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Academies

Success In Converting To Academy Status Depends On Doing The Right Homework

For any school, becoming an Academy opens up greater opportunities to take control and offer a more inspiring educational approach. For students, parents and teachers it’s an exciting prospect. Yet taking such a momentous step is challenging, and not only in educational terms.

The process involves issues that will be outside the experience and scope of most headteachers, governors and other stakeholders. For example, legal, financial and structural changes. So at every stage it requires experienced professional help to address the key strategic issues and ensure the school makes a correct and well-informed decision.

Academies Expertise That’s Top Of The Class

Aaron & Partners is a leading firm of solicitors with 25 recommendations from the two leading independent legal directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. We have a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge in the Academy conversion process.

Our specialist Academies experts can provide a clear picture of what will be involved, even before any final decision is taken. They will give you professional advice that you can trust, with the confidence of knowing that we have a successful track record in helping schools achieve Academy status as smoothly as possible.

How We Can Help

We can provide you with all the on and off-site legal support required through the process, (including your consultations with key stakeholders) and the many other diverse issues.

These include all the corporate and commercial aspects of the conversion, such as the establishment of the Academy as a new legal entity and its charitable status. Also, liaising with the DofE regarding the funding agreement for the Academy – and other negotiations and contractual matters.

Employment is another key area. All staff will need to be formally transferred as employees to the new Academy, which might mean consulting with employee representatives and trade union representatives, as well as addressing all salaries and benefits, such as pension schemes.

In all of this, we can advise on compliance with any regulations in order to minimise any risk of a legal challenge to the conversion process. We can even arrange for all enquiries to be handled for you through a dedicated publicity function.

Greater Freedom Means Greater Responsibilities

Converting to Academy status can be a life-changing experience for your students – but it also entails significant changes for everyone involved in the management and running of your new Academy.

For governors, their role becomes similar to that of a company director and trustee of a charity. To help them adapt to this, we provide training in what will be expected of them, and equip them with the skills and knowledge to be effective and competent in their new roles.

Another major difference is that your new Academy will become solely responsible for the maintenance of the land and property it uses. What’s more, careful business planning will be required before any capital investment expenditure is undertaken.

Peace Of Mind From Continuing Support

Once we’ve helped you achieve your goal of Academy status, we can give you all the legal support you’re likely to need on an ongoing basis.

The Department for Education has published that 66% of secondary schools and 19% of primary schools are already enjoying the freedoms that come with academy status, as of April 2016.

Find out how your school can progress to enjoy all the same advantages, with expertise from the Aaron & Partners LLP Academies team.

Helen Watson

Partner & Head of Employment Law
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405565

Stuart-Scott-Goldstone-our-people
Stuart Scott-Goldstone

Partner & Head of Corporate & Commercial
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405552

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