THE role of a columnist is to take a position. So today I’m comprehensively failing in my role as a columnist.

Yesterday the public consultation into the future of Notre Dame High School closed and now the council administration has the job of deciding what is in the best educational interests of city pupils: to keep Notre Dame as it is, or open up Scotland’s last remaining council run single sex school to boys.

As tends to be the case when parents are defending their children’s education - indeed, when parents are defending their children - the voices on both sides have been engaged, passionate and determined.

Both sides have put forward compelling and comprehensive arguments.

Why should people in the city who don’t have children or who wouldn’t use a Catholic school or aren’t from the West End care?

Well, I believe that everyone should care about children’s education We should all, parents or not, take a vested in the children in our cities - how we educate and nurture our young people affects all our futures.

But, additionally, Notre Dame is unique to Glasgow and to Scotland. It is our last remaining single sex state secondary and we should always take an interest when we are about to lose the last of something because it reflects where we are as a society.

The arguments for and against have been wide-ranging, from reverse sexism to traffic issues.

Children come from dozens of different primary schools across the city, creating a truly comprehensive mix of backgrounds as the school has a high number of placing requests.

On one side, there are concerns about the high level of traffic outside the school as girls are dropped off in cars and taxis from communities across the city.

This sits in opposition to Glasgow City Council’s push towards active travel and desire to have fewer parents driving up to the school gates, causing a dangerous travel environment for those on foot or cycling.

Some women I’ve spoken to said they had a wonderful experience at Notre Dame and wouldn’t be where they are today without the high quality, single sex education they received.

None of us would be where we are today without the specific life experiences we have had so that view is impossible to challenge.

Would they be in exactly the same situation they are in now if they’d gone to, say, St Thomas Aquinas? We can’t exactly set up a control so how would we ever know?

I’m also quite sure there will be women who had a miserable time at Notre Dame. No school is immune from bullying. Some former pupils will have felt they missed out by not socialising with boys.

But then, current pupils who prefer their school the way it is say they socialise with male peers before school, after and at weekends so don’t feel they miss out.

The other question to pose is what exactly is meant by a “good school”. Notre Dame always performs well in the annual school league tables, which are based on how many Highers pupils achieve on leaving school, particularly given the socio-economic background of the cohort.

But this is a very limited measure of how well a school is doing - it doesn’t take into account the specific challenges of a school or the extra-curricular activities it offers.

One argument I find difficult to agree with is that it is sexist to stop boys entering the school. The Equality Act has a provision for allowing single sex facilities.

As a feminist, the idea of reverse sexism doesn’t hold much water. Advocates of single-sex education say girls benefit from not being socialised to think that some subjects - maths or science - are “for boys” and they benefit from being able to study free from sexual harassment.

Others claim that segregating boys and girls doesn’t nothing to tackle the structural inequalities that make these live issues. If education is to prepare young people for life after school then life after school involves people of many genders.

I’m against private education because I don’t believe it’s right to segregate children based on their parents’ economic status and class.

But, if I keep my position consistent, then I would also have to disagree with segregating children based on their or their parents’ religion and, then, with segregating children based on sex yet I can empathise with both sides of this debate even after much, much reading about the issue.

For the parents who are campaigning now, this is an issue in which they have a short term interest. Their child will attend the school for five or six years before moving on, but the impact of the decision will be permanent.

It’s likely Glasgow City Council’s elected officials will not have the final say on the issue. Any decision will presumably be met by a court challenge.

This is a disagreement that will rumble on for some time to come but, while it affects one school, it raises interesting, wider questions: about what we view as a “good” school, how we ensure equal education opportunities for all children and, predominantly, should we still be segregating young people by sex?

For now, as the consultation closes, we can only watch with interest to see what happens next.