Green light for joint-faith school in Newton Mearns
East Renfrewshire to host UK’s first joint-faith school for Catholic and Jewish children,
The UK’s first joint-faith school for Catholic and Jewish children is to be built in Newton Mearns after the local council’s education committee voted in its favour.
At a meeting yesterday, the East Renfrewshire Education Committee agreed unanimously to give the go ahead for a new Catholic school and nursery to be built on a joint campus with a relocated Calderwood Lodge Primary and nursery.
The £13.6 million school, set to open for the 2017-2018 term, will have separate entrances and classroom wings but will share outside areas including playground and sports facilities.
Scotland currently has a number of joint campuses for Catholic and non-demonational schools, but the new school—to be located on Waterfoot Road opposite Mearns Castle High School—will be the first between two different faiths in Scotland.
Fr Thomas Boyle—the Catholic Church’s representative on the education committee and assistant general secretary at Bishops’ Conference of Scotland—said he could find no other example of a shared Catholic and Jewish campus anywhere in the world.
“It is… important that the great World religions are seen to co-exist, to demonstrate to the world that a proper understanding of the one true God does not lead to violence and division but to mutual respect and co-operation,” he said. “The lives and ministries of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and our present Holy Father Pope Francis can leave no doubt about the esteem which the Church holds for the Jewish people. One member of the World Jewish Congress has said of Pope Francis: ‘The dialogue and the relationship have been unprecedented in terms of warmth and closeness.’ Let this shared campus be our contribution to that dialogue and relationship.”
Newton Mearns’ current Catholic primary, St Cadoc’s, will be maintained with plans for it to be refurbished. Catholic pupils at the new school will attend St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock (above).
The education committee consists of councillors and one representative each for the Catholic Church, Church of Scotland, the Jewish community, and teachers. Calderwood Lodge, located in Glasgow’s catchment area, is the only Jewish school in Scotland, with pupils transferring to Mearns Castle High