; Sharing Spaces

St Ignatius Primary and Wishaw Academy Primary Schools, South Lanarkshire

This is a shared campus school and, since moving into the new school four years ago, both headteachers had a firm commitment to sharing. Joint planning before the schools opened developed a strong focus on one school community. Children mix together in the dining hall, share the same intervals, play in mixed football teams at break times, have joint assemblies and joint parties at Christmas and Halloween. Support staff from both schools work together on a joint monthly theme and teachers are now coming together for professional development activities. Staff deal jointly with any behaviour issues and constantly show a united front. Parents attend one another’s fund raising activities and both headteachers feel that there has been a positive impact on the wider local community.

Children are encouraged to share one another’s faith and recognise that it is okay to celebrate differences. Children work together on school committees, they have a joint travel plan, share Eco issues, health week and have the same business partner for their enterprise activities. The school has also composed a ‘Campus song’. This is a strong example of two schools working as one school community.

Port Glasgow High School and St Stephen's High School, Inverclyde 

A new shared campus for St Stephen’s High School and Port Glasgow High School is being built by Inverclyde Council. Currently the two schools are sharing education facilities at St Stephen’s High School. Two years before the schools came together, ‘A Joint Working Campus group was established to ensure that the transition was successful. The membership consisted of pupils, parents, staff and representation from the relevant faith organisations.

Inverclyde Education Authority commissioned an external organisation, ‘Uxcel’ to work with both schools to plan for a shared campus. The organisation worked with staff, pupils and parents over a year to bring a culture of change and prepare the community for the move to the temporary shared campus and eventually to the new building.

One of the outcomes of this approach was it raised awareness of the difference in educational culture between staff rather than any sectarian problems. Pupils and parents were less worried about the details and more about the community feeling. Members from all the faiths were also involved in the meetings to ensure that there was a shared understanding of each others’ religious duties and obligations. In discussion with a member of the Catholic church, he stated that these early discussions were very important and they helped to allay the concerns of parents about how the schools would work together and how each their respective faiths would continue to be recognised and practised. 

The shared campus was not a response to sectarianism, nevertheless the project was dealing with entrenched views from pupils, parents and staff. The headteachers are clear on the vision and advantages of a joint campus. They also highlight the development of staff and the curriculum. They each know the schools' shared values, attitudes, commitments and practices. One of the advantages that they highlighted was the greater cooperation in learning and teaching in the upper school and of pupils working together.

 

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