Understanding the education sector

February 3, 2020

With national coverage across eight offices, Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) delivers a comprehensive range of services to the education sector and is a nationally recognised expert in the field. With its largest office in Newcastle, the firm provides advice and support to clients right across the sector advising universities, FE colleges, independent schools and academies. The firm is also one of only a small number of legal firms that provide legal support to the Department of Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Partner and head of its Newcastle office Kevin Robertson leads the firm’s education team and is ranked as Tier 1 by the Legal 500. Highlighted as ‘professional and principled’ and a named ‘Leading Individual’ by the directory, here he explores the impact of the recent election outcome on the education sector

In recent years, WBD’s education team has seen continued growth, and we expect this trend to continue in 2020 and beyond, with the new Conservative Government promising in its 2019 election manifesto to increase the level of investment in the education sector as a whole.

In addition to the continuation of the academies and free schools programme, the Government has pledged to invest £14 billion in schools. As anybody who is involved in our region’s schools knows, this funding is much needed.

We know the region’s primary schools compare very favourably on a national basis, but we also know that we still have challenges to meet as a region in some of our secondary schools.

Teachers have been promised an increase in starting salaries to encourage more people into the profession. With what should be a stable and functioning majority in Parliament, the Government has the ability to act on these funding promises.

As for the further education sector, a benefit that providers should see in the coming years is more Government investment in technical education. An extra £400 million is promised for 16 to 19-year-olds in 2020-21, as well as the creation of eight new Institutes of Technology to give people the skills they need for key sectors such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering – all of which are of particular focus and growing importance for the North East.

In terms of the higher education sector, the UK remains a global leader, generating over £30 billion annually for the UK’s economy. Indeed, in the North East we are both fortunate and proud to have five strong universities which contribute significantly to our region’s economy and communities. It is therefore vital for our region’s success that the Government ensures that our world-leading universities have the right environment to grow and compete on the global stage.

Womble Bond Dickinson

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