Investing in tomorrow: How debt financing can fuel growth in the UK’s education sector

Nurseries and schools are the heartbeat of UK communities, shaping the futures of generations to come. Yet, behind the scenes, owners and operators face a range of financial hurdles particularly surrounding financial stability, sustainability and growth. 

From nurseries to Special Education Needs (SEN) schools, unfortunately, financial challenges like accessing capital for growth are an unavoidable part of the journey for these vital businesses. 

Since our journey began in 2015, we’ve had the privilege of supporting numerous childcare and educational institutions, witnessing their determination and achievements firsthand. 

Take Storal, for instance. Founded by childhood friends Varun Chanrai and Ashwin Grover in 2016, they’ve grown to operate 26 nurseries and two out-of-school clubs, touching the lives of over 2,000 children. Their secret to success? A bespoke curriculum fostering curiosity and confidence in learners. To fuel their growth further, they needed a financial boost back in 2023. In partnership with Graphite Capital, we provided Storal the capital they needed to expand their footprint across the UK. 

Then there’s Phoenix Learning and Care Group, who is answering the call for specialist education and care. With a passionate team at the helm, they’re meeting the rising demand for specialist education head-on. In 2022, they secured a £20m loan from us to support their acquisition of new sites, paving the way for brighter futures. 

Let’s not forget Melrose Education, on a mission to redefine special educational needs provision. With Innovation Capital Partners by their side, they’re not just dreaming big – they’re making it happen. By embracing a strategic financial partnership with us, the business has been able to drive their acquisition programme of leading SEN schools forward throughout all regions of England. 

These examples from our customers demonstrate the importance of having a strategic growth plan in place. And, if debt finance is your chosen route, it is critical to partner with an experienced lender who understands your business and the sector.  

At OakNorth, our appetite for lending to childcare and education institutions remains strong. Our experts have an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the sector and are passionate about partnering with education providers and investors to deliver exceptional learning for generations to come. 

You can read more about our business loans, built specifically for the education sector here. Or, get in touch with our team to discuss your funding needs via [email protected] 

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