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Our education team provides expert commercial, regulatory and compliance advice to independent schools, academies, further education colleges and universities.

Based at our Newcastle city centre office, our multi-disciplinary team of commercial, property, corporate, employment, charity and dispute resolution lawyers provide pragmatic and commercial advice on:

Academy conversions

Despite the Government’s recent u-turn on compulsory conversion, there is  still an increasing number of schools for whom becoming an academy is an appropriate and viable option.

It is important to manage the conversion process carefully. We offer legal expertise with a commercial focus to help our clients to identify risk and maximise new opportunities.

There are several key documents needed, including property transfers and the governing documents for the new academy. There can also be major employment issues, including TUPE transfers, and the need to establish a new company limited by guarantee.

Academy Admissions Appeals

We can help Admissions Authorities when parents or guardians appeal against a decision not to admit their child(ren) to an academy.  We find that most appeals relate to Reception and Year 7 admissions but they are by no means limited to those year groups.

Appeal hearings must be clerked by an independent person, with the necessary qualifications and training.  The clerk assists and supports an Independent Admissions Appeals Panel of people hearing each appeal.

Hay & Kilner can provide this clerking service and manage the wider process on a fixed fee basis. We will:

Appeal Hearings

  • Liaise with parents, the academy and the Panel regarding the arrangements for the appeal hearing and any further submission of evidence;
  • Prepare for the hearing;
  • Consider the evidence relevant to each individual hearing;
  • Attend the hearing to manage the process, provide the required clerking service and assist the Panel where needed;
  • Take a detailed note of all proceedings; and
  • Prepare and send formal decision letters.

Training for Independent Panels

It is the Admission Authority’s responsibility to ensure that all members of the Independent Admissions Appeals Panel are adequately trained before they participate in appeal hearings.  We can provide comprehensive in-house training courses (full or refresher) to existing or potential members of Independent Admissions Appeals Panels.


Huge numbers of people are employed in roles related to education. Our employment lawyers can assist in managing those people and making them as effective as possible, including by advising in relation to:

  • Performance management
  • Disciplinary issues
  • Absences
  • Grievances
  • Flexible working
  • Discrimination
  • Whistleblowing
  • Settlement agreements

We also provide a fixed price employment law service, backed by insurance protection. HR Key provides a solution to the headaches faced by employers of all sizes when dealing with the complexities of employment law and the ever increasing burden of compliance. For further information, please click here.

Data protection

Educational establishments hold a great deal of sensitive data about their staff, pupils and families. That data needs to be managed carefully and protected – we can provide advice and guidance as well as compliant policies.

Dispute resolution and debt collection

Schools are no different to most other legal entities – they have suppliers, “customers” and legislation to comply with. We can assist with disputes arising from, for example, supply contracts, property issues and admissions.

We also have extensive experience in:

  • Admissions appeals
  • Policies and procedures
  • Health and safety
  • School funding
  • School mergers
  • Construction
  • Property transactions
  • Joint ventures
  • Local authority schools
  • Free schools
  • Independent schools
  • Multi-academy trusts

  • "Sarah was absolutely brilliant. Every step was dealt with great skill and professionalism. The communication between us was excellent. I understood what was happening and why throughout the process. I would highly recommend Hay & Kilner to anyone. I will be back if I require any further legal advice or assistance."

    - Client of Sarah Furness