Notre Dame High Is Running Well Below Capacity

As a single sex school Notre Dame High is not filling its classrooms. This is despite being one of the best performing schools in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, local co-educational high schools are full to bursting.

Notre Dame High School pupil numbers 2009-2017
Source: Education Scotland

Over the last decade Notre Dame High has seen a steady downward trend in school roll. It is currently running well below its 800 pupil capacity.

In 2008/9 the school roll was over capacity with 825 pupils.

By 2017/18 that number had dropped to just 675.

Fewer and fewer families, both locally and across Glasgow, are choosing single sex schooling for their daughters.

Co-Ed High Schools Rolls Under Pressure

Conversely, other local co-educational high schools are at or over capacity. They are refusing increasing numbers of placing requests every year.

Over the last decade, the school population across Glasgow North West has risen dramatically. At the same time Notre Dame High’s roll has been falling. A further massive 13 – 18% rise in school rolls is predicted over the next 10 years.

Hillhead High School

Hillhead High School pupil numbers 2009 – 2017
Source: Education Scotland

Hillhead High (capacity 1100) has seen an enormous 30% rise in roll over the last 10 years.

In 2009/10 there were 759 pupils.

In 2017/18 the roll had risen to 1071.

Hyndland Secondary

Hyndland Secondary has been running over its 950 capacity for years and is refusing increasingly large numbers of placing requests.

In 2015/16, 11% of placing requests were refused. The next year refusals rocketed to 41%

The Problem With Placing Requests

Many pupils from Notre Dame Primary attempt to secure a place at Hyndland Secondary or Hillhead High via placing request so that they can go to a local co-educational school. They must use the placing request system even if they live in Hyndland or Hillhead’s catchment areas. This is because they are requesting to move from a denominational primary to a non-denominational secondary.

Placing requests can be refused when a school has reached it’s maximum capacity. Because these schools are over-subscribed, chances of being granted a place are becoming slimmer every year.

Large volumes of placing request refusals are leading to an increase in families appealing the Council’s decisions. There has been a 651% rise in placing request appeals over the last 7 years with Hyndland High School having among the highest numbers.

This puts a huge administrative burden on the Education Department.

Additionally, in the last year alone Glasgow City Council spent over £37,000 defending contested placing request refusals in court.

Beyond the West End

It’s not just West End co-educational schools that are bursting at the seams.

School rolls are rising across the whole of Glasgow North West. The single sex policy at Notre Dame High is forcing kids out of it’s local area to schools with rolls under severe pressure.

John Paul Academy

Children at local primaries, such as St Charles’ in Maryhill, are excluded from Notre Dame High’s catchment despite having the school on their doorstep.

John Paul Academy pupil numbers 2009-2017
Source: Education Scotland

Rather than walking to Notre Dame High every day, many are bused, at council expense, to John Paul Academy in Summerston.

John Paul Academy is full to capacity . Like Hillhead High, the roll has shot up by 30% over the last 10 years.

St Thomas Aquinas

Then there’s St Thomas Aquinas Secondary in Jordanhill, where boys from Notre Dame High’s catchment primaries are expected to go. It is also close to capacity and has seen a dramatic rise in placing request refusals. 

In 2015/16 only 3% of placing requests were refused.

In 2017/18 refusals leapt to 54%

Making Better Use Of Council Resourses

This all adds up to poor use of Council resources.

Despite being one of Glasgow’s highest attaining schools, Notre Dame High is running under-capacity and doesn’t attract local kids.

It is under-utilised by the local community yet sits in an area where co-educational high schools are full to capacity and the school population is rising dramatically.

The exclusion of children from their local high school has also put unnecessary pressure on further-a-field co-educational high schools St Thomas Aquinas and John Paul Academy.

As well as being inefficient use of the school estate, this negatively affects the public purse with:

-The cost of transporting pupils to schools outside their local area.

-The administrative burden of processing large numbers of placing requests and subsequent appeals.

-The legal cost of defending placing request refusals in court.

These issues could be rectified if Notre Dame High simply allowed all catchment kids to go to their local high school together.