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Our Education and Skills team has extensive experience in the sector dealing with schools, academies, FE institutions, HE institutions and other teaching and training organisations.  Our approach is both practical and commercially sound.

We can support your decision making, protecting your commercial interests and reputation.

We are recognised for our education specialism and are an approved supplier to London Universities Purchasing Consortium and Crescent Purchasing Consortium.

The Sector

A strong and dynamic education sector is essential to the development of a skilled workforce and the UK economy.  It is instrumental in the growth of international networks and communications as well as preparing and sustaining the workforce of the future. 

Watson Burton has a long and distinguished history in the sector.  We registered the patent of the first electric light bulb.  We were involved in the creation of what went on to become the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and worked on the establishment of the first academies in the North East and a number of potential mergers.  We have continued to work with those at the forefront of education and innovation throughout our 200 year history.

We are a commercial firm with an education specialism so clients can be assured that our advice is effective but also delivered with a practical and commercial edge. We pride ourselves on working collaboratively, making the most of your opportunities rather than just being another supplier of legal services.

Our Team

Each member of our Education and Skills Team has specific knowledge and experience and a proper understanding of the sector.

Our Education and Skills Team acts for a range of schools, academies, colleges and universities both regionally and nationally. We have extensive experience of advising such clients on a range of high-profile, high-value transactions including large-scale property developments, education, construction and infrastructure projects.  We defend claims to protect reputation and intellectual property, advise on employment law and provide day-to-day HR support.  We manage Employment Tribunal and Civil Court claims, advise on contractual matters, constitutional issues and governance, academy conversions, mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing and shared services, partnerships and franchising.  We are also experienced in delivering sector-focused training such as sessions on governance, student complaints and the impact of new legislation.

Whatever the issue, we provide clear, pragmatic advice on every issue and work in partnership with clients to deliver value measured in your terms. Whatever your need, we will ensure that you receive tailored, practical support with a commercial focus.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Further Education and skills
  • Higher Education
  • Schools and Academies
  • Land acquisition and disposals
  • Capital projects
  • Outsourcing of functions
  • Academy conversions and mergers
  • Expansion and improvement programmes
  • Financing and refinancing projects
  • Litigation, including student complaints
  • Employment Tribunals
  • Construction projects and building
  • Governing body status
  • Commercial contracts including franchising

Should you wish to discuss how we can assist you and your organisation, please contact us at or call 0345 901 2100 and your call will be directed to a member of the education team. 

Watson Burton LLP is ‘genuinely excellent across the board’, with notable strength advising education clients.

Legal 500 2017

Watson Burton LLP’s multi-disciplinary practice handles academy conversions, governance and constitutional matters, mergers and acquisitions as well as investment and funding issues for higher and further education clients.

Legal 500, 2019

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms