Legal advice for universities, colleges and schools
The education sector notoriously attracts frequent changes in law, regulatory requirements and best practice, placing undue pressure on already stretched resources. Acting for universities, colleges and schools, both in the independent and state sectors, our multi-disciplinary team becomes a seamless addition to your in-house expertise.
We are here to provide you with prompt access to effective and specialist support precisely when you need it most.
We are ready to help you
Our wealth of experience in this area enables us to advise on a range of education law issues, including:
- reputation management
- advice relating to parent contracts
- training and advice on social media safety
- disciplinary proceedings
- SEND tribunals
- defending credibility of academic research
- charity law
- Freedom of Information Act requests
- data rights requests
- residential property possession proceedings
- employment law and HR advice
- advice on restrictive covenants
- advice on easements or boundary disputes
- business lease renewals, and
- easement or first registration issues.
In addition, we work with specialists who can further support our clients with services such as social media health checks for staff and students and advice relating to technical data security measures. In the event of an ongoing legal issue such as a dispute or a data breach, we can also provide media and communications support, meaning you can come to us for all your legal needs to enable you to focus your attention on your internal priorities.
Follow our Education sector updates
Follow updates on our website to stay informed about the latest ‘hot’ issues affecting schools, colleges and universities:
Advising an academic on reputational and employment issues arising from publication of high profile research. Ensuring academic acceptance with the use of specialist reputation management and settling potential threat to employment due to reputational impact on employer. Turning a potential threat into a significant advancement.
Reputation management and social media for educational institutions
The digital footprint and reputation of an organisation are key components of its assets. The ease and speed of publishing content means that reputation management is swiftly making its way to the top of the list of priorities for educational institutions, from monitoring the health of their online presence to dealing with disputes arising from postings on social media. In the event of a reputational or defamatory issue arising, our Education team includes dispute resolution experts who are well placed to advise you on the most appropriate route for resolution.
In conjunction with our network of external specialists, we can assist you in limiting your exposure to claims in this area by educating your students and staff on how particular digital content can generate wanted and unwanted attention, and managing your search engine results to enable you to retain some control over content online.
Brexit and the education sector
British universities and independent schools support a large number of international students from the EU and beyond. Brexit could substantially change the composition of an institution’s student body and present new challenges which you will need to pre-empt and overcome. We can provide you with pragmatic solutions and advice in relation to joint ventures, international collaborations and large-scale development projects, as well as assistance with discrimination claims made by students or employees who may be affected.
Immigration and the challenges of recrutiment
Specialist teaching is often delivered through international employees, and we have found that the need for advice in this area (for example, relating to strategies used to attract individuals from the EU in the lead up to Brexit) has increased substantially. Additionally, your target student market may expand beyond Europe and involve more complicated immigration issues. Our immigration and employment specialists work seamlessly with our Dispute Resolution team to help you get the best out of your relationship with staff, students and parents.
Our external network of specialists can add further value to our services. Your digital presence is the primary reference point for many international enquiries, and we work closely with digital reputation experts who can provide strategic advice to ensure a positive online presence and to manage any reputational threats from the Internet.
Personal data rights in education
Students and the public at large are becoming more aware of their personal data rights and in turn, organisations are facing increasingly severe repercussions for non-compliance with the ever-changing data protection legislation.
Our Education team includes experts in this complicated area of law, enabling us to advise on data protection issues including the storage and processing of sensitive data and the data of children. We can provide a range of data protection related services to the education sector including advising in relation to complying with data requests, reviewing internal and external policies and managing data protection breaches.
Our recent experience includes:
- co-ordinating and advising on urgent reputational and safeguarding matters, including the co-ordination of a staff team, advising on and drafting press releases and managing press enquiries
- advising on disputes in parent contracts, including fee recovery
- SEND Tribunals
- advising schools in the independent and state sector on student and staff disciplinary issues, including advice to Governors and SLT by those with Governing Board experience
- advising on collating evidence in the event of abuse claims
- advising on issues of Governance in the state and independent sectors including appeals to Governors and procedural issues
- reviewing the scope of Freedom of Information Requests and advising on the application of relevant exemptions
- setting up charitable scholarship funds linked to the school’s main charity
- advising on the appropriateness of the conditions required to accept a legacy
- liaising with the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding complaints made either as a result of alleged misuse of data or from Data Subject Access Requests
- reviewing voluminous disclosure and advising on redactions or exemptions for Data Subject Access Requests
- providing guidance on the impact of data protection legislation and parent contracts on students’ rights to their examination data and parents’ rights to examination results information
- advising on applications for judicial review of School decisions
- business lease renewals
- negotiating on development of land with restrictive covenants
- possession proceedings of residential properties
- resolving easement and boundary disputes.