Chris is an Associate in the Education Team advising Trustees and Senior Teachers in Academy Trusts on a wide range of education law issues that impact on the operation of schools. He is an experienced trainer and regularly delivers seminars on complaints, exclusions and admissions.
Chris also volunteers his time to mentor students on BPP Law School’s “Access to Practice” scheme to enable students who do not come from legal backgrounds gain an insight in to legal practice.
Prior to joining the firm, Chris worked for the in-house legal team of a large Local Authority where he acted as clerk for admission appeal and exclusion review panels. He also appeared in the Magistrates’ Court to prosecute school non-attendance offences.
- Professional Experience
- Education law
Chris advises Academies on the operational aspects of education law including:
- Admissions and admission appeals;
- Exclusions & Behaviour (including Head Teacher’s decision permanently exclude to Governor and Independent Review Panel stages, including complex incidents of sexual and physical assault and drugs);
- SEND (including responding to EHCP consultations and representation in the First tier Tribunal in disability discrimination cases);
- Equality Act duties and issues;
- Attendance (including removal from roll and education welfare);
- Family law issues and parental responsibility in a school context;
- Parental Complaints and referrals to the ESFA;
- School Leadership Support;
As well as representing schools in the First tier Tribunal, Chris also works with schools in responding to judicial review claims in relation to the decisions it has taken.
- Information Law
Chris complements his education law experience with a sound knowledge of information law. This is invaluable when schools receive Subject Access Requests and/ or Freedom of Information requests as part of other legal challenges or matters it is dealing with.
- Academic Experience
Chris read Politics and American Studies at the Universities of Keele and Maryland. He obtained a Masters degree in International Law from the University of Hull before becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).
Chris is one of the firm’s Wellbeing Champions where he is involved in practical initiatives to boost the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff. He writes regularly for the “Feelgood Friday” section on the firm’s intranet sharing tips and ideas to boost wellbeing.
- Case studies / Accomplishments
- Advised school governors on their decision to uphold the permanent exclusion of a pupil who had committed a serious physical assault against another pupil; successfully represented the governors at the Independent Review Panel which agreed with their decision to uphold the permanent exclusion. Included dealing with subject access request, the use of CCTV and a parallel police investigation;
- Represented a school at the First tier Tribunal involving issues of reasonable adjustments for mock exams held in classrooms to ensure Covid-19 safety measures. The Claim was withdrawn by the parents;
- Guided school on resolving complex complaint process involving an independent investigation and related subject access requests brought by non-resident parent who disagreed with others’ views of his SEN child’s placement;
- Responding to a pre-action judicial review claim over a grammar school’s decision to refuse admission for failing to meet the required standard; successful in persuading the court that the claim should not be given permission to proceed;
- Advised an oversubscribed school on the redrafting of its written statement to the admissions appeal panel to enable it to successfully resist further over admissions