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Education sector - legal services

Our commercial team has acted for in excess of a hundred public and private schools academies nurseries and training providers. We have acted for some clients in the sector for over ten years. The majority of areas we assist with are property (buying and selling, landlord and tenant issues, establishment of new schools and educational facilities), employment or debt related. We have handled advisory matters. 

We previously handled the legal helpline for a national association of nurseries relating to employment issues. This association has 3,000 nurseries as members nationally. We also act under framework agreements for local authority consortiums providing legal and  transactional property services including selling public property and the taking and granting of leases in the traditional educational sector. We have no difficulty assisting clients nationwide through our six offices.

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Education sector - legal services

When managing contracts, we have found understanding the governance of an organisation to be key. Therefore, for some of the clients in the sector we have had a consultative role with their board, helping them to shape the governance of their organisations. We have several examples of our team acting as trustees and mentors. We are trustees for academies as well as mentors for a charities in the sector. Given the depth of our experience in the field we have a detailed understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities you face in the sector.

Our approach is to develop a partnership, we provide relationship managers to work with you on contracts, we undertake under framework contracts so that economies of learning can occur. We aim to add value to our clients, Stephensons are used to supplying training to customers and we can work with you to develop an agreed scheduled training plan if required.

Stephensons believes in developing people, we were one of the first firms to embrace apprenticeship schemes. We work in connection with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and  Manchester Metropolitan University. In the last year we have won an award for our work in this field. Investing in people and the communities in which we operate is at the heart of our firm’s ethos.

Our specialist services in the education sector include:

Commercial contracts

  • Licensing
  • Joint venture agreements
  • Intellectual property - including trademark applications & registration
  • Terms & conditions
  • Agency, distribution & franchise agreements
  • Partnership agreements
  • Confidentiality & non-disclosure agreements
  • Information technology & e-commerce - including software licensing & website audits
  • Data protection

Corporate services

  • Mergers, acquisitions & disposals
  • Corporate reorganisations
  • Management buy-outs or management buy-ins
  • Corporate finance
  • Business start up
  • Partnership & shareholders agreements
  • Corporate governance & Companies Act compliance

Commercial litigation

  • Arbitration
  • Defamation
  • Corporate and shareholder
  • Injunction relief (capacity to supervise search and seize)
  • Intellectual property
  • Property (including landlord and tenant)
  • Professional negligence
  • Director’s liability (including disqualification)
  • Regulatory prosecutions
  • Fraud specialist: carousel, mortgage, insurance
  • Franchise disputes
  • Landlord and tenant (contentious)
  • Landlord and tenant (non-contentious transactional)
  • Lease renewals under Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (contested and uncontested),
  • Dilapidations
  • Lettings and portfolio management services
  • Acquisitions & disposals of all types of leased property
  • Squatter Possession Cases
  • Repossession litigation
  • Lease termination
  • Housing Act work including right to buy
  • Shared ownership and funding, Leaseholder disputes
  • Land transactions and disputes – trespass, nuisance & planning, acquisitions, disposals (whole or part).

Debt collection

We have a dedicated team and carry out asset recovery as well as bulk debt collection using 4 stages:

  • Letter before action/ Letter of Claim

  • Issue legal proceedings
  • Judgment/enforcement
  • Bankruptcy/winding up

Human resources and environmental health & safety

We provided employment advice to the members National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA). The NDNA have over 3,000 members and we are their primary contact to advise on all aspects of employment related matters, including any regulatory matters.

  • Panel members (since 2009) of the Community Legal Advice helpline, handling thousands of calls per year

  • Defending discrimination cases on behalf of local authorities
  • Advising upon restructures/organisational changes
  • Advising on all aspects of TUPE​
  • Advising upon redundancies
  • Advising on variation to terms and conditions (including negotiation with trade unions)
  • Drafting terms and conditions, policies and procedures, including complex employment contracts and service agreements
  • Dealing with all aspects of health & safety (both in house and through subcontracted services)
  • Providing advice on recruitment and in-house HR advise and assistance
  • Advice on performance/capability issue employee management
  • Dealing with grievances
  • Dealing with disciplinary/dismissal issues
  • Defending all other types of Tribunal claims inc. unfair dismissal, all types of discrimination claims, wrongful dismissal and breach of contract etc.

Child care

  • Where a child lives – residence order
  • Arrangements for contact – contact order
  • Preventing a parent from doing something – prohibited steps order
  • Requiring someone to do something – specific issue order
  • Legal rights and restricting on those rights – parental responsibility
  • Children’s name – change of name
  • Children moving abroad or to another area of the country – international or national relocation

Education sector skills

  • Advice on safeguarding issues
  • Admission arrangements
  • Disciplinary investigations and exclusion processes
  • Data protection and disclosure issues 
  • Defending judicial review proceedings
  • Bringing judicial review proceedings