A NEW world-first joint campus which brings together schools serving both the Catholic and Jewish faiths has opened.

The £17 million development in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, is now home to two primary schools.

Catholic St Clare’s Primary and the Jewish Calderwood Lodge also shares the new premises with a non-denominational nursery class.

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A significant proportion of pupils at the Jewish primary school are Muslim.

East Renfrewshire Council built the joint campus to provide for an increasing demand for Catholic education while at the same time relocating the current Calderwood Lodge from its previous home in Glasgow.

The new facilities are part of a wider multi-million pound investment in the council’s school estate.

A new £30m Barrhead High is also now complete and will also open its doors to pupils for the first time this week.

Paul O’Kane, the council’s convener of education, said he was delighted to see the new facilities open.

He said: “While both St Clare’s and Calderwood Lodge will undoubtedly benefit from the fantastic individual learning environments, it is the shared areas which most excite me.

“By sharing ideas and knowledge all our pupils at this new joint campus will enjoy an enriched learning environment.

“The new Barrhead High is wonderful and gives the pupils a school to be proud of.”

The faith schools’ joint campus includes features such as a shared central amphitheatre and outdoor obstacle trails.

Two sports pitches, ICT facilities, art, science, music and drama areas are also included in the facility.

Barrhead High, which was part of the Scottish Futures Trust programme, was delivered in partnership with hub West Scotland, the council’s development partner.

It replaces the previous building, which had been in use for 46 years, and has been built on a site next to the old school.

Pupils will now have access to modern teaching spaces, a library and new science labs and performance and sports spaces.

Alan Lafferty, the council’s environment convener, said: “This significant investment in our school estate has delivered facilities which will provide for our young people for many years to come.

“The work of the design and project teams to deliver these projects to such a high standard is to be commended.

“All pupils, staff, parents and wider school communities will benefit hugely from these impressive facilities.”

Also completed over the summer holidays was a £9m extension and upgrade at Crookfur Primary and Nursery to improve the facilities available at the school.

This new facility also has both indoor and outdoor facilities, and is a major refurbishment and modernisation of the school.

East Renfrewshire pupils at Calderwood Lodge will continue to transfer to Mearns Castle High School, their current associated high school, and St Clare’s Primary will be associated with St Ninian’s High School.

Anne Marie Absolom, headteacher at St Clare’s Primary, said: “The bringing together of these Catholic and Jewish primary schools on a single campus is a momentous initiative.

“It delivers a powerful message to the wider community that two different faiths can work in close co-operation whilst retaining their own unique identity.

“It’s an exciting venture that East Renfrewshire can rightly be proud of. We are looking forward to both schools working closely together to the benefit of our children and the wider community.”

Marion Carlton, headteacher at Calderwood Lodge, added: “The design of this fabulous new campus has been based on feedback from parents and representatives from both faith communities and I know it will provide us with a fantastic learning environment.

“It will give excellent opportunities for shared learning and interaction amongst all the pupils and staff.

“Bringing together these two faith communities on one campus is creative and innovative and I have no doubt we will all reap the benefits from this approach. We are all so excited about getting started in our new home.”