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SECTOR: Education

Academy Conversion

We had an excellent working relationship with the Team from Samuel Phillips from the outset of our conversion journey. Every member of the team, without exception, were personable and professional and every query, however small, was promptly dealt with. Special mention must be made of David Laud, who worked tirelessly on our behalf throughout the whole process. The firm instils an air of confidence through their exemplary work ethic and I am looking forward to continuing our relationship with Samuel Phillips to further support our Academy. Highly commendable!Bernadette Dolan, Head Teacher - New Seaham Academy

The Academy Solution

Samuel Phillips has taken time to put in place the key resources to support secondary and primary schools through all aspects of becoming and maintaining Academy status.

We are one of the few firms in the region to have experience of both single and multi academy conversions and worked closely with schools across many local authority areas throughout the north.

We understand the risks and opportunities presented by conversion and the all important application of sound project management, communication.  It is essential to maintain good working relationships with pupils, parents, teachers and governors.

Our approach is to build a relationship with you for the long term and for you to have the first class, value based service that your school deserves. We know Head Teachers and their Deputies work long hours and want to have answers at a time when many may be ‘out of office’. With Samuel Phillips you’d receive our personal attention and contact information for the key experts ensuring you’re never far from the all important answer.

We recently held a very successful event at Durham Cricket Club to provide an essential update on the academisation process in light of the Governments white paper.

School Management: Governance & The Changing Landscape – 19th April 2016

The Education Team at Samuel Phillips Law Firm, commercial supporter of SCHOOLS NorthEast, facilitated the delivery of a free event on the changing landscape for schools in our region.

As we know the Government had announced that ALL English schools will become academies by 2022.  There has been a slight step down on the emphasis of ALL schools allowing for the better maintained schools to retain independence if they so wish however the direction of travel appears to remain firmly that of academisation.

At the event speakers covered the implications for maintained schools and those already established as academies.  There was also a discussion on the running of a successful school and the part played by a strong governing body.

Key questions addressed were – What makes a good governor?  How can you attract governors with “the right stuff”?  Is your current governing body compliant and representative of your community?  What’s the best way to run a governors meeting?

Chaired by Mike Parker of SCHOOLS NorthEast with contributions from Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association & Scott Walker, Director of the Academies Ambassador Programme present on Governance. David Laud of Samuel Phillips presented an overview of the implications of the Education and Adoption Bill and impact on our region.

Normanby Primary Head teacher, Carl Faulkner provided an invaluable perspective joining the panel for a lively Q&A session which you can see here on HD video.

To help navigate the timings of the questions as they appear on the video we’ve listed them.  You can access the timings and the speaker presentations by scrolling below the video;

If you have a question on any of the topics raised simply send an e-mail to


[1st question] Can MATs be set up with just «outstanding» schools and is there a requirement to have a % of RI or inadequate schools involved?

[2 mins 10 secs] How do staff transfer, does TUPE apply?

[7 mins 40 secs] What happens to the land, assets and liabilities when a Foundation school within a Trust converts?

[8 mins 30 secs] Given the challenges (planned, current, past) facing the education system, do you think the DfE is fit for purpose?

[11 mins 25 secs] How much say do we have on which schools are part of our Trust? If underperforming what impact will that have on an «outstanding» school?

[14 mins 52 secs] In a MAT which has a school with 1000+ pupils and others with 150 will the Chief Executive/ Directors salary be paid on a pro-rata basis?

[18 mins 55 secs] The New Schools Network sounds like an excellent support mechanism — but why are LA schools not supported in this way?

[24 mins 0 secs] PFI — Several schools that are in our Trust of 10 schools are PFI built. If we were to enter a MAT what would the issues be?

[25 mins 20 secs] Equal Pay Claims — if a school joins a MAT with a different pay structure could the MAT be liable for claims?

[25 mins 53 secs] Can a MAT cross local authority boundaries and are small schools likely to be swallowed up?

Emma Knights – National Governors Association

Scott Walker – Academy Ambassadors

David Laud & Chris Anderson  – Samuel Phillips Law Firm

  • David Laud
  • Sally Lomas Fletcher
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