South Wales-based Orbis Education & Care (Orbis) has formally parted ways with partner company, Ludlow Street Healthcare, in a demerger which sees founder Andrew McCarthy retake the helm.
The specialist provider of residential home and day school services for young people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) was established 2004.
It opened its first residential school, Tŷ Bronllys in Brecon, in 2006, followed by a second, Tŷ Coryton, in Cardiff in 2008. Mr McCarthy successfully grew the company during this period, attaining a category win in the Wales Fast Growth 50.
Orbis is dedicated to supporting, educating and enhancing the lives of children and young people with autism and is now the largest independent schools group in Wales for children with special educational needs.
With an additional £8 million of funding support from Santander Corporate & Commercial, Mr McCarthy is planning to grow the newly demerged Orbis, both in terms of available places for pupils and the number of staff employed.
He said: “The strategic move to demerge will allow Orbis to focus on what it does best, which is providing the very best 52 week residential and day care, full time education and support – including respite – for families touched by Autism Spectrum Condition in Wales.
“Every child with autism should have local access to a specialist school that best supports their needs but, at the moment, some parents in Wales are having to travel over 150 miles in order for their child to attend an appropriate specialist school. Long journeys impact on anxiety and fatigue levels for children with autism so it is extremely important that children are placed closer to home.
“Now that I’m back in the driving seat at Orbis, with an experienced and dynamic management team, our short term plan is to create a new training platform that will further enhance staff skills in order to help us support our young people to progress through their individual journeys. Longer term, we hope to increase our residential care and schools offering across Wales, which will significantly increase our existing staff team of 200.”
David Griffiths, Relationship Director at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Andrew is a well-known South Wales business man and a key part of the demerger is to enable him to increase his involvement with the business once again. Orbis is providing an invaluable service to young people with autism and we are delighted to support Andrew and his team in their future ambitions.”
In 2013, Andrew McCarthy’s mainstream schools group, Heathfield Independent Schools, acquired Kings Monkton School in Cardiff. Since taking over 12 months ago, the company has doubled pupil intake and the school is achieving impressive results at the end of Key Stage 1,2 and 3 as it continues on its mission of becoming one of the most successful independent schools in Wales.