A CHALLENGE to the status of Scotland’s last remaining state-funded single sex school has been backed by the Catholic Church.

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia said a formal consultation on the future of the all-girl Notre Dame High School would be a “positive step forward”.

Families from the co-educational Notre Dame Primary, in the west end of the city, want the council to hold a consultation on letting boys into the secondary.

Nearly 90 per cent of parents from the primary have already backed the move and there has been further support from most parent councils in feeder primaries.

Parents from Notre Dame Primary have now written to Maureen McKenna, executive director of education for Glasgow City Council, requesting a formal consultation.

The letter states: “We believe there is a strong case for Notre Dame High School becoming co-educational to allow all children to equally access education from their feeder primary schools.

“With the support of 220 families, other schools via their parent councils and the Archdiocese we therefore now request the council commences the process necessary to undertake a public consultation on opening Notre Dame High School to both boys and girls.”

as such is supportive of our request for a consultation.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese said: “The Archbishop believes that a consultation could be a positive step forward so that all the school communities which have an interest in the proposal can have their say.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said no decision had been taken on whether to explore a statutory consultation.

He added: “Officers are always happy to engage with parents, but any changes would affect pupils and families at a number of schools and the views of all must be considered.”

While there are still a number of single sex private schools in Scotland, Notre Dame High, a Catholic school founded in 1897, is the only remaining single sex comprehensive.

Its unique status means it attracts families from across the city who want single sex education for their daughters including those from the Catholic community and Muslim parents.

The survey was organised after concern from families from Notre Dame Primary with both sons and daughters that they will be unable to have them educated together when they reach secondary age.

Currently, boys educated at Notre Dame Primary have the option of going on to Thomas Aquinas, in Scotstoun, or John Paul Academy, in Summerston.

If parents want to send their boys to the local non-denominational school - Hyndland Secondary - they must make a placing request.

The last time there was a challenge to the status of Notre Dame, one of the best performing schools in the city, was in 1999 when a group of parents took legal advice on the issue. The education committee suggested a consultation, but it was rejected by the full council.