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Thomas Nugent

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Notre Dame High School has only admitted girls since its inception in 1897

The last state school in Scotland to only admit girls could soon start to take in boys after council leaders backed the move.

The ruling SNP group on Glasgow City Council said it supported making Notre Dame High School co-educational.

The council is set to discuss the future of the school, which is in the city’s west end, next month.

The SNP does not have a majority so the outcome of the vote will depend on other parties.

Notre Dame is a Roman Catholic school but it admits pupils of other faiths, such as Islam, and no faiths at all.

The future of the school, which was founded in 1897, has sparked a passionate debate among parents and the wider community in the area.

‘Range of opinions’

The group campaigning to retain Notre Dame as a girls’ school described the development as “disappointing” but those supporting change said they were “delighted”.

A recent consultation exercise looked at whether to keep the school as it is, change the catchment area or start admitting boys.

The results demonstrated the range of opinions. Changing the status of the school so that it started taking in boys was the single most popular option. However, the other two options – which would have kept Notre Dame as a girls’ school – received more support between them.

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Glasgow City Council

Image caption
Notre Dame High is a Roman Catholic school but it admits pupils of other faiths and none

Councillor Chris Cunningham, convener for education, skills and early years said the final decision would be taken by all political parties on 28 November.

But he added: “The SNP group and city cabinet have agreed, after discussion and a vote, to support the co-education option for the future of Notre Dame High School following the recent consultation.”

The Girls for Notre Dame campaign group said it was “disappointing” that the SNP group had “decided to ignore the outcome of the public consultation and the 54% of votes in favour of keeping the all girls secondary”.

‘Parent power’

A spokesperson said: “We have also yet to see an educational benefit for the change and where almost £1m of funding is coming from to start to adapt the building.

“We will, of course, respect the decision made at committee later this month. It will be interesting to see this precedent rolled out across all Glasgow secondaries.

“Any child will then have the right to transition to the secondary school closest to them, whether they meet the criteria of that school or not. Parent power now determines what your local school is rather than the council’s defined catchment areas.”

The campaign group NDH4ALL said it was delighted with the development.

A spokesman said: “We very much welcome this approach and that councillors have voted to do the right thing for Glasgow’s children.

“We hope that the final barrier to local education is removed, to have a fully inclusive school, inclusive of all children.

“We believe this will mean a brighter future for our children, community and a co-educational Notre Dame High.”



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