Any hopes of saving the last two year secondary in the Outer Isles were dashed with confirmation that ministers will not intervene to save S1/S2 provision at Lionel School on Lewis.

In February the casting vote by the convener of the Western Isles Council Norman Macdonald was required to carry the closure decision, after councillors were split 15-15.

The vote left some parents in tears. It heralded the end of a network of such Hebridean schools that had served generations of island pupils.

After that, only intervention by the Scottish Government could prevent the closure of the school in Ness at the north end of Lewis.

But ministers have decided not to call in the authority's decision, meaning it will come into force.

Catriona Stewart, Chair of the Western Isles Council's Education and Children's Services committee, said:

"Discontinuing education provision is never an easy process and so it proved in the proposals for Lionel. However, this was always about providing the best possible education for pupils and whilst I recognise there were concerns amongst parents and pupils it is now important that we move on and provide that education for the benefit of the pupils. The Education Department will begin discussions with parents and pupils next week with a view to putting in place arrangements for a smooth transition period."

She said she was pleased that the Scottish Government recognised that the council had met its obligations during what had been a difficult period for both the community and the authority.

It will leave pupils with an hour's journey to get to the Nicolson Institute, the senior secondary school in Stornoway, from next session.