A NEW joint school campus in East Renfrewshire could help solve the west of Scotland’s sectarianism problems, according to a Jewish community leader.

East Renfrewshire’s education chiefs have agreed to hold a public consultation into a potential super campus to be shared between Neilston and St Thomas’ Primary Schools.

It could mean kids have same-site access to a range of resources while still being separated in class from primary one based on religion.

The consultation comes just a year after the opening of the faith schools’ joint campus with the Catholic St Clare’s Primary and Jewish Calderwood Lodge Primary in Newton Mearns.

Jewish community representative, Dr Frank Angel, claimed that a new site could help tackle bigotry.

He said: “One of the greatest problems that we have in the west of Scotland is sectarianism. Mixing in the playgrounds would perhaps go some way to addressing that.

“The joint campuses are probably a preferable option.”
But East Renfrewshire’s director of education, Mhairi Shaw, said:

“Tackling sectarianism would never be a priority or condition for us.

“In terms of Neilston it’s an opportunity to make sure the community facilities are all on one site.”

Council chiefs are considering their options after both Neilston and St Thomas’ Primary Schools’ conditions were ranked as “poor”.

A survey of St Thomas’ Primary School families found that 76 per cent of respondents favoured the proposals, while almost a quarter didn’t express their approval.

A similar survey of Neilston Primary and Madras Family Centre parents found that  90 per cent backed the plan while 10 per cent didn’t indicate they favoured the proposals.

Fiona Morrison, head of education services, said: “Having the two schools on the one site would provide further opportunities for both to foster good community relations. It would make it easier to establish joint activities and events.”

Ms Morrison said that careful consideration would be given to the views of the Catholic Church.

Council leader Tony Buchanan added: “I think it has been a long time coming. We have known for some time that significant work is required for both the schools. I hope the consultation goes well.”

The consultation runs until June 26.