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Ward Hadaway’s Education team completes its 10th academy conversion for Co-operative Academies Trust

Leading commercial law firm Ward Hadaway has completed its 10th academy conversion for Co-operative Academies Trust over the past 12 months.

Katy Milner of Ward Hadaway’s Education team with Martin Sweeney, Head of Acquisitions and Growth, on behalf of the Co-operative Academies Trust

The Trust, which  supports schools in some of the  most economically challenged area across northern England, is in the midst of a major expansion programme that will see it grow from the current 20 academies to 40 by 2022.

The transactions during the Trust’s rapid expansion, include schools that have converted to become academies, and existing academies that were transferred from one Trust to another, were handled by Ward Hadaway’s 24-strong Education team led by Tim Care, across the firm’s Commercial, Employment and Property departments.

Together the team negotiated on all of the legal documentation for each of the academies, which also included advising on funding arrangements, employment and property and land issues.

Tim Care, a Partner in the Education team at Ward Hadaway, said: “We have now worked on 50 academy transactions nationwide over the past 12 months and are delighted to have been able to use our existing knowledge and skills in the sector to help the staff and governors of this latest conversion for Connell Sixth Form College in East Manchester.

“We pride ourselves on having worked for organisations across the country, in such places as Staffordshire, the Wirral, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East.

“Each transaction comes with its own challenges and opportunities and we have therefore worked closely with all parties involved to ensure each project was delivered on time. We wish all of the schools and academies that we have supported and those we continue to support all the best for the future.”

Speaking about the team’s continued growth, Tim said: “We anticipate completing on another 50 schools over the course of the next 12 months, and a number of our academy trust clients have ambitious expansion plans, so we expect to be busy throughout the year.”

Property lead, Associate Katy Milner, added: “We are delighted to have played our part in the successful and ongoing growth of the Co-operative Academies Trust and the recent transfer of Connell Co-op College to the Trust is an exciting opportunity for the Trust and students.”

Martin Sweeney, Head of Acquisitions and Growth, on behalf of the Co-operative Academies Trust, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Tim and the team at Ward Hadaway on this latest transaction for Connell Sixth Form College in East Manchester. Connell Co-op College, as it will now be known, will enable students to start courses that include one-day paid work experience with the Co-op. This is an exciting opportunity for our Trust.”

For more information about how Ward Hadaway’s Education team can help your school become an academy, please call Tim Care on 0330 137 3458 or visit

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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