The SIC education and families committee voted 10-2 today in favour of retaining secondary education across all junior high schools up to the end of secondary two.
An amendment by Shetland South councillor George Smith, the committee vice-chairman, gained the support of nine of his colleagues.
The original proposal, to close Sandwick and Aith junior highs, was proposed by chairwoman Vaila Wishart but was only supported by one other councillor.
The vote is due for ratification at this afternoon’s full council meeting.
The photograph above was the scene outside Lerwick town hall this morning ahead of the crucial committee meeting. Councillors were asked to consider ending secondary education in Whalsay, Yell and Unst for S3 and S4 pupils from 2015/16. If agreed that would mean youngsters attending the Anderson High School from the beginning of their third year.
It was estimated that close to 200 protesters from the West Side, South Mainland and the North Isles gathered outside the town hall to make their feelings known. Many were waving banners and placards urging councillors to reject the recommendations and to keep the schools open. The messages include: “The West Side won’t budge”, “Whalsay does care” the now well used motto “Our schools our future”.
SIC convener Malcolm Bell accepted a petition from the groups before the crucial meeting started.
A full report of the meeting will follow online, and for comprehensive coverage of the debate and reaction see Friday’s Shetland Times.