ALONG with the usual excitement and nerves of the first day of school new pupils at Notre Dame High were tackling an additional hurdle - "making history".

Yesterday, as the playground rang out with shouts of welcome and youngsters hugged each other after the summer holidays, the secondary also welcomed a cohort of boys for the first time in its 120 year history.

Following a public consultation, councillors made the decision to end the single sex status of the last local authority all-girls school in the country.

Glasgow Times: Boys pictured (with fellow female pupils) at Notre Dame High School  Picture: Colin Mearns

And on the first day of term yesterday 48 boys joined 92 girls in first year.

While the young men felt the weight of history on their shoulders, they were feeling confident about taking their place in the West End school.

Rafael Segura, 11, moved up from Notre Dame Primary School and said the girls were just going to have to deal with boys.

He said: "We are privileged to be here and I’m excited to get learning in a new school.

"There’s some good people and some bad people and this school will be full of good people plus the teachers will be supportive of us being here and if there are any comments then they will step in.

Glasgow Times: Hussain Azam, Kyle Holt and Rafael Segura  Picture: Colin Mearns

"I’m pretty sure a good few were against it and some of the mums but it's done now so they can't do anything about it.

"The S6s will be more mature and will deal with it well but the teachers will help us so I'm not too worried."

The unanimous decision was taken for the new intake to begin from August 2021 with boys enrolling from S1 in the first year and each year thereafter but there will be no placing requests granted for boys to other year groups.

The new catchment area for the school was part of the consultation and there are now three associated primary schools - Notre Dame Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School and St Patrick’s Primary School.

Glasgow Times: Boys pictured arriving at Notre Dame High School  Picture: Colin Mearns

Notre Dame usually receives a high number of placing requests and this year that figure was higher still.

In the new first year there are 50 girls on placing requests and 21 boys.

Kyle Holt joined his friend Rafael from Notre Dame primary and said he felt the first day was "like being in a movie" with the amount of media attention.

The 11-year-old said: "It’s very exciting because we are making history.

"It’s really exciting with all the cameras - you feel like you are in a movie.

"I’m quite happy that I get to be one of the first boys here and I’m quite lucky that I got in."

Glasgow Times: Boys pictured arriving at Notre Dame High School Picture: Colin Mearns

Their classmate Finlay Quinn, also 11, added: "It’s exciting to be here but I’m a bit nervous as well.

"I think we are going to be welcomed into the school."

Hussain Azam, 11, came to Notre Dame from Dunard Primary School in Maryhill and, like any sensible boy, was closely following advice from his mum.

He said: "My mum told me at the induction day to make new friends and speak to new people so I spoke to six new people so I am feeling confident."

During the summer holidays the school ran enhanced transition days for young people on Saturday mornings so many of the pupils will have met prior to the first day of term.

Glasgow Times: Boys pictured arriving at Notre Dame High School  Picture: Colin Mearns

Uniform standards had to be adapted to include brown trousers for the boys and the school is also being adapted to include boys toilets and changing facilities.

Head teacher Rosemary Martin said: “A lot of preparation, engagement and plans have been in place for many months now to make the transition as smooth as possible for the beginning of a new era for the school in August.

"Whilst we are very proud of the great heritage of our school, we are equally excited about creating the next chapter and are looking forward to welcoming all our pupils back to school at the beginning of the August school term.”

Glasgow Times: Finlay Quinn age 11, 3rd from right, pictured at Notre Dame High School  Picture: Colin Mearns

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years was on hand to welcome families as the school bell rang for the start of classes.

He said: “There was a lot of good debate during the consultation on the changes to the entry criteria and today signals the start of something new and exciting.

“Our young people have been very much part of the transformational changes and decisions and I know that each new pupil today will be welcomed with open arms as part of the school’s nurturing ethos.

Glasgow Times: Boys pictured arriving at Notre Dame High School  Picture: Colin Mearns

“Notre Dame High School has an outstanding reputation and I am confident that the school will continue to provide an excellent learning environment to in which all pupils will flourish.”

Over the summer, Amey’s Facilities Management Project team undertook work to alter toilets and create new changing facilities to make them suitable for its new co-educational status.

Frazer Meiklejohn Operational Director for Scotland, Amey Secure Infrastructure, said: “It is fantastic to be involved in the project that will have a lasting impact on the whole community.

Glasgow Times: Notre Dame High School  Picture: Colin Mearns

"The work we have undertaken has ensured the appropriate facilities are in place as Notre Dame High School welcomes boys for the first time in more than 120 years.”