Doomed Virgo Fidelis School will revive as two single-gender Catholic private schools thanks to mystery benefactor

Doomed Virgo Fidelis School will revive as two single-gender Catholic private schools thanks to mystery benefactor

A school doomed to close because of financial problems and a crumbling home will be the new home of two private Catholic schools, after a massive donation from an anonymous donor.

Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School, in Central Hill, Upper Norwood, is set to close in August because of safety, education and finance issues and so stopped accepting Year 7 pupils last September.

But the building will now be extensively revamped following the donations to host The Cedars School for boys, currently in Lloyd Park, Croydon – and The Laurels School for girls, on Chelsea Embankment.

It will have a chaplain from the Catholic organisation Opus Dei.

A statement from educational charity Parents, Children and Teachers in Partnership (PACT) said: “Each school will remain single-sex and will keep its distinct identity and culture, while there will
also be opportunities for collaboration.

“The schools are characterised by a unique personalised
tutorial system which seeks to integrate the pursuit of academic excellence, the acquisition of
skills and the development of the student’s character.
“Moving the two schools to operate side by side on the site of the Virgo Fidelis school will allow
them both to grow in order to respond to the demand from parents for this type of education.
“The Cedars School is PACT’s secondary school for boys, and is currently located in Lloyd Park,
Croydon. The school currently operates in a set of historic buildings within the green belt.

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“Each school will remain single-sex and will keep its distinct identity and culture, while there will
also be opportunities for collaboration. The schools are characterised by a unique personalised
tutorial system which seeks to integrate the pursuit of academic excellence, the acquisition of
skills and the development of the student’s character.
“Moving the two schools to operate side by side on the site of the Virgo Fidelis school will allow
them both to grow in order to respond to the demand from parents for this type of education.

“The building is very inspiring, but there is limited outdoor space. The distance between both secondary schools significantly hinders the collaboration between them.”
The Cedars headteacher Robert Teague said: “Our great strengths have always been our outstanding staff and our approach to education which enables us to work closely with parents in the all-round education of their children. That has been the secret of our success over the last few years.
“None of this will change when we move to the Virgo Fidelis site but we will certainly benefit from
larger and better facilities which will enhance the experience for all of our pupils. We are very
much looking forward to making a positive contribution within the Upper Norwood community.”
Head Teacher of the Laurels Linda Sanders said, “The Laurels has now found a site which fits the
size of its ambitions. The size and facilities this site brings will enable us to provide the all-round
education for which we have become justly renowned whilst not losing any of our family
atmosphere and personalised attention to each girl and her family.”

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Croydon Borough Council announced the closure of the Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School
for girls from August 2021. The school was established by the sisters of Our Lady of Fidelity in the
second half of the 19th Century, and some of the buildings need of substantial repairs.

The statement added: “Now major works at the site will be undertaken to refurbish the Gothic building, and bring it back into full use.
“The project has been made possible thanks to the generosity of a private donor who is passionate
about the PACT vision for education. It will revive the historic building and maintain educational
provision on the site, in line with the initial intention of the congregation, who are supporting the
new initiative.”
PACT was established in 1993 as a personal initiative of parents and educators to operate schools
that “assist parents in their task as the primary educators of their children”.

The charity “promotes Catholic faith and values inspired by the message of holiness in everyday life. PACT schools welcome pupils from all faiths and none.

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“PACT are looking forward to building strong relations with the local community in Upper
Norwood.”

Virgo Fidelis is closing after Croydon council set up and investigation into standards at the school and an Interim Executive Board (IEB) was appointed, which happens when the local authority is concerned about the governance of a school.

The investigation covers health and safety, finance and education standards.

Ex-pupils include former Misteeq member Su-Elise Michelle Nash.


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