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Legal services for academies

Eversheds Sutherland’s multi-disciplinary team has worked on academy projects since the inception of the academy program and has significant experience of converter academies, sponsors, multi-academy trusts (MATs), university technical colleges, church schools, free schools and studio schools. In addition, we provide daily legal and governance support to hundreds of academies.

We know that school issues can be complex and a drain on scarce resources. The experience and reach of our team mean that we can support you with any legal issue that arises, from student admissions, through HR support to adding schools to a MAT. We also help you to manage risk by offering access to training and fixed-cost helpline services, which enable trustees and leadership teams to understand the legal frameworks within which academies operate. You will be looked after by a dedicated client service team with deep sector knowledge, who will invest time in getting to know your academy and how it works.

Key areas of advice include:

  • academy conversion/establishment
  • establishing federations and other collaborative arrangements
  • charity law
  • procurement/outsourcing
  • commercial contracts
  • shared-use agreements
  • hiring agreements
  • leases
  • PFI/priority schools building scheme
  • TUPE, reorganizations, mergers, industrial relations and investigations
  • disciplinary, grievance, sickness absence and performance matters
  • drafting/reviewing contracts and handbooks
  • teacher pay and conditions/NJC frameworks
  • discrimination legislation and diversity
  • teacher and local government pension schemes
  • severance and settlement agreements
  • employment tribunals representation
  • HR consultancy
  • schools admissions code
  • exclusions
  • judicial review applications
  • discrimination cases/SENDIST proceedings
  • child protection/vetting and barring
  • immigration
  • health and safety
  • data protection/freedom of information

We have also created a customized service for colleges sponsoring academies in England. Download our academy governance flyer for further information.

Our lawyers take a proactive and commercial approach to their work, based on risk-management principles. We are always mindful of the need to secure outcomes that preserve the reputation of an educational institution and the fact that academies are subject to high levels of public scrutiny by their many stakeholders.


“Eversheds Sutherland responds in a timely and efficient manner and are succinct and to the point. They keep their advice simple and present it in plain terms, rather than using complex legal jargon. For us, it is all about a firm’s educational knowledge and their awareness of developments in the field. The range of support that we have accessed has been wide and Eversheds Sutherland has been able to help us every single time.”

Contact our academies team

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