Sovereign-backed Summit Group adds Dubai-based Sanctuary Read more

  • Status: Realised
  • Date: 2008–2013
  • Sectors:
    • Education & Training
    • Business & Technology Services
  • Location: UK
  • Buy & Build: 2

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World Class Learning Group

WCL is a renowned UK-based international schools group. During the five years of Sovereign's partnership, through significant investment and expansion, WCL become the eighth largest international schools group in the world.

Investment Background

WCL had grown quickly since opening its first school in Washington DC, US in 1998. In 2001 Sovereign met with the founders to explore the possibility of investment, but both agreed it was too early. WCL continued to expand opening new schools in the US and the Middle East.

By 2008 the owners were ready to move forward. The Group was experiencing strong demand for places at its schools and needed to expand. Sovereign structured a deal that enabled the shareholders to realise the value they had created in the business, while securing the long-term future of the Group. At investment, Sovereign committed significant further capital to support the growth of the business.

Value Creation

  • £20m investment programme undertaken in infrastucture
  • 3 additional schools added and 2 new campuses established
  • 165% increase in student numbers
  • Increased the sales team and improved processes, resulting in a much higher uptake of its learning products and services

The WCL Growth Story

With Sovereign’s financial and strategic backing, WCL:

  • opened new schools in North America, including one in a prime Manhattan location
  • opened a new school in Al Khor enrolling over 270 pupils at opening
  • established a presence in Europe for the first time through the acquisition of ICS Madrid
  • expanded capacity at its existing schools by extending campuses and building new ones
  • established an educational products and services division, which developed and supplied curricula to other schools

Alongside successfully opening new schools, we were delighted that during our investment WCL's curricula gained international recognition, with its International Primary Curriculum (IPC) winning the Dutch Innovation Prize in 2009.

By the end of our partnership the IPC had become the most widely used independent curriculum in the world, being used in around 1,500 schools across 80 countries, compared to around 400 schools in 44 countries at the outset.

At exit WCL was the eighth largest international schools group in the world.

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In their own words

It was refreshing to work with a supportive investor that had a long-term approach, understood the value of quality in education and shared our commitment to great schools and great learning.

Martin Skelton / Director