Education law

Disputes with independent and state-funded schools

Eight school children running towards a school building. Disputes with independent and state funded schools

Introduction and overview

As a result of our advice and support children receive the education they need. Parents are also empowered to find a mutually agreeable way forward that enables their child to thrive or to hold a school acting unlawfully to account.

Parents take great care to seek out the very best education for their child. You may invest heavily in your child’s school and have a legitimate expectation that it will safeguard them from harm whilst supporting their achievements. When your child is failing to thrive, a safeguarding issue is mishandled or necessary support and adjustments are not in place, parents and the school often see the situation quite differently and disputes may arise.

Key to successful dispute resolution is understanding the school’s obligations and the available solutions to achieve your objectives. Our expert education solicitors advise on the full range of education law issues arising in all types of schools, bringing technical excellence,  solution focused pragmatic advice and ‘equality of arms’ to robust representation where needed.

How our education law solicitors can help you

Key services offered

Being engaged in a dispute with a large organisation such as your child’s school can be an extremely stressful and anxious time.

We can help you with:

  • protection from bullying
  • child protection safeguarding referrals
  • risk assessment
  • meetings and other communication with school
  • formal written complaints to school
  • complaint appeal hearings
  • formal complaints to regulators such as Department for Education (DofE) /Educational Funding Agency (EFA), Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), Information Commisioner’s Office (ICO), Ofsted
  • removal of a pupil from school register
  • notice periods and school fees
  • subject access request and Data Rectification
  • school refusal
  • support for mental health distress
  • SEND Support
  • reasonable adjustments including exam arrangements
  • exam malpractice
  • Disability Discrimination including unfavourable treatment such as excessive sanctioning
  • failure to exercise reasonable skill and care, negligence and breach of contract


Why choose Russell-Cooke for disputes with independent and state-funded schools?

About our educational law team

Our highly specialist education lawyers have a proven track record of successfully resolving disputes with all types of schools, in particular well-resourced leading independent schools often backed by a team of lawyers.  We give pragmatic and commercially astute advice regarding school complaints and legal challenges.

We understand the sensitivities of these cases and that sometimes it may be best for your child to stay in their current school. In this case, issues need to be handled carefully and a negotiated settlement may be the right result. For other families, if the relationship with the school has broken down completely then the school’s behaviour may need to be held to account with robust action.  

Testimonials and legal directory quotes

Our experts are all ranked in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 legal directories. Here are some comments made about us.

"She [Lenka] provides strong and clear advice, is familiar with all the relevant facts of the case and is solution-focused."
Chambers 2024

"Victoria is exceptional. She has very good knowledge of the law and has an excellent manner."
Chambers 2024

"Erin delivers a praiseworthy service with a high degree of professionalism."
Chambers 2024


Eva is an exceptional lawyer. Her expertise and professionalism are phenomenal. Her forward-thinking approach is incredible. She leaves no stone unturned and is prepared for every eventuality. She has incredible knowledge, talents and skills. Yet, despite all of this, the thing that blows us away the most is her genuine care, empathy and compassion for her clients. We really do believe that Eva does what she does because she wants the best for her clients.
Russell-Cooke client comment extracted from chambers unpublished 2023

Charging information

We offer a fixed fee for an initial consultation where we discuss your case and detailed advice on the best approach to achieve the results you want is provided. Detailed information about future costs is then supplied. Ongoing charges are usually based on our hourly rates plus administrative charges and disbursements. Regular updates on costs are provided as your case progresses.

The current range of hourly rates for members of the team is from £180 plus VAT to £400 plus VAT per hour.

We do not advise on a legal aid or ‘no win no fee’ basis.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our education law solicitors on +44 (0)20 3826 7528 or complete our enquiry form.

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