SCOTLAND’S LAST REMAINING ONE-SEX STATE SCHOOL TO BECOME CO-EDUCATIONAL

Photo credit: geograph.org.uk

Scotland’s last single sex state school is set to become co-educational after campaign groups successfully fought for change.

The school has only taught girls since its establishment in 1897. The high-performing Notre Dame High School was placed 39th in performance levels in the graded league tables this year.

The City Administration Committee are scheduled to meet later this month, in which members will discuss the recommendations in order to make a decision regarding the future of the school.

Glasgow City Council released a recent advisory document for councillors ahead of the vote, which contains three options for the vote:

  • Option 1: No Change (39.9%)
  • Option 2: The school would remain as girls only, however the catchment area would extend. (13.7%)
  • Option 3: Change the entry criteria for Notre Dame High School to become co-educational and introduce male students. (45.7%)

Students from the state school held a protest last week objecting the option for the introduction of boys to the school.

In a statement released by the Notre Dame High School Pupil Representative Group,

“We believe that being in an all-girls school enables us to grow to our full potential,” a student said.

“We have a great ethos, encouraging everyone to try their very best, and this makes us amongst the highest performing Catholic schools in Scotland.

“Keep us unique. Keep us all girls.”

Following a consolation in the spring of 2017, regarding the issue, Glasgow City Council urged for more local support to be created before change could be considered. This led to the creation of the campaign and petition group Notre Dame High for All’ (NDH4ALL) who are fighting to allow male pupils to attend the high school.

 

If change is to happen it would be implemented gradually, with pupils being introduced from S1 rather than joining older year groups. An estimate of £750,000 of work would be needed to ensure the appropriate facilities were in place if male pupils were to be introduced.

Caitlin Gallagher, a former pupil, gives some insight into her experience:

“I attended Notre Dame High School from 2010 to 2016 and had an overall positive experience, however, I must agree that it is now time for a change.

“My choice of school didn’t hinder my education at all, in fact, I excelled in terms of academic results. However, once I moved on in life following 6th year I was faced with the realisation that it was social skills that I lacked.

“Learning in an all-girls environment allowed me to gain a lot of confidence and I felt as though my character flourished throughout high school. However, this created a false sense of security as when I entered further education I wasn’t used to being in a mixed-gender environment and found the setting intimidating.

“In my opinion, it is a fear of change that stops people from supporting the idea of a school that welcomes all genders. With Notre Dame High being such a close community and achieving such great results, I suppose people worry that this will be lost if the system is altered.

“However, having experienced both learning environments I feel that it is unfair and old fashioned to prohibit people from attending a school of their choice simply due to their gender. Although change will be a lengthy process it should be considered an exciting progression for the community.

“I am curious to see what benefits the introduction of male pupils will bring and although I wouldn’t change my secondary education experience it would be interesting to see how I would have developed both academically and socially if I was given the chance to learn in a co-education environment.”

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