Employment & HR for Education

Our Employment team has extensive experience of acting on behalf of education establishments on both contentious and non-contentious issues.

More about Employment Law

HR and Employment support and advice is a vital part of the good governance and management of any school or college. Employees are the greatest asset of any school or college, and quality advice in this complex area is essential to success, and to the wellbeing and development of pupils, students and employees.

Services offered includes:

Services offered includes:

  • In-person, telephone and email support and advice for HR and employment law issues including:

    • Sickness absence management;

    • Appraisals and performance management;

    • Disciplinary and dismissal;

    • Grievance issues including bullying and harassment complaints;

    • Terms and conditions of employment;

    • Contracts of employment and variation;

    • Flexible working and family friendly rights;

    • Recruitment;

    • Pay and equal pay;

    • Discrimination;

    • Equality and Diversity

  • Attendance and real-time advice at formal hearings;

  • Advice and support on trade union relations including disputes and strike action;

  • Drafting and negotiating settlement agreements;

  • Policy and procedure audits and drafting of bespoke policies;

  • Drafting of bespoke letters and scripts for internal processes;

  • End to end support with restructures and programmes of redundancies;

  • Support on all aspects of TUPE transfers;

  • Support with job evaluation processes;

  • Crisis management support - for example, in relation to complex safeguarding matters and issues involving the polices and/or criminal conduct;

  • Training sessions and webinars;

  • Regular updates on changes to the law, including tailored advice on how this will impact on Schools.

Tribunal Representation

Tribunal Representation

We represent teachers, educational establishments and local authorities meaning we understand the key issues and the complex challenges faced by our clients, which are often different to those in employment in the commercial business world. In addition to their advocacy skills, our team are friendly and approachable - providing you with the service you need at what is a critical and stressful time.

We know how to best support your staff throughout the case, including how to manage their needs and expectations. Working together from the start of an issue through to presenting your defence at Tribunal, we are committed to being with you every step of the way. Our representation does not start at the Tribunal. We will appoint a team consisting of a Partner, Associate and Solicitor and either a Paralegal or a Trainee Solicitor to each Tribunal case, to ensure a breadth of knowledge and experience is brought to the preparations in the case and allowing us to ensure best value for money by allocating work to the most appropriate level.

This team approach encourages a culture of challenge; a team working approach meaning that we can ensure continuity of service throughout. You will be provided with a detailed case plan and regular updates and contact throughout. We will assist you in planning from the outset to ensure those involved in the case are clear as to their responsibilities. The right levels of support and advice will be provided throughout. Our approach delivers exceptional service and value for money. Our objective is to put you in the best position to achieve the outcome you desire.

Recent Experience Includes:

Recent Experience Includes:

  • Ongoing retained advice for a number of educational organisations, including multi-academy trusts, maintained schools, stand-alone academies, independent schools and further education colleges;

  • Appearing on behalf of a governing body in the leading case on the calculation of pension loss under the Teachers' Pension Scheme;

  • Advising on and implementing local collective agreements and departures from NJCC in the field of trade union relations;

  • Advising regularly on harmonising pay structures and terms and conditions, together with job evaluation;

  • Regularly advising and assisting in the negotiation of Settlement Agreements including dealing with the dismissal of head teachers and other senior staff;

  • Regularly advising on internal staffing issues;

  • Dealing with many Tribunal cases involving sensitive Child Protection issues;

  • Representing management at internal appeals against dismissal;

  • Reviewing and drafting a wide range of schools policies and contracts of employment;

  • Advising upon the implications of TUPE following academy conversion and pre-transfer in relation to taking over an after school club;

  • Representing a school and head teacher in a Tribunal claim for race discrimination;

  • Advising upon a flexible working application and potential disability discrimination claim;

  • Investigating a complaint against a teacher involving inappropriate relationships with pupils;

  • Advising on the avoidance of Strike action.

We also offer Forbes Educate, bespoke education focused training available as a tailored package or one-off sessions.

Our dedicated Education team


Partner and National Head of Employment & Education, Employment & HR

Jonathan Holden

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Partner and Head of Public Sector Employment, Employment & HR

Ruth Rule-Mullen

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Partner, Employment & HR

Laura McHugh

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Solicitor, Employment & HR

Alice Earnshaw

Contact us

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0800 689 0831 - Monday - Friday: 09:00 - 17:00

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© 2024 Forbes Solicitors is the trading name of Forbes Solicitors LLP Offices in Preston, Manchester, Salford, Blackburn, Blackpool, London and Leeds UK Main Office: Rutherford House, 4 Wellington Street (St Johns), Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 8DD • Vat No: 174 394 344 Forbes Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No. 816356). Details of the SRA’s Standards and Regulations can be found here. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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