Children’s Care and Special Education Services. 2nd Edition


The second edition of LaingBuisson’s extensive study of the children’s care and specialist education market – an environment worth close to £10 million. Published 24 May 2016. (256pp)

SKU: SpED2 Category:

Product Description


PDF iconReport Brochure

Report Contents & Figures


The government faces a clear challenge … local authorities will have to prioritise long-term stability, or permanence, for children in care, though it must be in the child’s best interests.

Philip Blackburn – Consultant and report author

Children’s care and special education services are a substantial sector of the economy, with spending across the UK worth close to £10 billion. Provided by local authorities and independent sector (private and voluntary) operators, this report presents the latest market data and analysis on these services, providing a definitive independent commentary on this important, and sometimes controversial area. It focuses on services where the independent sector has a core business interest – children’s residential care homes, foster care, and special schools and colleges – but also assesses other children’s services where voluntary organisations have a presence – adoption, leaving care, and care protection.

Government policy in specialist care and education of children is ever changing, and there has been a raft of new developments in recent times (including the Children and Families Act 2014) which have been brought in to improve the quality of outcomes for children in care and to support children and young people with high needs in their education and training. The current Conservative government’s strategy is to firmly turnaround children’s services which are performing poorly, push for wider innovation of delivery systems and practices to help raise the performance bar, and harmonise the care, education and health entitlements of children with special needs. At the same time, however, it is likely that budgets for children’s services and special education will remain within a tight envelope going forward within this Parliament, as providers of services are challenged to do more with the same, or do more with less. LaingBuisson’s new report examines the direction of latest policy developments, and particularly the implications for businesses operating within this environment.

This updated edition delivers comprehensive data analysis on the demand for children’s care, and need for special education in schools and colleges. It includes spending trends by sector, based on public data which includes the latest 2014/15 actual local authority spending statistics for England. Where possible, LaingBuisson produces calendar year UK estimates for 2015, and a projection for 2016.

A strong focus of this revised edition is on the independent sector market structure, and included are: detailed profiles of all major providers and providers of interest with the children’s care and special education space; ranking tables for providers of children’s homes, fostering and special education; profitability analysis of the largest private operators; analysis of balance sheet strength for major providers; consolidation trends and list of significant acquisitions in the last 12-18 months; profile of private equity concentration in the sector including current investments, and a list of key private equity deals in recent years.

This report is essential reading for anyone working within children’s care and special education – from providers to public sector commissioners, regulators, policy makers, investors and professionals within the advisory community.


Latest Data + Authoritative LaingBuisson Commentary & Analysis On

  • Children’s homes
  • Foster care
  • Adoption
  • Leaving care & other services
  • Special education


What You Get

  • Hard copy printed report
  • Single-user digital back up PDF
  • Accompanying Microsoft Excel file
  • (NB: company-wide digital licenses are available upon request, call for details)


Report Format

Executive Summary & Highlights

  • Overall value of children’s care and special education services
  • Key trends and developments
  • Opportunities and challenges going forward

Overview of Children in Care

  • Demand trends over time
  • Indicators of outcomes over time
  • Government policy and challenges

Foster Care

  • Demand and supply trends
  • Spending and fee trends
  • Policy development and key issues going forward

Children’s Homes

  • Demand and supply trends
  • Spending and fee trends
  • Policy development and key issues going forward


  • Demand and supply trends
  • Spending and fee trends
  • Policy development and key issues going forward

Other Children’s Services

  • Leaving care support: demand, spending and policy issues
  • Social work, commissioning and strategy: spending and policy issues
  • Other children’s services: spending and policy issues

Quality & Regulation of Children’s Care Services

  • Regulation overview and new inspection of children’s homes
  • Trends in Ofsted quality ratings for children’s care
  • Trends in quality ratings for local authority children’s services and government impact

Special Education

  • Demand including sector and regional analysis
  • Funding trends and?special school fees
  • Supply in independent special schools and colleges, including regional analysis
  • Quality and?regulation of independent sector services

Independent Sector Market Structure

  • Types of providers in children’s care and special education
  • Market rankings for children’s homes, fostering and special education
  • Revenues, profitability, and balance sheet strength of major providers
  • Growth and consolidation trends
  • Private equity concentration and equity acquisitions
  • Detailed review of all major providers and providers of interest

Financial Appendix

  • Detailed analysis of the statutory accounts of major providers with comparative data for up to five years