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Burnetts in Leading Role for County’s Newest Academy

Burnetts is at the leading edge of the government’s new Academies initiative. 

Burnetts Solicitors in Carlisle  is advising Seaton Infant School in Workington as it undergoes its transformation into an Academy. Seaton Infant School is the only school in Cumbria to be converting to Academy status with effect from 1 September 2010 and one of only 32 in England and Wales to so far take advantage of new legislation which aims to make it easier for schools to achieve Academy status. 

Academies are publicly funded independent schools. Their independence from the local authority allows them to set their own pay and conditions for staff, change the lengths of terms and school days and also gives freedom from following the National Curriculum. 

Burnetts already advises Cumbria’s current Academies and has a nationally recognised specialism in education law being recommended in the latest edition of Chambers UK for its advice to higher and further education institutions and ranked fourth in a national league table of legal advisers to the further education sector which is published by Caritas Data. 
Back in May the firm set up a specialist Academy group to respond to the anticipated needs of the sector and has been pro-active in making schools aware of the legal issues they were likely to face on conversion. 

The team advising Seaton Infant School includes corporate and charity specialists John Noctor and Caroline Redhead and property expert Sam Lyon. 

John Noctor said, “We have been advising Seaton on issues such as the incorporation of the new Academy company, the funding agreement with the Secretary of State, their  charitable status and crucially the transfer of 29 staff and the school’s buildings from the County Council to the new Academy.  We have also been liaising closely with the Government’s Academies Team, and have built strong relationships which will stand us in good stead going forward”. 

Our experience with other Academies in the County means we were extremely confident about the issues which were likely to arise and how to handle them. The biggest challenge has been the extremely short timescales: this complex transfer has been completed in less than two weeks which is a real achievement!” 

Head Lesley Grace said, “At the moment, only schools which have been classified as outstanding by Ofsted can apply to become one of the new Academies and it is testimony to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, including Burnetts, that we are amongst the first in England to be able to take advantage of this new opportunity,” 

For further information on Burnetts’ education team, contact John on 01228 552222.

Published: Monday 6th September 2010
Categorised: Education

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