Acorn Care and Education
Acorn is one of the premier providers of education and care for vulnerable children and young people in the UK. Acorn operates schools for children with Special Educational Needs and an Independent Fostering Agency under the Fostering Solutions brand, which recruits, trains and supports foster carers. Phoenix invested in the company in March 2005, alongside Acorn’s chairman Kevin McNeany.
During the investment period, Acorn grew from two to eleven schools and developed one of the UK’s leading independent fostering networks. It expanded to educate more than 550 pupils and to look after around 1,000 children in foster care placements. A new leadership team was recruited; Steve Page was appointed as CEO and David Johnson became MD of Fostering Solutions. Through a focus on high quality education and care, Acorn achieved strong organic growth and completed 14 acquisitions with Phoenix’s support. In January 2010, the business was sold to Teachers’ Private Capital. A return of approximately 4x Phoenix’s invested capital was generated.
"Whilst Phoenix were the majority shareholders their approach to the direction of the business was one of partnership with management and the wider team. All voices were heard around the Board table and they helped create an atmosphere where information was valued because it was well researched."
Steve Page, Chief Executive Acorn Care and Education 2005-2013