54% want last all-girls state school to stay single-sex

Majority who took part in public consultation opposed idea to make Scotland's last all-girls state school coeducational

Emma Seith

In a public consultation, 54 per cent of respondents were in favour of Scotland's last remaining all-girls state school - Notre Dame High in Glasgow - remaining single-sex

Parents, pupils and teachers are split over whether or not Scotland’s last remaining all-girls state school should start admitting boys, with the campaign groups on either side of the argument claiming that the results of the public consultation support their stance.

Figures from the public consultation on whether Glasgow's 120-year-old, all-girls secondary, Notre Dame High School, should become coeducational show that overall 54.3 per cent want the school to remain girls-only.

However, when the vote is broken down, it shows that secondary and primary parents find themselves on different sides of the fence – as do pupils.

Background: Future of last girls-only Scottish state school hangs in the balance

Short read: Parents launch ad in bid to retain last all-girls school

Long read: The all-girls school under pressure to mix things up

The majority of primary parents (56.4 per cent) and pupils (61.2 per cent) voted for the school to admit boys. The majority of secondary parents (78.1 per cent) and pupils (82.2 per cent), meanwhile, voted for the options that would result in Notre Dame High remaining a girls’ school.

The battle over Glasgow's all-girls state school

The Glasgow primary and secondary school staff who took part in the consultation were found to be almost evenly split and only marginally in favour of retaining the status quo, with 51.6 per cent overall voting for the school to continue serving just girls.

However, secondary staff were more likely to vote for the school to become co-educational (52.9 per cent) and primary staff were more likely to vote for it to remain single-sex (55.4 per cent). Around 150 school staff voted in total.

The Notre Dame High for All campaign, which is pushing for the school “to enter a new and exciting chapter of inclusion and co-education”, homed in on the response from the 1,372 residents, almost two-thirds of whom voted in favour of the school admitting boys. It said: “This is a clear and unambiguous message from our community that it’s time for change.”

The group also highlighted the way primary pupils and parents had voted, saying: “These are the children and families whose futures are directly impacted by any decision on Notre Dame High. Over 1,200 submitted responses of which a clear majority of 57 per cent were in favour of opening the doors to all children, regardless of gender.”

However, the Girls for Notre Dame campaign group said: “The figures speak for themselves. 54.3 per cent of ALL voters want the school to remain as all-girls.”

The options on the table were to retain the status quo, keep the school as single-sex but change the catchment area from which pupils are drawn, or make the school co-educational and change the catchment area.

Of the 4,747 votes cast 1,893 voted for the first option - the status quo; 650 voted for the changes to the catchment and for the school to remain girls-only; 2,169 voted for it to become co-educational and to change catchment. A total of 35 votes were in favour of none of the options presented.

Earlier this year, Tes Scotland revealed that £750,000 of alterations would be required if the school became coeducational in order to ensure that appropriate toilet and changing facilities were available.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to analyse the consultation figures and a report will be submitted to a future education, skills and early years committee, as well as the city administration committee, in due course.”

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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