Senior pupils at secondary schools throughout Moray have returned a resounding rejection of independence for Scotland.
In a mock referendum held in all of the region’s eight secondary schools 71.3% said they did not wish Scotland to become an independent country, with 28.7% delivering a Yes vote.
The mock referendum was conducted to help pupils understand the election process ahead of the real thing in September, which will allow young people under the age of 18 to vote for the first time.
Organised by the Moray Youth Council a total of 1712 students were eligible to vote in the exercise.
Polling was conducted at the same time in each school under the same conditions as the independence referendum, with ballot boxes transported to Milne’s High School in Fochabers for a count on Wednesday evening.
Speaking ahead of the count Louise Cameron, who is vice-chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “It is a massive accomplishment that 16 and 17-year-olds can vote in the referendum as this was what the Scottish Youth Parliament has been campaigning for.”
Pupils representing both sides of the debate had campaigned within their schools ahead of the polls.
The result will come as a blow for Yes campaigners in Moray with only one school – Buckie High – providing a vote in favour of independence by 52% to 48%. The heaviest defeat for the Yes campaign came at Forres Academy, where 21% vote for independence while 79% voted against.
The results in full
Buckie High School – Yes (64) 52%, No (59) 48%
Elgin Academy – Yes (56) 22%, No (199) 78%
Elgin High – Yes (42) 34%, No (81) 66%
Forres Academy – Yes (40) 21%, No (148) 79%
Keith Grammar – Yes (10) 40%, No 15 (60%)
Lossiemouth High – Yes (29) 25%, No (86) 75%
Milne’s High – Yes (25) 26%, No (72) 74%
Speyside High – Yes (11) 29%, No (27) 71%
Overall – Yes (277) 29%, No (687) 71.3%
The total of 964 votes cast represented a turnout of 56.3%.