Boys begin term for the first time at Notre Dame High School

Rosemary Martin /Notre Dame High School
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It was all change at one Glasgow school this week.

With pupils returning to the classroom after summer, history was made at Notre Dame High School.

The first intake of boys was welcomed as the West End secondary moved to co-educational status.

The move followed a consultation two years ago and the addition of new facilities.

Headteacher Rosemary Martin said the new term marked a fresh chapter in the school’s history.

She said: “A lot of preparation, engagement and plans have been in place for many months now to make the transition as smooth as possible for the beginning of a new era for the school in August.

“Adaptations to the school building have been made, visits to the school by the new S1 intake took place before the summer holidays and lots of discussions and plans are continuing to be made by our young people around the ethos and values of our school and our future generation of pupils.

‘Great heritage’

“It has been crucial that our pupils – old and new – are making these decisions together.  Pupil voice is very loud in our school!

“Whilst we are very proud of the great heritage of our school, we are equally excited about creating the next chapter and are looking forward to welcoming all our pupils back to school at the beginning of the August school term.”

Notre Dame High For All
The move to co-education followed a consultation two years ago.

The Dowanhill secondary has admitted only girls since it opened more than 120 years ago – and was the last state-school in Scotland doing so.

Supporters of the school fought a powerful campaign against change.

Demonstrations were held outside Glasgow City Council’s headquarters.

A consultation showed the majority of people supported one of the options keeping Notre Dame as a single-sex school.

However, the single most popular option was for the school to start admitting boys with 45.9% backing the co-education option – which carried the day.

‘Whilst we are very proud of the great heritage of our school, we are equally excited about creating the next chapter and are looking forward to welcoming all our pupils back to school at the beginning of the August school term’

Rosemary Martin

Parents had argued the girls-only policy denied local children the school of their choice and divided siblings after primary years.

The education authority agreed to bring in mixed schooling over several years and not disrupt the current pupils.

So, this year’s boys will be joined by subsequent intakes at S1 over the following years.

There will be no placing requests granted for boys to other year groups.

A new catchment area for the school was part of the consultation. 

Rosemary Martin /Notre Dame High School
Headteacher Rosemary Martin with the new intake of boys at S1.

Three associated primary schools – Notre Dame Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School and St Patrick’s Primary School – now feed into the school.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years, said: “There was a lot of good debate during the consultation on the changes to the entry criteria and today signals the start of something new and exciting.

“Our young people have been very much part of the transformational changes and decisions and I know that each new pupil today will be welcomed with open arms as part of the school’s nurturing ethos.

“Notre Dame High School has an outstanding reputation and I am confident that the school will continue to provide an excellent learning environment to in which all pupils will flourish.”

Toilets have been altered and new changing facilities created to make them suitable for its new co-educational status.


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