Shared Protestant-Catholic School Campuses in Scotland Provoke Controversy

January 28, 2004

Source: The Herald

On January 28, 2004 The Herald reported, "The worrying news that the Catholic Church may pull out of a £150m flagship project for seven joint-faith [Catholic-Protestant] school campuses in North Lanarkshire if its demands for separate entrances and separate staffrooms are not met has re-ignited the debate about the validity of segregated schools in a tolerant, diverse and forward-looking nation. The threat, which was made days after reports of a series of violent incidents at Dalkeith and St David's RC high schools – Scotland's only shared secondary – is an embarrassing setback for Jack McConnell, the first minister, who has voiced his support for shared school campuses as a first step to tackling the country's sectarian problem. Michael McGrath, former headteacher of Our Lady's High School in Cumbernauld, now director of the nascent Scottish Catholic Education Service, is the man charged with the mammoth, David Trimble-esque task of negotiating peace. In his own church there are many who are strongly opposed to shared campuses and regard them as the thin end of a wedge that will lead to the eradication of separate Catholic schools."