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Catholic academy conversions

Catholic academy conversions

Our team are national leaders in the conversion of Catholic schools to academy status either joining an existing multi-academy trust (or company) or establishing their own.

Our experienced team of lawyers can help you with a smooth, stress-free transition to a voluntary academy as a result of a directive Academy Order, a Bishop’s directive or a governing body resolution.

By combining the best lawyers specialising in Catholic education law with an affordable fixed fee, we can ensure that the process is simple, with no hidden charges along the way. As a member of Churchmarketplace, we are approved providers of legal services to the Catholic schools and have been externally assessed as providing excellent legal services whilst ensuring that the Catholic ethos of the school is recognised and protected.

Thinking of becoming an academy?

If you are considering becoming an academy, there is a myriad of things to think about. By applying for a conversion, you will turn your school into an independently managed, publicly funded academy. This could give you continued over your admissions process, budgets and staffing, as well as more freedom to innovate and more tools to create a nurturing environment for students to advance their faith as well as their knowledge.

As with any legal changeover, there are a number of complexities that could arise. Careful planning is required for every step of the process, and this is where we come in. From establishing a timeline to ensure you are ready for the school year, to dealing with the issues of land and school buildings, we can provide advice and practical support every step of the way.

With our extensive experience in corporate law, academy conversions and compliance, we can arm you with everything you need to know. We are able to guide you through each stage, from registration to completion and, if you wish, beyond. If you’re thinking about becoming an academy and require legal assistance, get in touch with our team today.

Academy conversions at a fixed price

Not only do we aim to make the entire process as simple and straightforward as possible so you can get on with your school curriculum, but we also have a clear-cut approach to our conversion law services. We offer a fixed price, giving you complete peace of mind when it comes to staying on budget. And, through our membership of Churchmarketplace you know that our fee also helps support the Catholic church.

As well as helping you manage costs, we also understand that no two Catholic academies are the same. That’s why we treat each client as an individual, and quote accordingly. Whether you are looking to setup a new academy trust or join an existing one, apply as a multi academy trust or company, we tailor our services to your needs. From the onset, we will help you establish a realistic timescale and discuss important academy conversion dates that fit in with your strategy.

Generally, the conversion process takes around six months from Diocesan Bishop’s consent to conversion, but can be longer for schools with PFI contracts, or shorter for high-performing schools that can be streamlined. Whatever timescale is agreed, we guarantee a fixed cost with no hidden fees.

Help and support with understanding conversion law

At Browne Jacobson, we provide schools with full service legal support and a one-stop solution for education and conversion law. Our teams manage the entire conversion process, including governance, corporate, charity, property and employment law always bearing in mind the ethos of the school. And we always have your interests in mind. Many schools make the mistake of starting conversion too late, but we are here to advise you on choosing the right academy conversion dates so that you stay on track with your school year.

We take on the project planning, managing your school’s key dates and actions, ensuring all paperwork, transfers and agreements are done on time and the necessary consents obtained. Once you become an academy, you will also need to have the right data and financial management systems in place to effectively manage your new responsibilities. This is vital for meeting the strict legal requirements of an academy. That is why we support you, not just during, but also after conversion is complete.

Academy schools – pros and cons explained

Academy schools benefit from financial independence and freedom, but we know that change can be disruptive when not successfully managed. With top lawyers specialising in education law, and years of collective experience within the sector, we are able to help you navigate these potential problems.

We are also transparent about academy schools pros and cons, so that you are fully prepared for the legal and logistical intricacies ahead. Possible complications may arise when agreeing the land documentation depending on the nature of the land, and a land questionnaire will need to be completed before conversions can be approved. Additionally, new financial systems will need to be put into place, and an accounting officer and chief finance officer will need to be appointed. There are lots of steps, which if not managed properly, will set you back. At Browne Jacobson, we will iron out all the complex issues and help you overcome any stumbling blocks.

Why choose Browne Jacobson?

As a leading national law firm in the UK, we make the process easy for schools of every type. We have completed conversions for primary, middle and secondary schools, as well as community, voluntary controlled, trust, faith and foundation schools. Over the years, we have developed a track record of being able to provide tailored and flexible support for every single client. Instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach, we work closely with schools to establish the best actions for them.

With over 1300 satisfied clients, 500 of them Catholic, we are leaders not just in academy conversions and education law but specifically in the Catholic school sector. Our team has been independently recognised as one of the top education law firms in the country by Chambers and Partners’ Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession. We are also official partners of trusted organisations, such as the Association of School and Business Leaders and the National Governors’ Association with whom we have collaborated on guidance documents to help schools or trusts take the next steps when considering forming or joining a group of schools.

We can service schools across the UK through our five office network in Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester, London and Exeter. Get in touch to find out more about how our education law conversion services can help you become an academy today.

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