GLASGOW'S Labour administration yesterday pulled back from a potentially damaging dispute with the city's Roman Catholic and Muslim communities by ruling out the possibility of admitting boys to Scotland's only local authority comprehensive school for girls.

Members of the Labour group voted overwhelmingly against a recommendation of its own executive that formal consultation documents should be issued, aimed at creating three Roman Catholic co-educational secondary schools to serve the west and north-west of Glasgow - the all-girl Notre Dame High School, John Paul Academy, and St Thomas Aquinas Secondary.

It had been proposed that all three would be retained in their current buildings, with Notre Dame getting a #1.1m extension and becoming progressively co-educational, starting with first-year in August 1999.

But the executive's recommendation, which had been carried 9-3 last week, was given a resounding ''No'' by the full Labour group.

The news was welcomed by representative of both Roman Catholic and Muslim communities. Muslim girls comprise around 200 of the current role of 830.

Mr Peter Mullen, spokesman on education for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow, said ''We're delighted with the news. We're very pleased that the party has kept a successful school in its present status.''

A spokesman for the Muslim community said: ''It's wonderful news because it shows the feeling inside the council is that we should have choice for parents. It is not a religious issue on its own.

''It's an issue where we're addressing the needs of the community and what the community wants to see. It's also about the fact that the educational standards of single sex schools are so good. Why fix something that's not broken?''

Most delighted of all was school board chair Mrs Margaret Westwater, who has been campaigning vigorously for this decision, including writing to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

She said last night: ''Things have worked out wonderfully well. I am absolutely delighted.''

However, the Muslim community is still likely to go ahead with plans to open a school of its own due to high demand for such a facility in the Glasgow area.

Already a trust set up by Muslim businessmen has bought the annexe at Bellahouston Academy for #300,000. It hopes to create a private fee-paying school for girls.

Labour group leader, Councillor Frank McAveety, was yesterday making the best of an embarrassing defeat for his executive.

He said: ''I welcome the thorough debate that took place within the group and hopefully we can go forward now in co-operation with the community served by Notre Dame and the wider Catholic community in the West End to continue to build on the success of the school.

''The executive had decided to go out to formal consultation to at least address these issues on whether or not there was a demand there for changing the gender status of Notre Dame. There have been letters sent in every year from the school board of the co-educational Notre Dame Primary to that effect.

''Our consideration for consultation was on the basis of that. But members of the group felt there were stronger arguments for not consulting.''