Education & Academies

With our considerable expertise and detailed knowledge, Wilkin Chapman has been instrumental in the success of nearly 40 academy conversions and currently advises 6 Multi Academy Trusts (MATs), providing a complete range of legal services for pre and post conversion.

With a number of legal experts acting as directors on the boards of local academies and as governors of schools, we understand the educational challenges you face.  Whether you are a school considering converting to an academy or looking to join a MAT, we can help to ensure you make the decision that is right for you.

Academy conversions - the key points

Our specialist academy conversion team can provide practical, commercially focused advice to deliver effective solutions. We will attend meetings of governors, staff and parents to ensure that all stakeholders are fully engaged in the conversion process and provide you with the full facts on the pros, cons, risks and benefits of whichever conversion avenue you embark upon.

Why convert?

Freedom from local authority control
Without the constraints of being under local authority control, you have the freedom and autonomy to manage your budgets and target your resources more effectively to meet the needs of your school and your students.

Freedom to manage and pay staff
You can benefit from the freedom of being able to decide and set salaries for your staff. Performance is the most critical factor in any school and the ability to use reward, recognition and performance related factors in remuneration, is a real opportunity to raise the standards within your academy.

Freedom to deliver a flexible curriculum
You can have the freedom to establish targets for excellence. With the ability to adapt or even depart from the national curriculum, the scope of education you can provide to students is at your fingertips.

Freedom to adapt terms and school times
You may have found being under local authority control too restrictive, so your new found freedoms will allow you to explore and offer those extra-curricular activities and adapt term lengths and schools days, if appropriate to do so.

Are you considering academy conversion?

The following are just some of the legal aspects of the process that we can help with:

  • Consultation with staff, governors,parents and other key stakeholders
  • ‘Application to Convert’
  • Creation of company limited by guarantee
  • Drafting and negotiating funding agreements
  • Drafting and negotiating commercial transfer agreements
  • Drafting all necessary documentation relating to the transfer of lease(s)
  • Employment law, change management and TUPE
  • Closing financials

Are you a single academy considering joining a MAT, 
or a MAT looking to bring in new schools?

The following highlight some of the legal aspects of the process we can assist with:

  • Amendment to existing master funding agreement
  • Drafting supplement agreements
  • Drafting commercial transfer agreements
  • Employment law and TUPE
  • Drafting all necessary documentation relating to the transfer of lease(s)
  • Constitutional and governance issues
  • Drafting scheme of delegation

What to expect after conversion

Conversion is only just the start of this exciting journey for you and with the help and support of our conversion team, you can thrive, grow and out-perform in every given aspect possible.

Changes and improvements do take time and carefully planning. However, we aim to build a lasting relationship with you to ensure you have the business focused support and legal advice to help you make the most of your independence.

Meet our experts

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Partner and Head of Public Law
Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial
Partner and Head of Commercial Property

Commercial Property

Our commercial property team can provide you with advice on all types of property transactions, including the sale and purchase of commercial property, planning agreements, residential developments, commercial and industrial developments, options, leases and licences.

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Corporate and Commercial

Our team of specialist corporate and commercial solicitors work closely with you to achieve your commercial goals. We take a practical approach to business and understanding your business needs. Our expert corporate lawyers not only know the law, but also draw upon their experience to provide you with effective solutions to any given situation. Our team is flexible and has the resources to manage all sizes of transactions and matters for small to medium sized (SME) organisations, as well as large multi-national companies.

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Disputes

Disputes or litigation are an aspect of business that sometimes cannot be avoided. Our expert solicitors deal with all aspects of commercial disputes from contractual, shareholder and partnership disputes, to professional negligence and commercial property issues.

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Employment Law & HR Advice

We advise businesses of all sizes, including national businesses who are based in our immediate area and beyond. Our team of expert lawyers have over 50 years' experience in dealing with employment matters and are committed to providing cost effective advice.

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Public Law

We provide expert advice on the complete range of services for public and third sector organisations. Our experienced team cover all aspects of law which affect local government, including: Human rights Data protection Freedom of Information, Privacy and defamation, Local Government Act 1972 and succeeding legislation, Municipal Trading, Police Act 1996, and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)

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What our customers say:

"We enjoy working with you as we appreciate the straight speaking, the fact that we receive a response so promptly, and that we don't have to pussyfoot in..."

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Wendy Hanslip, School Business Manager, Grange Primary School

"Collectively, as a company, I have been impressed by their desire to know what schools need in this seemingly constantly changing world of education."

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Jayne Perry, Headteacher, New Waltham Academy