• Parallel Learning Trust: We assisted the secondary and primary pupil referral units in the London Borough of Lambeth, Park Campus and Kennington Park Bridge to School to convert into a multi academy trust named Parallel Learning Trust.
  • QED Academy Trust: We advised QED Academy Trust on the conversion of Coteford Junior School to join the multi academy trust in February 2013.
  • The Eden Academy: We assisted Grangewood Special School and Moorcroft Special School in Hillingdon on the conversion to academy status. We established the multi academy trust, The Eden Academy, which runs both of these academies. We have subsequently advised The Eden Academy on the conversion of another special school, Alexandra School South Harrow, on the conversion to an academy to join the multi academy trust.
  • Portslade Aldridge Community Academy: Portslade Aldridge Community Academy was formerly Portslade Community College. The academy opened with use of three sites, intended to be reduced to two following the carrying out of a major scheme of alteration and refurbishment at the main site. We worked closely with the conversion project manager to assist inception of the Academy Trust Company, resolution of the commercial and property issues, and resolution of the funding and transfer documents. The complex property arrangements led to initial occupation under short term leases, to be replaced by long term leases following completion of the development scheme.
  • Europa School UK: We advised the Trustees of the Europa School UK free school in relation to its creation. It was a particularly complex project involving intricate site/service sharing aspects which required negotiation with the European Commission in Brussels. We advised on all the property, commercial and corporate aspects of the project. We also advised on complicated TUPE aspects due to the proposed free school wanting to continue with a ‘European education’, on similar lines to the operation of the incumbent European school with which it intends to share a site until 2017.
  • Peterborough Diocese Board Education: We advised a cluster of ten primary schools in Northamptonshire on the establishment of two Multi-Academy Trusts and a Local Collaboration Trust for joint procurement of goods and services. One MAT was established for four Church of England schools and another MAT for five community schools. The cluster also involves a Catholic primary school which will become a member of the LCT. The Church school MAT is a very early example (perhaps the first in England) to comprise both VC and VA category schools.
  • Lichfield Diocese Board of Education: We established St Chad’s Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust through which the Diocese can sponsor under-performing Schools that require conversion to academy status, offer an option for other converting schools to join rather than becoming stand-alone academies, and support geographically isolated Schools.
  • Church of England Central Education Trust: Advising on the establishment of the Church of England Central Education Trust (CECET), a unique and ground-breaking collaborative vehicle jointly owned by the Diocese of Lichfield, the Diocese of Birmingham and Wolverhampton University.
  • The Aldridge Foundation: Geldards advised on the conversion of 4 Schools on the Isle of Portland, Dorset into a single academy. The project had unique pressures as it affects an isolated community, requires practical solutions to complex legal issues with demanding timescales.
  • Landau Forte Charitable Trust: Academy conversion work coupled with a BSF development project for purpose built accommodation: advising Landau Forte Charitable Trust on the conversion of Queen Elizabeth’s Mercian School, Derby.
  • York Diocese Board of Education: We advised the Diocese of York on the establishment of the William Temple multi-academy trust. We also advised both the Diocese and schools on the academy conversion of two VC primary schools, being the first schools to join the multi-academy trust.


  • Birmingham College: Acting on a multi-party project to build one of the UK’s biggest Built Environment/Construction Centres in the UK for Birmingham College. The project was delivered by a blend of public and private sector funds.
  • College Merger: Advising on the merger of three colleges in Wales forming part of the Open College Network (namely, North Wales Open College Network, South East Open College Network and South West Open College Network) to form a single merged company called Open College Network Cymru.
  • Tax/VAT Advice: Advising on the implications of the development of a city centre site on behalf of Derby College.
  • Metropolitan Police College: Advising on vacation rentals and third party income agreements.
  • WEA Cymru: Advising on its merger with Coleg Harlech WEA North Wales, including in particular advising on the governance of the merged body and also the charitable aspects of the merger.
  • Welsh HE: Advising institution in connection with a partnership agreement with a non UK institution in respect of a project funded under the ERDF Interreg 4A programme.
  • Advising NCHS: The Science College, Clayton Hall Business and Language College, Newcastle Under Lyme College, the University of Keele and Aspire Housing Limited on the establishment of South Newcastle Federation Trust, a jointly owned collaborative vehicle to improve standards of provision and attainment.
  • Preparing a template agreement: For a Further Education college concerning a partnership to be rolled out by the college’s sub-contractors (which accounted for £20million of revenue for the college) who deliver courses and training on the colleges behalf. This involved advising from a compliance/risk management perspective in respect of the Funding Agreement, and the Skills Funding Agency Rules.


