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> Experience > Sectors and focus areas > Education

Education

Knowledge is power and our team of education lawyers is proud to act for schools, colleges and universities across the world. Not only do we advise on legal and regulatory matters, we are also uniquely well placed to advise on international projects.

Strong schools, colleges and universities are essential not just for individuals, but to the wider economy and society.  These crucial institutions need legal advisers with deep knowledge and experience, who speak their language and have the resources to assist with the most challenging of situations.

We have acted for schools, colleges and universities for many years. Our clients range from small independent schools with day-to-day legal needs, to major universities, sometimes operating globally and at the cutting edge of the law.


We understand not just the law and regulation that affects those in the education sector, but also the other requirements and expectations to which organisations are subject.  These include public and regulatory attitudes to issues like safeguarding and freedom of speech, political and other developments that can present challenges, and associated reputational risks.

We know that those running schools, colleges and universities are under immense pressure given the importance of their work, the great regulatory burden and the potentially severe consequences for individuals and organisations when things go wrong.  With the benefit of long experience, we can guide board members and senior staff through the legal web efficiently, pragmatically and without fuss, allowing them to focus on their own work and students.

Given our global presence, we are uniquely placed to advise schools, colleges and universities on their international projects, including setting up schools overseas and advising on international collaboration and funding.  And as a full-service law firm, we can help with all your legal needs.
 

Areas of experience

Since advising the very first school that converted to an academy in 2003, we have worked with academy trusts, their sponsors and associated charities in helping them achieve their ambitions. Academy trusts are now a major part of the educational landscape in the UK, with many of the schools they operate being highly successful, innovative and significant institutions.

Our expertise in supporting academies (PDF)

We have a leading UK independent schools practice, and long experience of working with some of the best-known institutions in the sector. With independent school governors and former teachers in our team, we speak schools’ language and understand the issues faced. 

We look to establish long-term relationships with our schools clients, so we can really get to know you and provide advice that is tailored, efficient and pragmatic. 

Our expertise in supporting independent schools (PDF)

Universities, colleges and other further and higher education institutions are amongst the most innovative, exciting and important contributors to society. We are proud to advise some of the world’s leading further and higher education institutions, and we have a deep understanding of the way they work, and their legal needs. 

Our expertise in supporting independent schools (PDF)

As allegations of peer-on-peer abuse, bullying and harassment continue to loom large in the education sector, institutions are increasingly looking to authoritative, independent reviewers to scrutinise and advise on their arrangements. If faced with a review, we have specialists the key areas required and are ready and able to assist.

Independent reviews 2022 (PDF)

We act for many schools, colleges and universities in relation to international fundraising. We advise on tax-efficient cross border giving, including helping you scope out a plan for expanding your alumni fundraising tax-efficiently on a global basis. 

We pioneered the US-UK dual-qualified charitable structure and are the only firm able to handle all aspects of that structure in-house. 

We are uniquely well placed to advise those involved in education on their international projects. Our education practice is global, with major school, college, university and associated clients in Europe, the USA, Asia and elsewhere.  

As a full-service law firm with offices across the globe, we can assist you with all your global legal needs, whether you are an international organization or based in one country and looking to expand. We also advise education providers, philanthropists and investors on establishing and operating international schools and further and higher education institutions. 


Track record

$45million grant to international school

We advised the Singapore branch of an international bank and an international school in respect of the grant by the bank of secured banking facilities of S$45million to the school.

A group of individuals

We advised a group of individuals on their sale of a group of private companies which own and operate pre-school and nursery business in Hong Kong to a special purpose vehicle owned by a leading provider of education products and services in Hong Kong.

A private education group

We advised this education group in the acquisition of a private international school in Singapore.

A private equity fund

We advised on the acquisition of a popular preschool and English enrichment centre chain in Singapore.

An international school

On its application for alienation of state land for a long-term lease of 30 years to facilitate the building of its new campus.

An international school

We advised in their bid to lease school premises for three years by reviewing the preliminary agreement, lease agreement and rental terms.

An international school

We advised this school in the grant of additional banking facilities of up to S$92million for financing the construction and development of a new extension to its school campus.

An international school in Malaysia

We advised this school when it took up secured transferable loan facilities of US$10million for capex use from the Singapore branch of an Indian bank.

Our team

Gretchen Su

Gretchen Su

Partner, Withers KhattarWong* | Singapore

Gretchen Su

Partner, Withers KhattarWong* | Singapore

Intellectual property and technology

Jo Sanders

Jo Sanders

Partner | London

Jo Sanders

Partner | London

Litigation and Arbitration

Paul Hewitt

Paul Hewitt

Partner | London

Paul Hewitt

Partner | London

Trust, estate and inheritance disputes

Hugh More

Hugh More

Partner | London

Hugh More

Partner | London

Employment

Alana Petraske

Alana Petraske

Partner | New York

Alana Petraske

Partner | New York

Charities

Alison Paines

Alison Paines

Partner | London

Alison Paines

Partner | London

Charities

Philip Reed

Philip Reed

Partner | London

Philip Reed

Partner | London

Charities

Amy Carter

Amy Carter

Senior associate | London

Amy Carter

Senior associate | London

Charities

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Typical clients and industries include

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Charities and non-profit

Our significant practice in the non-profit sector means our lawyers can handle governance, mergers, commercial projects and day-to-day issues such as employment while you focus on your mission. Find Out More
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Leaders and senior executives

We help business leaders to manage their responsibilities at work and home – from advising on employment contracts and regulatory matters, to dealing with tax, wills and prenuptial agreements. Find Out More
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Professional advisors

We can help you to provide the robust and reliable service that your clients expect. We’ll also be in your corner for personal matters and protecting your interests if professional issues arise. Find Out More

Get in touch

Our website will give you a flavour of the advice we provide - if you would like to talk to us for more information, please contact our client services team who will be happy to assist.

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