Partner Natalie Ruane is an expert in employment and education law and is Head of the Burnetts' Employment Law & HR team. She is Head of Schools and Academies.
Natalie Ruane is a Partner at Burnetts and Head of Burnetts' Employment Law & HR team. Based in Penrith, she specialises in employment law and has developed expertise in the education sector. She leads the Schools and Academies team which includes dedicated lawyers and HR consultants.
Having graduated from the University of Bradford with a degree in German and French, Natalie spent two years as a German teacher in northern Sweden, also learning to speak Swedish, before returning to the UK to study law at Chester College of Law. She joined Eversheds in Birmingham in 1999 and, on qualification, joined their Human Resources legal team where she specialised in pensions and employment law. In 2003 Natalie moved to Cumbria and joined Burnetts.
Natalie’s time is almost exclusively spent advising schools and academies, working closely with head teachers, business managers and governing bodies. She advises on a wide range of HR and employment related issues including the employment related aspects of academy conversions and the establishment of Multi Academy Trusts. Examples of Natalie’s recent experience include:
• Representing a school at disciplinary and appeal meetings relating to a senior level dismissal on grounds of safeguarding concerns.
• Advising on a restructures of senior leadership teams and staff re-organsiations.
• Meeting with regional trade union officials to discuss matters of concern, resulting in much improved relations.
• Advising on pay and appraisal policies following legal changes.
• Successfully negotiating a solution to a complex grievance against a head teacher and the school’s governors.
• Securing exit packages for a number of staff in a situation where a personality clash was impacting on a department’s performance to the extent that the school’s Ofsted rating was adversely affected.
• Advising on appointments of Executive Headteachers.
• Conducting due diligence for a MAT receiving a transfer in of staff from a school in special measures, including advising on potential measures to be taken as a result of the transfer.
• Advising on complaints brought by students and parents against school leaders/senior teachers.
Natalie has presented a series of seminars on appraisal regulations and performance related pay, trade union rights and duties, types of school collaboration and governor training.
Natalie maintains relations with businesses and intermediaries throughout Cumbria and continues to provide employment law advice to both corporate clients and local charities. She has recently been selected as a non executive director of a financial institution.