LAW firm Muckle LLP has played a central role in converting the North East's biggest school into an academy.
Kenton School in Newcastle has been made an independent school that is no longer maintained by the local authority, and was advised by the leading commercial law firm, also based in Newcastle.
The school’s conversion to become an academy was completed on May 1 and was counseled by Muckle LLP’s education team, led by Tony McPhillips.
The team negotiated all of the legal documentation, including transfers of assets and funding arrangements, as well as advising on safeguarding, employment, property and land-related issues.
Sarah Forster, solicitor at Muckle LLP, said: “The commercial and financial arrangements were more complicated than usual as a result of the private finance initiative (PFI) agreements and the number of parties involved, as well as the consent needed from funders. The PFI arrangements were put in place in 2007.
“As with many PFI projects, the contractor and sub-contractors provide different parts of services within the school, so there were a range of parties and agreements which had to be revisited before the academy conversion could be completed.
“With some of our academy conversions we have seen the process completed within eight weeks, but because this was a more complex situation, with additional external factors to manage, the overall process took six months to complete.”
Headteacher at Kenton School, David Pearmain, said: “We consider the opportunity to gain greater control over the school and its resources by becoming an academy will help us to achieve our ambitions to move towards becoming world-class.
“Working with the education team at Muckle LLP made a complex academy conversion as straight forward as possible.
“Their advice was clear and comprehensive and they helped by negotiating our way with the many parties and complexities involved.”
Kenton School already has a strong reputation and holds National Support School and High Performing Specialist School status.
It is the lead school for gifted and talented education in the area.