We Won't Share Doors in Joint Schools Plan, Insist Catholic Chiefs

Daily Mail (London), January 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

We Won't Share Doors in Joint Schools Plan, Insist Catholic Chiefs


Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

PLANS for shared faith school campuses in Scotland were thrown into disarray yesterday after Catholic churchmen demanded pupils have separate entrances.

Catholic and other pupils would be housed in separate buildings but share facilities at the new joint campus primaries.

The aim is to stamp out bigotry while appeasing Catholics who have accepted shared schools in theory but are wary about the possibility of falling standards.

But Catholic officials have attacked the plans and want the schools in North Lanarkshire to have separate entrances, staffrooms, gyms, libraries and even toilets.

One critic last night claimed the row echoed the outcry over racially integrated education in the U.S. in the 1960s.

It is also an embarrassment for the Scottish Executive, which has made tackling bigotry a priority.

North Lanarkshire education chiefs are planning seven joint campus primaries.

The move comes amid rising concern over a similar project that was hailed as the way to end bigotry.

The experiment combining St David's RC High and the nondenominational Dalkeith High in Midlothian was designed to end sectarianism.

But within days of opening, there were claims Catholic and other pupils were forbidden to mix in dining areas.

Violence among pupils in recent days has prompted some parents to withdraw their children.

A spokesman for antibigotry group Nil By Mouth said: 'We support the concept of joint campuses but we need to take a common-sense approach and that doesn't appear to be happening here.

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