Plans to move Glasgow’s Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary to a shared campus with a Catholic school in Newton Mearns have been unveiled by East Renfrewshire Council.
The council will be consulting both faith groups on the feasibility of the project, which would see the 50-year-old Calderwood Lodge — based in the Newlands area — replaced by a new £9.5 million building.
This would be located opposite Mearns Castle High School, where pupils from Calderwood transfer for their secondary education. The proposed opening date is August 2017.
There are currently two shared school campuses in Scotland, based in Inverclyde and south Lanarkshire, which contain Catholic and non-denominational sections in the same building. There is space for the schools’ individual educational facilities but also shared areas.
Announcing the plan, East Renfrew-shire convener for education and equalities, Councillor Elaine Green spoke of “a pressing need for a second primary school for Catholic faith children in Newton Mearns. Also, our Jewish school community has for some time wanted to relocate to East Renfrewshire, where most of its pupils live. We are going into this consultancy exercise with very positive soundings all round and I look forward to hearing the feedback.”
Calderwood parents’ council chair Colin Cowan said: “We don’t know a lot at the moment. This is still in its infancy.” A parent forum meeting was being organised to gauge opinion. “It’s also about the wider community — for people who have young children and want to send them to the school in the future.
“My thoughts are that we should explore the opportunity as it could be fantastic to end up with Calderwood in Newton Mearns, as most of the Jewish families live in that area. But we have to see what the status of the school will be as it needs to retain its Jewish identity. Whether it’s in Newton Mearns or Glasgow, we want to have a Jewish school.”
Jewish representative council president Paul Morron welcomed “this bold and imaginative initiative by East Renfrewshire Council. We see many positives in a move of Calderwood to the heart of the Jewish community in Newton Mearns and to a new-built school.
“A great deal of discussion will be necessary about the detail of any new arrangement between all the groups involved and we’re working very closely with the parents’ council on this.
“I hope that the prospect of a new-built school in the heart of the Jewish community might persuade more parents to send their kids to Calderwood.”