It's both a completely prosaic scene and a historic moment.

Following a heated public campaign, for the first time in the 120 year history of Notre Dame High School boys are to join the cohort of pupils starting in August.

To help ease the transition for young people, the Hillhead secondary has been holding enhanced transition sessions on Saturday mornings to allow the new classes of boys and girls to have a taste of what high school life will be like.

Cousins Aizah Rasul and Harris Ali will be classmates - something that could not have happened had the former girls school remained single sex.

Harris's mum Nasreen has already sent four daughters to Notre Dame and the change is bittersweet for her.

She said: "It was a bit of a shock when it became a mixed school and a bit sad as well because they loved coming to an all girls school.

"One of my daughters is a chemistry teacher now and says Notre Dame gave her the confidence study science that she doesn't believe she would have had anywhere else.

"It definitely was a sad day when the announcement was made it would stop being a girls school."

Harris is looking forward to moving up to high school and making new friends but is aware he will also be making history as the boys' arrival in the school signals the end for local authority funded single sex education in Scotland.

The 12-year-old will be one of 49 boys starting S1. He said: "It's kind of weird because it's going to be all girls but it will be nice to make new friends. 

"I think the teachers and the girls are going to hate us," he adds with a laugh, "So there is a bit of anxiety." 

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Aizah, 11, added: "We don't know any different because our primary schools are mixed and it will be nice to be in my cousin's class."

Notre Dame was the last single sex council-funded school in the country and there was a vocal divide on the future of the school.

Head teacher Rosie Martin and depute head teacher Liz Henderson have been working hard with staff to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Four Saturday mornings sessions have been held with P7s as the final step in a process that has also seen teachers, working within covid restrictions, liaising with primary schools to form new bonds between establishments.

Rosie said: "They've had such a tough year, year and a half now, and they've had to do so much virtually that they've not had the time with us and us with them that they normally would in a transition, which is such a crucial time."

Parents have not been allowed into the school due to coronavirus safety restrictions but virtual meetings have been held.

One concern had been that the school would slump in popularity once it lost its unique status - but the opposite has happened.

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There are 140 spaces in S1 and Notre Dame received 200 requests for places, with 20 placing request appeals due to go before city councillors this week.

Rosie said: "So a lot of disappointed families who didn't get a place at Notre Dame. That's very new for us.

"We've never had that level of interest in our school before.

"We've always been a popular school and we take young people from Glasgow and beyond, so we have a girl who travels from Coatbridge every day, a girl from Paisley who comes.

"Last year more than 50 primary schools would have sent pupils to us but this year it's 35, so you can see that reduction in placing request space because they are coming more from our local area."

As well as being a historic step for the new pupils, the transition also affects the older pupils - many of whom fought vigorously to keep the school single sex.

But Rosie said the young women have "moved on".

She said: "I think the our young people are very resilient and we're very proud of the fact they felt they had a voice in the campaign to say what they felt passionately about.

"But they're also very resilient and they now see it as an opportunity and our sixth years who are going to be mentors see this as a very unique opportunity in the history of our school.

"They have accepted it and moved on from it.

"First year are looking a little different this year but it's business as usual for us in the way we look after them and they look after each other.

"There will be that temptation to perhaps mother these boys."

Liz added: "Our young people have a progressive outlook on society and therefore they accepted the result.

"Some of the new boys are their brothers - it's not like we're introducing aliens in to the school.

"When I'm talking to pupils about St Julie, her driver for that change was inequality so this is a great opportunity for us to continue her work."

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Psychological services has also been invited in to the school to work with teachers and support their needs ahead of and during the change.

Teachers are also taking part in professional development, including training in issues such as mental health and how issues present differently in boys and girls.

For the first time the school will have a nurture system, though Rosie said that is not being introduced solely because of boys joining the pupils roll but it part of a wider nurturing ethos in Notre Dame.

With new pupils also comes the need to redesign the A-listed building, with boys toilets and changing facilities being built in the first year.

Plans will roll out over the following two years and architects have included pupils in creating plans for the school. 

Rosie added: "Our curriculum is going to change. Maybe not significantly - we are a school where STEM is very popular. A lot of schools will look at how they can engage girls in STEM but that's never been a problem for us.

"But there may be other aspects of the curriculum that we want to diversify into."

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Changes not only mean boys will now start in first year but the catchment area for the secondary has also changed.

It will have three associated primary schools - Notre Dame, St Joseph's and St Patrick's while the current P7 had the right to transfer to St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Jordanhill.

This means building up new relationships with primary school communities and persuading parents that Notre Dame is the right place for their children.

Rosie said: "The primary staff have been so supportive too.

"There was a great trepidation and anxiety around what we should and shouldn't be doing and putting our staff and young people in any sort of difficult position.

"Nobody wanted that."

The school has consulted with primary pupils about changes to its house group names and looked at redesigning the school uniform.

In the end, though, youngsters chose to stick with the uniform as it is.

Liz said: "It was nice it went back to brown because the sunflower was St Julie's favourite flower, the saint who founded this order and who founded these schools, so the colours of the sunflower and the sky are incorporated in the uniform."

Notre Dame recently took advice from a school in Northern Ireland that had similarly become mixed sex and the advice was to "not overthink it, just let it happen naturally".

Rosie: "People come here because we have a great reputation across the city and our young people are our ambassadors - I remind them of that daily.

"That's not going to change."