Gerald Eve (@GeraldEveLLP) is pleased to have advised on the recent sale of The Kindergartens portfolio of nursery schools to Dukes Education (@DukesEducation).

The Kindergartens was founded by Carol Evelegh and her late husband, Philip over 30 years ago.  The Kindergartens began with 6 pupils and has grown to approximately 500 pupils across 10 sites in locations including Kensington, Fulham, Wandsworth, Clapham, Battersea and Notting Hill.

The nursery schools have a fantastic reputation for delivering a top-quality education to children and advancing them into London’s very best prep schools. The schools have also featured twice in Tatler’s top 10 nursery schools in the UK. 

The sale generated strong competing interest, as it represented a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to acquire a group in such affluent London locations, with all schools being rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted (an extremely rare feat for a group of 10 nursery schools).

VWV and Gerald Eve have advised on many of the major educational transactions over the past few years, with market-leading educational specialists.

Following an introduction from VWV, Gerald Eve conducted a discreet marketing campaign, targeting only a very select number of parties. The Portfolio appealed to nursery and school operators and also well-backed emerging entrants, as it offered both immediate scale and profitability from day one.

Dukes Education is the largest independent schools group in London having been founded by Aatif Hassan in 2015. Eaton House and Northwood Schools have also recently joined Dukes, giving them a strong foothold in South West London.

Aatif Hassan, Chairman of Dukes Education said 

“I am delighted The Kindergartens, a group of nurseries I have long admired, is joining the Dukes family. I believe their knowledge of, and commitment to, early-years education to be exemplary. In addition, many of our existing Dukes schools and nurseries already have strong relationships with the Kindergarten nurseries. The Kindergartens will make a fantastic addition to the Dukes family and together we can continue our mission to set the gold standard for early-years education, in London and further afield.”

Carol Evelegh commented: 

“After 44 years of teaching in the state and independent sectors, in prep schools and in nursery schools, the time was right for a new challenge and so I took the decision to sell The Kindergartens.  

It was always going to be difficult for me to ‘let go’ of a business Philip started and then we as a family had run. The Kindergartens has been a huge part of our lives and more than just a business to us – it was like an extended family.

I want to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey, especially all the children and parents I have had the pleasure to know. I would also particularly like to thank the outstanding staff for their commitment over the last 30-plus years.

Dukes Education has great leadership; I have no doubt that the nursery schools are in excellent hands and that The Kindergartens’ exceptional standards will be maintained.”

Morgan Allen, Partner at Gerald Eve said:

“I could not be more pleased for Carol with this outcome, which will ensure her husband’s legacy will continue to flourish and grow under new ownership.

The sell-side deal team, which included Rob Collier and Simon Linnitt from VWV and Helen Cain from Mercer & Hole, worked tirelessly alongside Gerald Eve to ensure a smooth transition of the Company to its new owner.”

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