Academy conversion - legal support from education solicitors

Our specialist education team has been at the forefront of academy conversion legal services since the inception of the academy concept, and has extensive experience of converting primary schools and secondary schools into academies across the country.

Whether you are deciding to convert your school into an academy or face having to do so after an intervention by your local authority or the Department for Education (DfE), we know what a significant decision and change this will be. We know how important it is for governing bodies to be provided with clear, expert advice when converting to academy status, during the process itself and beyond. We provide a dedicated team to work in partnership with you and because of our significant experience, we have been able to design an academy conversion legal service that we can offer on a market leading fixed fee basis.

Quite simply, we believe that the combination of our values and our expertise is unique and makes a real difference.

What is an academy?

When a primary or secondary school converts to an academy it becomes an independent, state-funded school, which receives its funding directly from central government, rather than through a local authority. The day-to-day running of the school lies with the head teacher as well as being overseen by individual charitable bodies called academy trusts and may be part of an academy chain. These trusts and chains provide advice, support, expertise and a strategic overview.

An academy controls its own admissions process and staffing and are not tied to following the national curriculum. This flexibility and autonomy is one of the main reasons why schools opt to convert to academy status.

If you are unsure whether converting to an academy is right for your school, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss further with you.

The Academy Conversion Process

The academy conversion process can typically take between 3 and 4 months to complete.

  • Before you apply for academy status you will need to complete a registration of interest form on the DfE website. You will be allocated a DfE project lead who will guide you through the process.
  • You can apply to convert to an academy by completing the relevant forms on the DfE website. It will take somewhere between 2 and 6 weeks for your application to be assessed and to grant your academy order, if you have been successful. Shortly after you will receive your £25,000 grant to use during the academy conversion process.
  • Formally appoint a solicitor and begin the process of setting up or joining an academy trust. You can find a step by step guide here.
  • Transfer responsibilities to the academy trust, including land and staff arrangements, facilities and contracts.
  • Final preparations before opening as an academy including finalising consultations, funding agreements and internal processes and procedures.
  • Opening your academy – what actions you need to take in the months following the conversion including all financial requirements.
Our Academy Conversion Legal Services

Our fixed fee academy conversion package includes support throughout the academy conversion process and beyond into post-conversion. It includes:

  • A tailored plan for your academy conversion – covering key dates, tasks and Department for Education deadlines.
  • Commercial and academy governance support – including agreement of the Articles of Association and incorporation of your trust; negotiation and agreement of the Funding Agreements and Commercial Transfer Agreement.
  • Employment support – including tailored employment law advice; TUPE and pensions advice.
  • Property support – including dealing with the Land Registry; dealing with the lease or Supplemental Agreement; providing you with a detailed Report on Title in relation to your buildings, land and estate.
  • Strategic support – we are asked by many schools, trusts and other education organisations to contribute to the strategic planning.
  • Post-conversion legal services – all of our academy clients have automatic and ongoing access to our helpline following their conversion for support with any legal matter.

To find out more about academy conversion or our academy conversion legal support, please contact Phil Watts.

The quality of the service we received, for our academy conversion, was outstanding. A highly professional, yet personal service. I would highly recommend Anthony Collins Solicitors to any educational institution. 

Mark Heuston, Executive Principal, South Newcastle Trust.

Anthony Collins Solicitors has become part of our extended family, with support and service of the highest quality being offered to us and our schools and value-for-money and excellence at the heart. 

Canon Linda Wainscot, Diocesan Director of Education, Coventry Diocese.

 In October 2015 the two schools in the South Newcastle Federation converted into academies and we created a multi-academy trust. Throughout the process we worked with Anthony Collins Solicitors on all matters relating to the conversion and on all areas that required professional legal advice. The quality of the service we received was outstanding. The professional advice given was accurate and precise. The team responded quickly and efficiently to our queries and we had every confidence when taking their advice. Overall it was a highly professional yet personal service and I would highly recommend Anthony Collins Solicitors to any educational organisation. 

Mark Heuston, Executive Principal, South Newcastle Trust.

 Rajinder has worked on the conversion of a number of schools into academies within our multi- academy trust, over the last three years. In my former role as Executive Principal of a hard federation of a number of high schools in North Staffordshire, she helped to facilitate their conversion into a trust arrangement. Raj communicates most effectively and demonstrates a “can do” attitude. She is prepared to suggest solutions and is extremely adaptable. I believe that Raj is committed to the provision and improvement of a good quality service provision. 

Keith Hollins, Chief Executive Officer, Staffordshire University Academies Trust.
Helping teachers as people

Call the service specialist on 0121 214 3661

As a teacher, or a professional working in the education sector, there are multiple issues that you may face. Whilst we do offer advice about educating children from a variety of backgrounds in a safe and caring environment, we also offer advice to you as an individual. We understand that the pressures and numerous challenges facing those in charge are not always classroom based.

Education is one of our core sectors. This allows us to combine our specialist subject knowledge and experiences with our personal approach to individual cases. Our clients tell us that the service they receive from us is unique, and we believe this comes directly from our commitment to the purpose of our firm: ‘to improve lives, communities and society’.

To understand more about how we can help you as an individual click here.

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We assisted Whitehill Primary School convert from community school to foundation/trust school status and then we acted for the school again, a year later, as it converted into an academy and re-structured its foundation body (Whitehill Community Learning Trust).

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