A TOP North East law firm is planning to expand its work in the education sector after recruiting a new specialist team.
Ward Hadaway, based in Newcastle, has advised on almost £700m worth of school-building projects across the UK and helped a local authority secure a judicial review of the Government’s decision to axe its Building Schools for the Future programme.
Now it wants to roll out that work further after recruiting a new partner and associate solicitor with experience of working on a series of groundbreaking education projects.
New partner Graham Shaw was formerly head of education at law firm Schofield Sweeney and is one of the country’s foremost authorities on academies, free schools and trust schools. He has advised on over 80 academies including traditional or sponsor academies and school converter academies. These schemes span a range of contexts including primary, secondary, special and Church academies, schemes involving PFI arrangements, academy group structures and umbrella trust arrangements.
Shaw is a regular speaker at national conferences on the Academies Act 2010 and the academy conversion process and co-wrote A Plain Guide To The Academies Act 2010. He also advised on two of the first Free School projects in the country and has acted for clients in the private and public sectors on a series of school capital projects and university student accommodation schemes.
Associate solicitor Louise Castle who also joins from Schofield Sweeney, has over five years’ specialist experience working on a range of projects in the public sector with particular expertise in education. She has advised on over 40 school converter academy projects, including both single and federated schemes.
Shaw said he was delighted to be joining Ward Hadaway. “The firm’s expertise and in-depth knowledge of the public sector is well-known across the country so it is great to be joining a team that is so well respected in the market place,” he said.
“Ward Hadaway has the resources and the strength in depth to provide the advice and support required by an increasingly sophisticated education sector and take on the kind of projects which make a real difference to education in the country. I am really looking forward to working with my new colleagues at the firm and with Louise again.”
Late last year, the firm was appointed to advise on a £160m school building project in the Midlands for Telford & Wrekin Council. The scheme is one of the few remaining Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects to have survived the Government’s cuts in spending on school buildings. The firm, also advised Nottingham City Council on its successful application for a judicial review of the decision by Education Secretary Michael Gove to terminate the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.