nplaw and our predecessor, Norfolk County Council’s legal team, have a long history of advising schools on education law and on all other legal issues that affect the running of a school. Our expert staff continue to advise schools on all these issues on a daily basis. We believe that our levels of experience and expertise make us an excellent choice of legal adviser for local education authorities, local authority maintained schools and academies.
Matters of education law on which we help our clients include:
The academisation of schools is the most significant development to affect the education landscape in decades and nplaw has been involved since the earliest academy conversions. Most of our work involves acting for Norfolk County Council (in its role as LEA) on the contractual, employment and property issues associated with each conversion. Some conversions involve complex issues, such as securing a transition for a valued alternative education provision operated by an independent school company that the prospective academy trust was unable to support. nplaw has worked with the LEA to successfully overcome many such issues. We also act for schools on the creation of academy trusts and represent the academy trust on all aspects of conversion.
Excellence in Education is the core objective of every LEA. Robust action may be necessary to improve schools but such action can sometimes be contentious. nplaw has advised on and supported complex school improvement interventions, such as successfully defending a judicial review of the LEA’s appointment of an interim executive board to a Norfolk school. Wherever possible, we seek to work together with all stakeholders to achieve the best possible outcome for the school and its pupils.
The actions of an LEA or school may sometimes be the subject of complaint. nplaw advises both Norfolk’s LEA and schools on complaints processes, working with them to diffuse and resolve complaints.
Admission appeals and exclusion reviews
nplaw has provided clerks to school admission appeal panels and exclusion review panels for many years. We also advise Norfolk’s LEA and schools on admissions and exclusions policy and actions. Recently, we have received many requests for advice on the right of summer-born children to defer admission to school and on the application of the Equality Act 2010.
Freedom of information and data protection
Although a separate area of law not limited to the field of education, both freedom of information and data protection are increasingly significant issues for schools. nplaw advises schools on how to appropriately and pro-actively publish information and how to decline to do so, where publication of the information requested would be harmful.
This is often a politically sensitive area. nplaw advises Norfolk’s LEA on its policy for school transport and on particular difficult decisions against a background of increasing pressure on budgets.
nplaw’s schools subscription service
nplaw offers schools an annual subscription service under which schools pay a fixed annual fee for specialist advice on issues of:
- Parental or general complaints
- Exclusion of pupils
- Safeguarding concerns
- Parental rights including contact and residence issues (ie custody and access) in relation to pupils
- Banning persons from school sites
- Legal powers and duties of staff
- Governance matters, including governors’ powers and duties
- Equality Act duties
- Employment law
- Negligence and personal injury
- Contracts, before signing and any subsequent disputes
- Disputes with neighbours, suppliers, contractors and other third parties
- Data protection and Freedom of Information
For further information on education law or on our schools subscription service, please contact
Louise Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01603 222974