On 1st September 2012 a new federation of educational institutions in Norfolk – Transforming Education in Norfolk, or TEN Group for short - was established.

TEN Group is a federation of like-minded institutions, all committed to excellence in education, working together to make a positive and significant difference to the lives of students in Norfolk.

The Group is made up of City College Norwich, City Academy Norwich, Wayland Academy Norfolk, University Technical College Norfolk and Fakenham High School and College (to become Fakenham Academy Norfolk as of September 1st 2013). Attleborough High School is currently consulting on proposals to convert to academy status and join the group.

All of the members sit underneath Transforming Education in Norfolk, the parent body which has been established as an education charity, and have begun sharing non-teaching services (everything from finance and HR to facilities management and marketing) through a new organisation: Norfolk Educational Services. 

A commercial arm, Norfolk Commercial Services, gives the group scope for income generating activity through, for example, consultancy and commercialisation of projects developed within the TEN Group.

The process started with a successful application to the Association of Colleges (AoC) and 157 Group Efficiency and Innovation Fund, securing around £900k of initial support for the project, to create a federation of locally based schools and a college with a new shared services vehicle as its centre. Mills & Reeve were appointed as legal advisors from day one and were instrumental in both establishing the legal framework of the group (e.g. the nature of the new educational charity and its relationships with the member institutions).

Mills & Reeve also played a key role in liaising between the college and academies and the relevant government departments (the Department for Education and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills), as they worked to amend the Instruments and Articles of Governance of the college and the Articles of Association of the academies.

Having access to able, flexible and expert legal advice has been one of the core component parts of the project’s success.  It took just 15 months to develop the project to its eventual fruition, the live launch of Transforming Education in Norfolk (the TEN Group) on September 1st 2012 - four months earlier than the intended start date of January 2013.