Academy Conversion

Swinburne Maddison is top of the class with academy conversions


Work in the education sector continues to roll in for one of the region’s fastest growing law firms with a new appointment and the completion of its latest academy conversion.

Swinburne Maddison LLP (Swinburne Maddison), has now racked up its twentieth academy conversion on behalf of the growing Enquire Learning Trust, with a further six in the pipeline.

The law firm has been working on behalf of the trust for the past two and a half years, which began with the Trust’s first academy conversion at Hardwick Green Primary Academy, Stockton.  Since then the trust has turned to Swinburne Maddison for a further 19 conversions on primary schools in Lincolnshire, Greater Manchester, The Tees Valley and the Humber Bank.  The most recent conversion has been at Moorside Primary in Tameside, Manchester.

Headed up by partner Alex Wilby, Swinburne Maddison advised on all aspects of the transition from local authority control to that of The Enquire Learning Trust.  During this process the law firm has advised on matters related to the transfer of assets, employment law, the granting of a lease as well as ensuring that all funding arrangements met with the parameters set out by the Secretary of State for Education.

The number of conversions completed makes Swinburne Maddison one of the most active firms in the region operating in the education section.   Speaking about its work for The Enquire Learning Trust, Mr Wilby said:

“I am delighted that another primary school has now achieved sponsorship by The Enquire Learning Trust.  Each conversion comes with its own challenges, as all schools and local authorities operate on a different basis.  Thanks to our level of experience in the sector, combined with the depth of our in-house resource, we are able to provide a top quality service to our client.  We look forward to working further with The Enquire Learning Trust and support it as it continues to grow and make a difference to the education of school children in the north of England."

The Enquire Learning Trust, which was established by executive director, Darren Holmes and Ronnie Woods, both from the North East, is currently responsible for the education of some 6,000 children and employs in the region of 1060 staff.  It operates on a cluster basis, working with schools that are rated outstanding by Ofsted as well as those previously judged to be inadequate.  The Trust provides oversight, challenge and support to all schools and creates a culture and structure through which academies are able to work together for collective benefit. This is enabling schools to improve their provision for pupils and secure stronger outcomes including improved results in Key Stage 2 tests.

Speaking about the Trust’s continued growth, executive director Darren Holmes said:

“We are delighted to complete the conversion of Moorside Primary.  Working with the school has allowed us to extend our reach in the North West and we are very much looking forward to engaging with the staff and learners at the school and help them to build upon their existing strengths and distinctive ethos.   Alex and the Swinburne Maddison team played a key role throughout the conversion process, and they continue to provide us with high quality support and guidance once the conversion is complete. This enables all those within the Trust to focus on delivering high quality education to our 6,000 students.”

“We anticipate adding a further six schools within The Enquire Learning Trust MAT in the Spring.”

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