need advice related to further education, please contact our legal team.