Acorn Care and Education

Education and care for vulnerable children
Date Invested
March 2005

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.

Our partnership

Phoenix invested in the company alongside Acorn’s chairman Kevin McNeany. During our 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.

Together, we focused on high quality education and care. Strong organic growth was achieved and, with our support, 14 acquisitions were completed. In January 2010, the business was sold to Teachers’ Private Capital, generating a return of approximately 4x investment cost.

"Phoenix’s 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, CEO of Acorn Care and Education