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Farrer & Co | Mary Breen, Schools Adviser

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Practice areas

  • Employment
  • Reputation Management
  • Safeguarding

In the new role of Schools Adviser, Mary provides support and guidance to schools, working alongside our team of education and safeguarding lawyers. She gives practical, school-focused advice, assisting heads, senior staff and governors. She brings a unique insight into this role, based on her experience of headship at St Mary’s Ascot over the past twenty years.

Prior to St Mary’s Ascot, Mary was Head of Physics at Eton College and has taught at Wellington College and the Abbey School Reading. She has served as a Governor at six schools, and is a Member of the Charters School Board. She has been a member of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) Inspections Committee and Boarding Committee, the Committee of the Catholic Independent Schools Conference (CISC) and the National Committee of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC).

Mary has delivered sessions on strategic planning, development campaigns, sustaining leadership and preparing for headship at GSA, HMC and CISC new heads and national conferences and has spoken at the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) national conference.

Mary’s contribution enables us to develop and enhance our services to our school clients in a way which adds strategic value and contextual experience to our core legal services. In addition to working alongside our lawyers on sensitive school matters, Mary is available to:

  • advise schools on the structuring/restructuring of management teams and whole staff bodies, advise on the restructuring of staff salary scales, including consultation around pensions;
  • assist in reviews of, and providing advice to, schools in respect of their Development and/or Marketing Offices;
  • review and advise on school governance;
  • utilise her experience as Head and a schools inspector to help clients achieve full compliance;
  • advise Heads on parental complaints and pupil discipline;
  • carry out serious case reviews especially those involving safeguarding and peer-on-peer abuse;
  • provide training and/or mentoring to new heads, senior management teams, development offices, heads of academic departments, whole staff and governing bodies.

Mary’s experience serves to complement and augment what we always seek to achieve for our clients: the delivery of trusted, focused and practical advice from a position of authentic understanding.

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