0370 270 6000

Further education


With an estimated four million learners in further education (FE) in England alone, FE institutions - whether it be a sixth form college, technical college, private institution or specialist land-based or arts college - are a fundamental part of our education system.

Despite education now being compulsory up until the age of 18, and FE colleges and institutions also providing valuable learning and development opportunities to adults, employers and their apprentices, funding in the sector has been in decline.

College reorganisations, mergers and academy sponsorships are just some of the ways in which institutions have responded to the challenge. Diversification into higher education and the introduction of the apprentice levy in 2017 also provided new business opportunities despite the broadening of competition.

As a leading, full-service law firm with expertise in the education sector, our team of HR and legal experts are well placed to advise further education institutions of all sizes and structures in identifying sustainable opportunities for growth and development, as well as preparing for and responding to challenges that arise.

What we do

  • Commercial contracts, procurement, compliance and trading advice
  • HR and employment matters (including TUPE and pension issues)
  • Information sharing (including freedom of information requests) and data protection
  • Intellectual property
  • Learner conduct and welfare
  • Managing allegations
  • Options appraisals
  • Collaborative partnerships (incl. joint ventures, shared services and sponsorships arrangements)
  • Regulatory compliance (incl. health and safety and environmental matters)
  • Site planning, property and construction matters
  • Special educational needs, disability and equality
  • Safeguarding students

Why choose Browne Jacobson education lawyers?

We are a market-leading national team of education lawyers and HR specialists. Providing genuine insight and a fresh perspective to the issues you face, we will help you make the most of every opportunity, doing what is fundamentally right for your students and institution.

To find out more, please contact us.

Recent experience

  • As part of its merger and transition into South and City College, our employment experts advised and oversaw a major restructuring project at City College, Birmingham. Working with the senior leaders and board, we helped them to rationalise their portfolio of programmes (and subsequent teaching and support staff) and work with their HR team (and unions) to renegotiating their employment terms and conditions of employment so that they were more in line with the new governing structure.

  • We were appointed by Bradford College to complete all legal work relating to the conversion of its existing academy, Appleton Trust, to multi-academy status, and the sponsoring of Aire Valley School. We have also been appointed to advise on its studio school.

  • Advising an FE college on a safeguarding allegation against a member of staff and successfully defending the subsequent employment tribunal claim whilst ensuring the reputation of the college was not damaged.

  • Successfully advising an FE college on an appeal against an accreditation decision by an external body.

  • Reviewing and updating an FE college’s commercial contracts including training the managers responsible for negotiating the contracts resulting in the college being less reliant on external legal support.

  • Advising an FE college on a cross-college restructure involving collective consultation with the recognised trade unions.

  • Advising an FE college on an IT dispute resulting in the matter being resolved without the need for expensive ligation.

What our clients say....

Browne Jacobson are personable, provide a rapid response (sometimes within the hour) and reassuring advice.

Client testimonial 2019

When a problem occurs, it’s incredibly reassuring to know that we have Browne Jacobson in our corner. We trust them to alert us to changes we need to be aware of, and to help us plan to deal with the ever-changing education landscape.

Client testimonial 2019

What the directories say...

Browne Jacobson LLP 'epitomises the saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and is simply exceptional' in its delivery of a diverse range of education expertise to its large client base.

Legal 500 2020

The level of service we receive is impeccable. They are efficient in their response, professional in their service and the quality is outstanding.

Chambers 2020

Focus on...

Legal updates

Data reform in the UK

Since the UK left the EU and are now able to move away from the EU data protection regime, the UK government have implemented a national data strategy with the aim of reducing the burden on organisations but maintaining a high data protection standard.


Published articles

Key steps to avoid falling foul of disability discrimination laws

The law around disability discrimination against pupils is not straightforward – but the reputational risk, let alone costs, of falling foul of the law are huge, so it’s worth upskilling staff whenever possible, as these two lawyers outline.


Employment Law – Harpur Trust v Brazel – Implications for schools webinar

On 20 July 2022, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited judgment in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel, upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal. For those of you familiar with this case, you will know that it concerns the statutory leave requirements for part-time and part-year workers. For schools and academies whose workforce consists of a variety of types of part-time and part-year workers, this case is one that must be understood before any changes are applied. Come and join Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services as she puts questions to Ian Deakin, Employment Partner, and Sarah Linden, Senior Associate.


Press releases

Leading education lawyers play major role as DfE announces 10,000th academy conversion

The Department for Education (DfE) have announced that the conversion of Donisthorpe Primary School in Leicestershire on 1st September marked the 10,000th academy conversion.


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Judicial Review of school exclusion reconsideration dismissed on all grounds

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60 seconds with… Emma Hughes

With 19 HR experts now supporting over 500 schools and trusts across the country, in this edition of 60 seconds we sit down with Emma Hughes, who leads the team, to discuss what this significant milestone means to her.

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Fines for unsafe removal of asbestos in schools

In order to reduce the risk of potential breaches, schools should follow this Health and Safety Executive guidance.

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Asbestos: Still the UK’s number one occupational killer

A ResPublica report highlighted that asbestos continues to be the UK’s number one occupational killer, with nurses and teachers 3 to 5 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than the general UK population. The House of Commons Work & Pensions Select Committee is investigating how the HSE manages the continued presence of asbestos in buildings.

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Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

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