Further Education

We understand that funding pressures, curriculum changes and governance remapping through Area Reviews are radically and rapidly changing the dynamics and shape of the Further Education (FE) sector. Our service for FE institutions provides you with innovative support to meet these challenges and make the most of your opportunities.

Our specialist education team of over 70 lawyers and HR consultants can assist you with advice on the full range of matters needed to help you increase efficiency and effectiveness in your FE institution, including advice on changing structures, dealing with regulators, how to maximise the use of your college estate and resources, and advice on shared service vehicles and better procurement.

How can we help you?

We advise colleges on a range of creative solutions such as:

  • Mergers, federations, group structures and internal re-organisation
  • Good governance
  • Working with academy trusts and UTCs
  • Shared services and better procurement
  • Estate strategy (including commercialising your estate and advising on development opportunities)
  • Collaborations with businesses and other partners
  • Increasing access to higher education (including advice on validation agreements)
  • International collaborations
  • Institutes of Technology
  • Commercial innovation – income streams and re- working the way to do things
  • Commercial contracts and risk management (including managing disputes)
  • HR consultancy
  • Employment advice – including strategy to maximise performance and better recruitment
  • Immigration issues
  • Student contracts and pastoral issues
  • Sixth form college conversion – standalone or joining a multi-academy trust
  • Apprenticeships
  • Social enterprise
  • Banking, finance and re-finance
  • Insolvency regime
  • Acquisitions and Disposals
  • Construction
  • Social finance
Our recent experience
Institute of technology

We are advising a further education college on its bid to set up one of the country’s first institutes of technology. We are advising on the legal structure, risk management and delivery models including validation arrangements with a number of universities.

Shared services

We are advising a number of colleges on shared service vehicles as a means of cutting costs and improving efficiency. Recent advice has included setting up a shared service vehicle between a multi-academy trust and a further education college. This has included advice on governance, social enterprise, public procurement, property, frameworks, pensions, confidentiality and data issues.


We have recently advised on the merger (and academy conversion) of two sixth form colleges. We advised on due diligence and the statutory process to convert, including commercial banking arrangements and loan arrangements with the ESFA.


We have recently advised on the disposal of two adjoining sites from a Further Education College involving deferred payments to be secured by a legal charge given by a foreign company. The deal also involved conditional contracts involving planning, overage and uplift for a C2 planning permission.

We have also acted on the purchase of a multi-million pound acquisition of a property for a Further Education College involving LEP funding.

Sixth form college toolkit

We have developed a toolkit to help sixth form colleges decide whether they should ‘stay as they are’ or academise. It explores a range of options open to sixth form colleges – from setting up as standalone, to joining an established MAT to hard federations and contractual collaborations, to mergers in the FE sector.

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    Recent testimonials

    "They are excellent, the personalised service is superb as they understand our circumstances and advise appropriately."

    Client feedback in Chambers - 2016

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    Recent testimonials

    Stone King is "probably the best education firm in the business," and "they lived up to the recommendations we received". Another source adds: "They've got undoubted expertise and good geographical coverage - a leading player."

    Chambers - 2014

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    Recent testimonials

    “I feel fellow school leaders need to be made aware that there is an absolutely brilliant company out there who will provide those key services at very competitive rates”

    C A Wakefield - Maldon's Community Academy

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    Recent testimonials

    "Highlighted for its 'depth of expertise in education', Stone King LLP attracts praise for its 'extremely good response times' and 'outstanding level of service'."

    Legal 500 - 2019

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    Recent testimonials

    "First and foremost they are excellent lawyers - they know the charity and education sectors really well."

    Chambers - 2019

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