Controversial plans to mothball a rural secondary school have been blocked after councillors accepted a motion to suspend the proposals.

Officials at Dumfries and Galloway Council had sought to mothball Dalry Secondary School, claiming that the falling school roll meant that pupils would be better served by transferring to Castle Douglas High School instead. However, local campaigners opposed the plans and accused the council of the “managed decline” of the school and the use of an “accelerated mothballing process” intended to “sidestep the need to formally consult on closure".

A decision had been due to be made during a meeting on 14 March, but the proposal was pulled from the agenda after independent councillor Dougie Campbell submitted an emergency motion to prevent the closure of the school. The emergency motion was also withdrawn as a result. The council has also been forced to admit that it does not have an agreed policy on mothballing secondary schools.

However, Councillor Campbell resubmitted the motion for the subsequent full council meeting, calling for "immediate cessation of secondary school mothballing, including Dalry Secondary School, for a period agreed by Full Council, and for community impact assessment and alternative education options to be embedded in a secondary school mothballing policy."

At the 28 March meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cllr Campbell’s motion was passed by consensus, meaning that a vote was not necessary.

Campaigners have praised the decision to halt the mothballing process and reconsider the impact that closure would have on their community, the effect of which has been to ‘open a door to the future for the Glenkens.’ They said that they will now “be pushing for alternative education models going forward to ensure Dalry Secondary is properly managed and achieves the educational excellence it has the potential for.”

Councillor Dougie Campbell told The Herald that he is "delighted for the Glenkens campaigners", and added that "the Education department have to a knowledge the main thrust of the motion in regards to community engagement."

Labour councillor Linda Dorward has called also for the council to use the latest developments as an opportunity to research new approaches that might help to address rural depopulation in areas like Dalry and the Glenkens.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has been approached for comment.