Joint faiths school set to make history

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East Renfrewshire Council will create education history next week with the opening of a £13.8million Calderwood Lodge joint faiths campus.

Built opposite Mearns Castle High School to replace the former Calderwood Lodge in Newlands, the new Newton Mearns school will be the first to cater for both Jewish and Roman Catholic pupils in one building,

The venture is so unusual it has been widely described as the first of its kind in the world.

The binary design of the new campus means both schools will have separate head teachers and facilities.

This will include school entrances, but the entire school will revolve around a central amphitheatre serving as a multi-functional meeting place.

The children will also share a wide range of sports, arts, science and social facilities, while Calderwood Lodge pupils will use a separate dining room using food prepared to Jewish dietary laws.

The former Calderwood name will be retained, while the new Catholic primary operating as part of the same complex will be called St Clare’s.

The project is being seen as a groundbreaking example of how two completely different faiths can share the same building and many of the same faciltiies while retaining their quite separate religious identities.

Meanwhile the council has started to ask local residents and groups what they think of the idea of a shared education and leisure campus - RC and non-denominational - in Neilston.

It could include the current Neilston Primaryu ad St Thomas’ Primary, whose respective parent council members have already met education department officials to hear about the proposals.

Views from other local community groups and interested parties, including the Catholic Church, will also be gathered as part of what’s currently an informal process.

If the idea gained sufficient traction the council would have to source funds and find a suitable site.