Collyer Bristow's experienced Education team provides specialist advice tailored to educational institutions including independent schools, academies, further education colleges, universities, charities and recruiters, based in the UK and internationally. 

How we can help you

Examples of the services we provide:

  • Acquisitions and disposals of education institutions
  • Collaboration agreements and joint ventures
  • Commercial agreements and franchising
  • Dispute resolution including disputes with students
  • Employment advice, contentious and advisory 
  • Establishing international or additional campuses 
  • Facilities contracts 
  • Freedom of information / data protection 
  • Fundraising, charity establishment, tax reliefs, donations, and trustee duties 
  • Governance, regulatory and constitutional advice 
  • Immigration issues relating to students and teachers/lecturers 
  • Intellectual property – commercialisation of IP and protecting your IP 
  • IT contracts 
  • Procurement and outsourcing 
  • Property, real estate and construction 
  • R&D and competition 
  • Reputation management 
  • Social media and advice including cyber-bulling
  • Spin-outs

Recent case studies highlighting our work in the education sector:

Charitable status: 

  • Advising a large military charity on the most tax-effective way of providing education and training courses at a commercial profit to those working in the sector, including advice on the advantages and disadvantages of creating a trading subsidiary. 
  • The establishment and registration of a large educational charity to include advice on fundraising and the duties of the charity trustees.


  • Drafting joint venture agreements for a university with third party partners for the establishment of university campuses abroad in places such as Dubai, Mauritius, India and Malta. 
  • Negotiating and drafting documentation for the purchase of a music college business. 
  • Drafting collaboration agreements (memoranda of cooperation) with other education institutions (validated, joint and franchised) 
  • Advice on the termination of a consortium agreement. 
  • Advice on a memorandum of co-operation with a division of the Singapore Government. 
  • Advice on the variation of memoranda of co-operation in respect of HEFCE funding changes.

Dispute resolution: 

  • Defending a university against a breach of contract claim brought by a disgruntled former student who was excluded after several prior warnings for misconduct. 
  • Disputes arising out of contracts, including memoranda of co-operation with other education providers.


  • Successfully defending a number of institutions against claims of discrimination, whistleblowing and unfair dismissal brought by former employees.
  • Conducting a performance management process for the Clerk to a Board of Governors. 
  • Advising on misconduct allegations regarding a staff member and sexual relations with a student.
  • Reviewing employment contracts and policies. 
  • Advising on the merger of two educational charities working in schools nationwide, successfully registering the new entity as a charitable body, corporate governance of the new structure, TUPE implications and associated redundancies.


  • Conducting a Governors’ investigation into whistleblowing allegations against the executive of a college. 
  • Advising on a legal strategy for a college following an adverse Ofsted inspection, including performance management, restructuring and misconduct dismissals. 
  • Advising the Chair to a Board of Governors of an academy on a proposed sensitive restructuring of the executive.

Useful links

Department for Education:

Higher Education Funding Council for England:

Universities UK:   


National Governors’ Association:

Universities Human Resources:

Times Higher Education:

Additional information