We have helped over 600 schools convert to Academy status since the Academies Act 2010 was passed. Our dedicated team has the knowledge and understanding to support you through the process.

The conversion process is a significant step and we appreciate that a great deal of trust is placed on us to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently. We provide guidance and support for the important decisions you will be making. Our experience of the way these matters have been dealt with in the past gives us a unique opportunity to present a full picture to clients and influence the way these issues are dealt with during the conversion process.   

We can advise on all legal aspects of the conversion process including the Memorandum and Articles, the Funding Agreement, the Commercial Transfer Agreement, TUPE and the land arrangements.

Our experience

We have advised all types of school in the conversion process: community, foundation, voluntary, religious schools, PFI, BSF, secondary, primary and special. We are familiar with the particular issues affecting each type of school so our advice is always tailored to each client’s needs. We work closely with the Department for Education to assist in the development of policy and procedures to support schools who wish to convert.

We consider ourselves to be market-leaders in the provision of strategic support to groups of schools that choose to collaborate.  Many of our clients are clusters of schools that come together to form large or small multi academy trusts.  We also act for existing academy trusts from single to multi academy status, in line with the general DfE preference for schools to collaborate, support or sponsor each other in groups to help raise school improvement collectively.   We can also advise when an academy moves over to another multi academy trust because of removal of a sponsor.

For schools with a religious character, we have a dedicated faith schools team whose clients include schools and religious bodies from a broad faith spectrum including Roman Catholic, Church of England, Hindu and Muslim.  Our faith schools team can advise on Trust implications, preserving the religious ethos in an academy, consent and specialist property arrangements for faith schools.

What we can do for you

Our focus is finding solutions, not simply highlighting problems and we take a strategic approach to help academies to manage risks appropriately. Our fixed fee arrangement will help you to plan your budget and we will take the lead with managing the process so that you can concentrate on the non-legal aspects of conversion.

We strive to work together with schools and sponsors, sharing experiences and solutions to problems. We have developed a range of models which take into account the different needs of schools and trusts.

Contact Details

Andrea Squires


Tel. +44 (0)20 7593 5039

Fax. +44 (0)20 7593 5099

Email. asquires@wslaw.co.uk

Andrea Squires

Owen Carew-Jones


Tel. +44 (0)20 7593 5034

Fax. +44 (0)20 7593 0308

Email. ocj@wslaw.co.uk

Owen Carew-Jones

Anna Shadbolt

Senior Associate

Tel. +44 (0)20 7593 0236

Fax. +44 (0)20 7593 5099

Email. ashadbolt@wslaw.co.uk

Anna  Shadbolt

Emily Towner


Tel. +44 (0)20 7593 5177

Fax. +44 (0)20 7593 0308

Email. etowner@wslaw.co.uk

Emily Towner

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“They have always been very good, I have always had a quick response, a detailed response. They provide us with a really good service and training seminars, I would always recommend them.”

The STEP Academy Trust