Staff are key assets for schools and we know that schools do not want their advisors to sit on the fence. Our clients appreciate the robust and commercial approach we take when advising on HR and employment law issues, and this is what sets us apart from others. We therefore have a dedicated HR helpdesk as part of our School Support Service which gives you direct access to specialist employment lawyers who can provide advice on a range of HR and employment law issues which arise in a school context.
Our Schools HR team are experts in the regulatory framework that applies to schools and have extensive experience advising on, for example, the STPCD, the restrictions in the Academy Trust Handbook and in particular its application to settlement agreements, and the requirements of the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance relating to safer recruitment and other sources of regulation.
The employment and HR aspect of the service is designed to dovetail with any external HR support your school or trust may have and/or to provide back-up to your in-house HR team.
We represent clients in defending employment tribunal proceedings including claims involving allegations of discrimination because of race, sex, disability, pregnancy and maternity and all other protected grounds; whistleblowing; unfair dismissal and holiday pay. Our team can act on claims which are insurance-backed or covered by the RPA, as well matters that are privately funded.
We can provide bespoke training for clients on a variety of HR / employment law issues specific to the education sector. As part of our service we also deliver webinars and seminars to our School Support Service clients. Recordings of some of our recent webinars are available here.
We regularly advise individual schools, academy trusts and dioceses in relation to:
Strategic HR and employment law advice
Recruitment and retention
Contracts of employment
STPCD, Burgundy Book and Green Book
Workplace policies and procedures
Sickness absence management and sick pay
Restructuring and redundancy
Trade union disputes and collective bargaining
Settlement agreements and early resolution of disputes
Employment tribunal claims
Crisis management and reputational risk
Workplace operations and strategy post Covid-19.
Our team are here to support you with all schools HR and employment law legal queries, no matter how big or small. Click on the links below to read more about our experience supporting schools.
For more information or to discuss your needs and how we can support you, please contact our Schools HR team on 0345 026 8690 or email@example.com
Meet the team
Andrea Squires is Partner and Head of our Education team, which provides specialist support to schools, academies and other education organisations. The team have particular expertise advising foundation bodies and charities including Diocesan Boards of Education, Catholic Dioceses and broader education charities. Andrea advises on strategic projects, capital programmes including estate regeneration and PFI, school and public partnerships and a broad range of disputes, including governance challenges and reviews, malpractice, judicial review and regulatory investigations. She is particularly adept in crisis management, strategic advice, challenging and resolving industrial action and matters concerning TUPE and consultation.
A market source says: “She’s really pragmatic, knows the law and takes a sensible approach to matters.” (Chambers 2020).
Aida Smajlovic is a Partner in the Education Department and heads up our Schools HR team. Aida has particular expertise in complex workplace disputes and employment tribunal litigation, including cases concerning discrimination on all protected grounds, whistleblowing and where there is a crossover with other areas of law such as data protection, safeguarding and criminal offences. Aida is strategic and commercial in her approach and is particularly effective in advising on crisis management and reputational risk, as well as matters that require a high degree of sensitivity. She gives our schools clients the confidence to deal with a variety of HR and employment law issues that their organisation may be facing. Our clients commend Aida not only for her sound legal advice and technical ability, but also her down to earth nature and exceptional client care.
Cassandra Hurley is a Senior Associate in the Education Department specialising in employment law in the education sector. Cassandra has extensive HR and employment law experience particularly when it comes to advising and supporting schools with a religious character, recognising the particular legal freedoms that apply to such schools, and ensuring that their rights are reflected where appropriate in the advice she gives and the documents she produces on their behalf. Cassandra is particularly skilled in drafting model contracts of employment and workplace policies and procedures, as well as advising on the application of the STPCD and Burgundy Book / Green Book. Clients appreciate Cassandra’s commercial and pragmatic approach and her advice always takes account of their particular local context and wider aims, including reducing risk and any associated reputational damage. Cassandra is often instructed to act for clients who are carrying out disciplinary and/or complex grievance investigations and with her advice and strategy, matters are often resolved at an early stage in an amicable and cost effective way. Clients report that Cassandra is approachable, responsive and delivers her expertise in a professional yet personable way.
Harry Brown is a Solicitor in the Education Department specialising in employment law in the education sector. Harry trained with the firm and qualified into the Schools HR team after developing a passion and natural flair for advising on employment law in a school context. Harry has experience in both contentious and non-contentious work and has advised clients on a wide range of employment and HR matters, including discrimination, dismissals, TUPE, contracts, policies and procedures, settlement agreements and redundancy. Clients value his practical advice, common sense approach and responsiveness to their matters.