This company owns 52 private schools across Britain, the Continent and Southeast Asia, educating more than 15,000 pupils each year. In 2004 Englefield Capital backed a team led by chairman Chris Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools, to acquire 18 Asquith schools from Lyceum. Cognita is still on the acquisitions trail, most recently paying £29m for three international schools in Thailand. Chief executive Rees Withers saw sales at the Milton Keynes company increase 25% to £138.6m in 2009.

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Company details
Year2010
Rank250
CompanyCognita
ActivitySchools operator
LocationMilton Keynes
Sales £m138.6
Operating profit £m8.2
Main shareholdersBregal Capital (81%), management (19%)
Staff2,937
Founded2004
Websitewww.cognitaschools.com

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda