A CLAIM by an eight-year-old boy that he is suffering sex discrimination because Glasgow City Council will not allow him to attend the all-girls' Notre Dame high school could be decided by the courts within a year.

Neil Fitzpatrick, who is currently in P4 of Notre Dame primary school in Glasgow's west end, has received legal aid to pursue his case against the council, his solicitor, Cameron Fyfe, confirmed yesterday.

The move by Neil's mother, Anne Fitzpatrick, is a test case on behalf of a large group of parents who want their sons to be allowed to attend their nearest denominational secondary school, Notre Dame, which is the only single-sex state school in Scotland.

Currently, boys attending Notre Dame primary have to attend either a local non-denominational secondary or St Thomas Aquinas secondary, some distance away, while girls go on to Notre Dame high.

Mr Fyfe said he was preparing to lodge a writ on behalf of his client in Glasgow Sheriff Court early next week. He said he then expected the case to be heard within eight to nine months.

''It is difficult to get legal aid for anything so this shows that the legal aid board think we have a reasonable case,'' he said. ''I am fairly confident that we will win this one.

''If we do win, the council will have two choices - either to build a school just for boys, which I think they will not do because of the costs, or they will have to allow boys from the primary into the high school,'' he said.

Mrs Fitzpatrick said she was delighted about the decision to grant her son legal aid. ''There are at least 100 families who have indicated interest to me,'' she said.

A spokesman for the council said: ''We have not been notified whether legal aid has been granted. There is nothing we can say until the writ is lodged.''