Divided lives on a shared campus

7th November 2003 at 00:00
Midlothian Council certainly doesn't have its troubles to seek. Having had the tragedy of the Jodi Mitchell murder to deal with, St David's High in Dalkeith, where she went to school, has become embroiled in a row with Dalkeith High over pupil segregation on their pound;33 million shared campus. It is perhaps a reflection of our sometimes intolerant nation that this relatively minor step towards unity, if only in the concrete not in the curriculum, should be dogged by controversy. One public meeting during consultations over the campus was treated on a memorable occasion to a condom being waved aloft, as a dire warning of what might be found in the pupils' toilets if they had to share facilities.

The council's director of education has done his best to retrieve the situation this week, but some of the authority's earlier comments that pupils were being separated simply to help them settle in seemed less than convincing. Shared campuses do not spell the end of denominational education, much though some might desire it. But if such initiatives are seen as the thin end of an undesirable wedge, they will never stand a chance.

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