Education Law

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Education Law Overview

At Whitehead Monckton, we recognise that there are circumstances where schools or colleges may need  to call on their solicitor. As specialists in Education Law, it is our duty to help to guide them through a particular challenge or obstacle, with the best support, and access to information possible. Therefore, our focus will always be to lead you to your objective or alleviate the burden of the problem you are facing, so that the welfare of your institution and your students can remain your primary focus.

Our team not only has a strong understanding of the sector – with experience working alongside independent schools and colleges and local academy trustees, – but can also offer the full range of legal services that schools and colleges typically require. This includes:

  • Academy mergers and conversions
  • Employment Law support
  • Advice on property matters including acquisitions and sales of land
  • Support with major capital projects
  • Advice on data protection and Freedom of Information Act matters
  • Advice on commercial agreements and supply contracts
  • Debt recovery for fee-paying institutions


We also offer Expert Legal Advice to both parents and schools on a range of Education Law matters, including:

  • Admissions and exclusions
  • Appeals
  • Parental complaints
  • Special Educational Needs and EHCP
  • Discrimination
  • Negligence claims


Meet Our Education Law Specialists

Antonio Fletcher is our Associate Director & Head of Employment and is a trustee of a local multi-academy trust. He has over 15 years’ experience in acting for independent schools and academies providing advice on employment matters, data protection issues, Freedom of Information Act requests and internal procedures such as parental complaints and discrimination issues. From an employment perspective, Antonio most frequently advises Educational Facilities in relation to:

  • Employee exits (including SLT and other senior managers)
  • Employment Disputes (including grievances, absence management, disciplinary and capability issues)
  • Discrimination and Whistleblowing advice
  • Employment Tribunal claims
  • Varying terms of employment

Graham Jones is a Whitehead Monckton Director. He heads the education team, and has extensive experience in supporting and providing education legal advice to families. As a school governor, at both a primary and secondary school, he is not only aware of the laws and regulations, but understands the practical issues and constraints which can affect children and their education.

Graham has worked in all areas of school governance, curriculum, finance, personnel and has a pragmatic and collaborative approach to solving issues. Graham’s other area of expertise is Family Law so he is well-placed to help resolve any issues over education arising from divorce and family breakdowns. As a member of Resolution he is committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes and carries this approach through all his advice. He is also a qualified mediator.


Haggai Peri is a Senior Associate, and is a highly experienced corporate law specialist – advising clients on all aspects of corporate and commercial law. Haggai is well known for providing clients with a highly responsive, professional and thorough service, guiding clients through complex corporate transactions. Haggai provides advice on the corporate aspects of both Academisation and Academy Mergers.


Ben Gallafant is a Associate Solicitor and Commercial Property Law specialist with significant experience of working for both private and public sector clients including Academies and other Education Providers on matters relating to their land including Land Transfers as part of academisation and Academy Mergers, Sales and Purchases of Land, Secured Lending, Landlord and Tenant Matters and Development Agreements.


David Riordan is our Associate Director and Head of Dispute Resolution. David can work with you to review your options, decide on whether an appeal is appropriate, prepare the appeal framework and if appropriate represent you at the appeal itself. He is also an expert Mediator.




Understanding Education Law: Schools and Colleges

Our Education Sector Team has many years’ of cumulative experience working for Schools, Colleges and other Educational Establishments. We advise our clients on the full range of legal services schools typically require including:

  • Academy mergers and conversions
  • Employment Law support
  • Advice on property matters including acquisitions and sales of land
  • Advice on parental complaints and other disputes
  • Support with major capital projects
  • Advice on data protection and Freedom of Information Act matters
  • Advice on commercial agreements and supply contracts
  • Debt recovery


We are transparent with our pricing and offer a range of flexible pricing options that schools and colleges can choose from.

For more details of the specific work carried out by our team, click through to the Education Sector Team tab for more information.

Understanding Education Law: Parents and Guardians

At Whitehead Monckton, we know all parents want to give their children the best education they can, that’s why we are on hand to offer detailed advice on a range of education matters.

We can help with:

  • Admissions – if you have an issue with your child getting into a school or nursery.
  • Exclusions – if your child has been excluded from school and you wish to appeal.
  • Secondary school place appeals – if you want to appeal a decision on a secondary school place, including issues with the Kent Test (11+).
  • Complaints – If you believe the school has got something wrong and you feel you are not being listened to.
  • Special Education Needs (SEN) – If there are issues around your child’s assessment, or if your child has SEN and their needs are not being met.
  • Discrimination – If your child has been discriminated against at school.
  • Bullying – if your child is being bullied at school and the school is not taking appropriate action.
  • Negligence – if you believe the school or staff are neglecting their duties.
  • School transport – if you have an issue with the school’s transport.
  • Collective action – if you wish to take collective action against a school.


If you don’t see your issue listed above, don’t worry. Whitehead Monckton can help with a wide range of concerns relating to Education Law. Contact our team today to see if we can help with your issue.

A really important element of our role is to ensure clear communication between the parties and an understanding of the options available to you, as well as the constraints. We will help you enter into a respectful dialogue with the school, proceeding through the correct channels. We can also guide parents through the various processes, or actually attend admission hearings and appeals. The extent of our involvement can be flexible to suit the family’s wishes and the different circumstances.

In some cases, we will give the advice you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear. Our practices are all designed to achieve the best outcome for your family.

How We Can Help With Disputes

In order to help with your dispute, we first need to build a clear picture of the issue and possible outcomes. We will prepare a timeline and cross reference to all the relevant documents to make your case clear and understandable.

We can then work out the best approach to take, and inform you of the type of support we can provide in order to agree the extent of our involvement.

For example, your child may have passed the Kent Test but was unsuccessful in securing a place at your School of Choice, so you are considering an appeal. The Whitehead Monckton Education Law team can work with you to review your options; confirm if an appeal is appropriate, prepare an appeal framework and represent you at the appeal if appropriate.

Each case is different and the extent of our involvement will be based on your wishes, matched with the circumstances involved.

Some of the issues our team can help with include:

  • Admission to a school or nursery.
  • An appeal to be made after an exclusion from school.
  • Secondary school place appeals including the Kent Test.
  • Special educational needs (SEN) where these are not being recognised or met.


We can also work with teachers and schools who are under regulatory investigations, or may wish to challenge funding decisions.

Contact Whitehead Monckton’s Education Law Solicitors today, for more information on how we can help you with your issue.

EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan)

The process is the means by which a child’s Special Educational Needs are assessed and provided for by a Local Authority (LA).

A parent can request that an EHC Assessment of their child’s needs be undertaken by a LA. The authority has 6 weeks in which to decide if they are going to do so. If the LA refuses to undertake a Statutory Assessment, parents have a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal. This appeal must be made within two months of the LA’s decision.

The LA needs to carry out the Statutory Assessment of a child’s needs within 16 weeks. In doing so they must seek advice from:

  • The child’s school
  • The child’s parents
  • A medical officer
  • The LA’s Educational Psychology Service
  • Social Services
  • Together with any other professional the authority feels it is appropriate to involve – (eg the Speech and Language Therapy Service)


The LA should inform a parent of the outcome of the assessment within two weeks of its completion. This includes whether they will issue an EHCP as a result of the assessment. In some cases the LA will issue a Note in Lieu and parents have a right of appeal against this decision to the SEND Tribunal which must be pursued within 2 months.

Whitehead Monckton’s Specialist Education Lawyers can assist you throughout this assessment process – or only get involved if you need to complete an appeal to the SEND Tribunal – the decision depends on how much support you need, and the specific circumstances for your child.

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