  • Middlesex University: Advising on the establishment of a special purpose vehicle company to act as the counterparty to a project agreement with the University, negotiating the funding and security agreements, negotiating and settling project documents including a management and operating sub-contract, carrying out due diligence and providing legal opinions on the powers of the University.
  • Welsh Ministers: Advising on the “EADS Foundation Wales” joint venture with Cardiff University and EADS/Cassidian, and its subsequent conversion from a contractual joint venture to a corporate joint venture and related asset transfer arrangements.
  • University of Derby: Advising on various capital investment and tax driver property schemes including the investment of over £100 million in new student residences.
  • University of South Wales: Assisting the University in relation to its CEMAS project by preparing a standard form collaboration agreement and IPR assignment, and related project paperwork.
  • De Montfort University: Advising in connection with the redevelopment of part of its campus adjacent to a main road, which necessitated acquisition of adopted highway for future development by way of exchange of surplus land with Leicester City Council.
  • Servite Houses (now Viridian): Advising on a 20 year PPP project “Middlesex First” to take over, refurbish and manage the student halls of residence at University of Middlesex.
  • University of Glamorgan: Advising on the design and implementation of a school closure programme. This was one of the first closures of a science programme by a university in the UK and it therefore attracted considerable trade union resistance and presented a potential reputational risk.
  • A University: Advising in relation to a collaboration agreement with two other universities regarding wound dressing, including terms relating to IP ownership and exploitation of the project IP and transfer of materials.
  • Aberystwyth University: Advising the on charity registration and the reorganisation of charitable funds.
  • Representing a university: on a dispute concerning a research and collaboration agreement with a life sciences company, involving the use of the large MRI scanner run by one of the University’s schools.
  • University College Cardiff Consultants Limited (UC3): Advising on taking a 30% equity stake in Cardiff Viral Technologies Limited.
  • Several Universities: Advising on and drafting a collaboration agreement between several universities relating to the setting up and management of a centre of excellence.
  • Cardiff University: Advising since 1999 in relation to most of its property and estate management transactions including the acquisition of a 10 acre city centre site for campus development including the completion of a complex agreement under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to enable planning permission to be issued; and the completion of a highway works agreement under sections 38 and 278 of the Highways Act 1980 to enable adoption of areas of the development as highway maintainable at the public expense.
  • Employment: Advising on all aspects of employment contracts and policies including removing rights to “live in” for student residence caretakers, developing a policy for the use of Fixed Term Contracts by Cardiff University and revising terms and conditions for Academic and non-academic staff.
  • Equalities: Advising a University on the introduction and review of a series of employment and equalities policies including in relation to Part Time Workers, Fixed term Workers, Religious Beliefs, Flexible Working together with Disciplinary and Grievances Procedures. We have also provided training on the application of such procedures.
  • Cardiff University: Advising in relation to the transfer of an Academic school from the former UWIC to Cardiff University. Successfully defending Cardiff University against a claim of race discrimination, constructive unfair dismissal and redundancy by a disaffected senior lecturer who saw the transfer as a missed opportunity to retire on preferential terms.
  • Advising a university in connection with the establishment of a gas turbine research centre, involving the drafting and negotiation of commercial contracts with the commercial partners.
  • Welsh Government: Advising in connection with a major project (FEED project) raising awareness in the Higher and Further Education sector of IP issues helping them commercialise IP rights generated. Our role included delivering training and producing IP policy and guidance notes on recognising and commercialising IP.
  • Cardiff University: Reviewing and amending academic and non-academic contracts of employment and undertaking the wholesale review of the University’s human resources policies and procedures that was required following the merger between Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of medicine.

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Kim Howell


Partner, Cardiff

+44 (0)29 2039 1473


Paul Hilsdon


Partner, Derby

+44 (0)1332 378 351