Laura Berman joined Stone King in April 2012, but has practised in education law for well over 20 years. She is a partner in Stone King’s Education Team advising state schools on a wide range of every day operational issues.
- Professional Experience
Laura advises schools on a wide range of issues, usually pupil-focussed, including:
- Admissions and admission appeals;
- Pupil behaviour and exclusions;
- Special Educational Needs, disability and other Equality Act matters in particular providing support to schools in relation to their responsibilities to make provision for those with and without an EHCP, their Equality Act duties, drafting of policies, SEN Funding, SEN and disability related behavioural issues, responding to consultations on an EHCP to name a school and disability discrimination claims in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal;
- Parental complaints;
Laura regularly delivers training on the above matters.
Laura’s depth of experience enables her to help clients with contentious and non-contentious issues. She has specialist expertise in advising faith schools and also has significant experience assisting individuals with education law issues.
- Legal Support Retainer
Laura manages and develops our Legal Support Retainer Service and oversees our retainer clients in London and the South East.
- Academic Experience
Laura read Management Sciences at the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology. She completed her Law Conversion and Legal Practice Course at the College of Law (London Bloomsbury).
Outside of her legal practice, Laura delivers workshops and training. She is a school governor and a member of the Education Law Association. She has also written a number of articles for the Education Law Journal.
- Case studies / Accomplishments
Laura advised a Jewish faith school in relation to several contentious objections to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator against its admission arrangements. Each objection raised a variety of different points including complaints about the manner of and content of the consultation, conflicts of interest, and multiple alleged breaches of the School Admissions Code 2014. The response was complex not only in respect of bringing together all the various elements of the numerous objections into a coherent document, but also in addressing previous case law in relation to legitimate expectation and an important 1989 judgment in relation to catchment areas. The Adjudicator dismissed all the objections save for one.
Laura acted for a large MAT in connection with a disability discrimination claim lodged against one of their academies. The child in question had been permanently excluded from the school. The child allegedly suffered from OCD although whether this amounted to a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act was in dispute. Laura assisted the Trust in drafting a detailed response to the claim and subsequently negotiating a settlement.
In another matter Laura acted for a Trust in connection with potential judicial review proceedings. This revolved around an allegation that the Trust (an alternative provision academy) was preventing a child from reintegrating into mainstream school. There was an important point involved regarding how and when the AP academy could or should recommend a child for mainstream reintegration. A response to the letter of claim successfully prevented the proceedings from being issued.