Albion invests £9.5 million in Radnor House School to fund acquisition of Combe Bank School

Albion announces that it is increasing its exposure to the independent education sector by investing up to £9.5 million in Radnor House School (“RHS”) to fund the acquisition of Combe Bank School (“Combe Bank”), a co-educational independent school for students aged three to 18, located near Sevenoaks, Kent. 

In 2010 Albion invested £8.7 million in Radnor House School, a new co-educational independent day school for students aged 7- 18 in Twickenham, South West London. Since then the school has performed exceptionally well and has established an excellent reputation. Since opening its pupil intake has increased to 360 currently and this is predicted to rise to a near capacity 420 by September 2015. 

In Combe Bank, Albion and the RHS management team have identified a unique opportunity to expand the Radnor House model by enhancing the school’s culture of academic achievement and first-rate pastoral care, as well as making the necessary investment to provide new facilities and modernise existing ones where necessary. 

The development of Combe Bank will be driven by the experienced RHS management team, led by David Paton, Headmaster and founder of Radnor House, working closely with the existing Head of Combe Bank, Julie Hicks. In addition to his achievements at RHS, David Paton has a proven track record at other schools having held senior positions at Dulwich College and the Harrodian School in Barnes. He will be supported by an experienced Board of Directors chaired by Dr Colin Diggory. Dr Diggory is a former Headmaster of Alleyn’s School in Dulwich and Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. Other members of the Board include Dr Yvonne Burne OBE, whose long career in education includes Headship positions at St Helen’s, Northwood and The City of London School for Girls. 

Combe Bank is located three miles west of Sevenoaks, just south of the M25, in the village of Sundridge. The site is freehold and measures approx. 29.4 acres, with a rich history going back to Roman times. The main building is a Grade I listed house designed by the architect Roger Morris for Col. John Campbell and modelled on the Argyll family seat of Inverary. In the early 19th century, Combe Bank was the home of Henry, later Cardinal, Manning and subsequently of William Spottiswoode, Printer to King Edward VII. Oscar Wilde, Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday were some of the many famous visitors to Combe Bank. The Mond family were the last to use the house as their home, prior to the estate becoming an independent girls’ school in the 1920’s. The school became co-educational in September 2014 and currently has 235 pupils split between a nursery, preparatory and secondary schools. 

Emil Gigov, Partner at Albion said: “Radnor House has been a tremendous success story and, together with the management team, we have been looking for some time for opportunities to add further schools to the Radnor House Group. We are delighted to have Combe Bank as the second school in what will eventually become a high quality independent schools group. With new investment, strong leadership and an unswerving commitment to academic excellence, Combe Bank has the right ingredients to become a highly successful school and a valuable addition to our investment portfolio.” 

David Paton MA, Executive Principal, Radnor House, said: “It has long been our desire to build on the strengths and achievements of Radnor House by developing a small group of schools. Having looked at several opportunities over the years, we believe we have found an excellent partner in Combe Bank. Most importantly, we share many of the same academic and pastoral values and ambitions. We are excited about the possibilities to help Combe Bank share our commitment to academic excellence and to realise its full potential.”