Witherslack is a UK-headquartered business that owns and operates Special Educational Needs Schools and associated Children’s Homes catering for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Witherslack educates and cares for some of the highest acuity children in the UK and has been consistently ranked as being one of the best quality providers by Ofsted, the sector’s overseeing regulatory body. Fees are Government-funded and predominantly come from the Higher Needs education block.
At the time of acquisition, Witherslack was still predominantly based in the North West of England and saw an opportunity to expand across England using its ‘hub and spoke’ strategy of schools and supporting Children’s homes. The business was also keen to further develop its innovative Integrated Learning Centre model for young people with the most acute support needs.
Charme and management executed a highly successful fully organic roll out to the rest of England centred on:
- Maintaining best-in-class quality ratings – Witherslack has grown the number of sites whilst keeping its best-in-class ratings with Ofsted
- Investment in central function – Charme invested in central operational functions, including Clinical / Therapeutic, Quality Assurance, HR, and Property functions. This allows Witherslack to provide high levels of bespoke and targeted support to young people and to hire, train and retain the best teachers / carers when opening new sites
- Building a property pipeline – potential sites found, assessed and chosen based on proprietary database and KPIs which allowed the level of need to be mapped by postcode
After 4 years of ownership and a successful expansion into the Midlands, the South West and the Greater London Area, Charme sold its majority position to Mubadala and reinvested alongside as a minority investor.