Hundreds of pupils at a Highland school have gone to the polls in a mock referendum on Scottish independence.
Voting has begun at Nairn Academy, which has 770 schoolchildren – and the result will be announced on Friday morning.
Organisers hope that the exercise will provide a template for other secondary schools to follow as part of a major exercise in the Highlands to raise awareness of the democratic process, particularly in the run up to the real independence referendum on 18 September next year.
The mock referendum is being organised by the school community in partnership with election officials at Highland Council.
Senior pupils Finlay Allmond and Ellena Leslie will be playing a key role in promoting the election and acting as the Presiding Officers at the count.
Other senior pupils have helped to generate interest in the mock referendum by promoting the ‘yes” or ‘no’ campaigns.
Polling cards were issued to all pupils on Monday 11 November and this was followed up on Monday 18 November with a debate - with senior pupils arguing the case for and against voting for the proposition: “Should Scotland be an independent country”.
Head Teacher Julie Macdonald said: “The school takes an active involvement in the Highland Youth Voice and in public debating and we are delighted to be the first school in the Highlands to organise a mock referendum on Scottish independence.
“I have left it to senior pupils at the school to generate the interest in the event and ensure we achieve a really good turn out at the ballot box. It will give them good experience at organising a major event.
“It will also give the younger pupils a better understanding of the issues and the process that goes with voting in a referendum.”
Councillor Drew Millar, Chair, Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee, said: “We are delighted that Nairn Academy has offered to organise the first of what we hope will be a series of mock events linked to the Scottish Independence referendum.
“It is clearly a subject that will interest young people and I am sure there will be an excellent turn out on the day of the vote.
“The aim is to encourage younger people to engage with the voting process and this is an excellent way to generate interest.”