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Historic home of LJCC and ballerina Anna Pavlova to become Catholic girls school

PUBLISHED: 11:39 19 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:39 19 October 2015

Ivy House. Picture: Will Curtis.

Ivy House. Picture: Will Curtis.

Archant

The historic former home of the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) and Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova is set to become a Catholic girls primary school, it has been confirmed.

Ivy House in North End Road, Golders Green, was put on the market with a starting price of £6.25million back in January, marketed as a “rare Hampstead Heath opportunity”.

The 18th century building, which overlooks Golders Hill Park and was said to once be occupied by painter J.M.W. Turner, was listed by estate agents Knight Frank as the LJCC prepared to move out and merge with Jewish community centre, the JW3 in Finchley Road.

On Friday, education provider Alpha Plus confirmed it had taken over the lease and is to turn the building into St. Anthony’s School for Girls.

The Catholic school, for those aged four to 11, will open in September 2016. Alpha Plus says this is in response to a “growing demand” in the area for Catholic girls’ education.

The new school will be run with the “same ethos and values” as the existing St. Anthony’s School for Boys in Hampstead – also run by Alpha Plus.

Mr Julian Drinkall, CEO of Alpha Plus Group, said: “We are delighted to be opening St Anthony’s School for Girls. St. Anthony’s School for Boys is a highly successful and popular school and we know that the news of a new girls’ school will be welcome to many local parents.

“The new school will help to address what is a growing demand in this area for girls’ education, and especially for Catholic girls’ education.

“We are grateful to the Diocese of Westminster for their consideration during this process and we are pleased to confirm that the Catholic ethos of the school will inform and guide its management and development in the coming years, as we have demonstrated in the case of the existing St Anthony’s School for Boys.

“The school will also welcome children from a non-Catholic background and we expect it to continue the excellent tradition of the boys’ school in contributing to the diverse, tolerant and inclusive nature of the local community.”

The building will now be refurbished into 14 classrooms, specialist science and art rooms, as well as a multi-purpose hall for dining, drama and other

purposes.

The news comes after the Ham&High first reported rumours of the Alpha Plus takeover back in July. It prompted concern from neighbouring residents and the owner of a nearby nursery that the opening of a new school on the site, in addition to the existing King Alfred School opposite Ivy House, will cause traffic misery on North End Road and endanger pedestrians, including children attending the schools and nursery.

Alpha Plus had said it takes “responsibilities on school travel very seriously and has developed a great deal of experience in the effective management of these matters”.

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