I HAVE been following The Herald articles on the future of Notre Dame Secondary in Glasgow with interest. As one of the founder members of Notre Dame Primary School Board one of our main aims was to attempt to change the status of the High School.

Various surveys were carried out - all of which showed that the parents of the Catholic boys in the school would send their boys to Notre Dame High if this were an option.

As a group we appeared to have backing in principle from the Catholic Church who acknowledged their awareness of the high number of boys leaving the Catholic sector to attend a more local school.

We also felt that we had the backing,

in principle, of the education authorities who openly acknowledged the discrimination against our sons. However, when things came to a crunch there was

nothing done.

I am a parent of three boys - two of whom now attend St Thomas Acquinas Secondary and a third who is about to enter Primary 1. As my boys were on the point of entering secondary in 1996 I spoke with almost every member of the education committee.

I was advised at that time by a senior education officer to apply for a position in Notre Dame High for my twin boys. However, when I asked for a placing request to be sent to me I was told that

it was not possible to send a form as

my sons would not be considered for

a placement.

On January 21, 1998, I wrote again to the authority asking for a commitment from them that my youngest son would not be discriminated against by an authority which boasts equality of opportunity. They were unable to do so.

I was also interested to read that a spokesman for the council claimed

'' . . . we have not had a request over the last three years from a parent seeking provision of a single-sex boys' school''.

I quote from my letter to Mr Blair, Councillor Green and Mr I McDonald of June 1, 1998.

''Girls in Notre Dame Primary are given the opportunity to attend a

single-sex school. Can you guarantee that my youngest son will be offered

the same opportunity as the girls in his class when it comes the time to proceed to secondary?

''There is an all-boys' school within half-mile radius of my house. Will the city council be willing to fund my son's education at this school in order that he is offered the same opportunity as the girls in his class? If they are not willing to do this, then, where will he be offered a place that will ensure that he will not be discriminated against due to his sex?''

A reply from Mr McDonald dated June 9, 1998 states: ''I am not in a position to give any of the assurances sought in your letter.''

Last year the education department asked the council to open consultation on a proposal to make the school co-educational. This was rejected in a move widely interpreted as avoiding a potentially damaging confrontation with the Catholic Church and the Muslim community in Glasgow.

May I dare to ask why the Muslim community should have any have any say in what happens in a Catholic school?

The education authority last year held meetings for headteachers in Catholic schools where the Catholicity of Catholic Schools was widely debated.

Surely the Catholic Church should show greater interest than it appears to be doing in the future of Catholic schools.

Finally, I was enraged to read the comment made by the Chairperson of Notre Dame High who wishes '' . . . these parents would stop causing problems''.

Who does she think we are? A group of mindless individuals who are willing to accept discrimination as it stands? Hopefully, pupils in the school are not being encouraged to engender discrimination in the manner that the school board, the education authority, and the Catholic Church suggest.

Mr Ken Corsar claims that the authority is not charged with running schools of a certain type. The fact that what they are doing is illegal does not appear to be of any import!

Malcolm Green claims that the authority will be unable to re-examine Notre Dame High's circumstances for a year or two. Is he willing, in the meantime, to publicly acknowledge that the City of Glasgow is against discrimination - except when it actively encourages it!

Anne P Fitzpatrick,

21 Cleveden Gardens,


April 24.