Bates Wells Braithwaite’s ‘strong’ team provides ‘excellent’ overall service. It remains prominent in the free school sector. 

BWB’s Education group worked with two of the first 24 free schools which opened in September 2011, four free schools which opened in 2012 and a number of others for 2013, including alternative provision free schools.

Each free school project has its own set of challenges: each group of proposers is so different. Each project, even where model documentation is involved, is unique to us and BWB is very experienced in responding and adapting to new legal developments and unique specifications rather than repetitive, formulaic work.

Setting up a free school?

BWB provides a fixed fee offer to register your company  

Before you submit your application to open a free school, you’ll need to register a company with Companies House. BWB are providing a special fixed fee offer to set up and register the company for you.

We offer two packages depending on the level of bespoke advice you require:

Basic £750 (excl VAT)

  • You complete and return our form with the information we need
  • We register the new company
  • We complete and send you the company registers 

Assisted £1,500 (excl VAT)

  • You complete and return our form with the information we need
  • We provide email and/or telephone guidance on the Articles of Association and governance
  • We register the new company
  • We complete and send you the company registers

If you are interested in receiving this or other services available, please fill out and return the form below to Mary Groom on or 020 7551 7760.

Setting up your company information form

 Services for Free Schools and Academies

Governance: the DfE model articles of association will need to be adopted by the company if they have not already been adopted; advice on populating the governing body; assistance and advice with company administration as necessary. Free Schools are academies and exempt charities; a sector in which we are specialists.

Funding agreement with the DfE: we will provide guidance on the DfE model funding agreement and assist in negotiating with the DfE as needed.

Consultation: we can advise on the requirements of public consultations and decision making, including the obligation to have due regard to public sector equality duties.

Real estate agreement: a transfer of freehold or a lease of land and buildings will be needed. Whilst Partnership for Schools will provide the legal work for real estate transactions, we can provide support where there are conflicts of interest or just a light touch second opinion. We can advise on all aspects of the acquisition and refurbishment of real estate.

Employment contracts: standard employment contracts for teaching and non teaching staff will be needed together with the usual employment Policies.

Contracts: we can advise on the whole range of contracts needed for the running of a school from leasing agreements for photocopiers, for example, through ICT software licences to specialised consultancy contracts for specific educational services.

Intellectual property: as an educational institution the FreeSchool will be both using and creating intellectual property. We can advise on all aspects of this – from website agreements to social networking sites through to publishing contracts.

Regulatory law: we can advise on all aspects of running a school. We can provide guidance on the independent school regulations, on data protection, health and safety, child protection, freedom of information, admissions, special educational needs, safeguarding etc.

Public procurement: this is relevant for the initial start-up phase but understanding and being able to apply the rules sensibly and proportionately on an ongoing basis is important.


Read our free school governance FAQs

BWB Education Forum

The Education team organises and hosts round table lunches for the BWB Education Forum to discuss matters of interest in relation to academies and free schools. BWB encourages clients to participate in the round table discussions. See BWB Education Forum Summary Notes of all these round tables to date.