The Scottish Government will be taken to court unless it sanctions the closure of four Western Isles schools.
After seeking legal advice, the Western Isles Council have been informed that they have grounds to challenge the decision to save Carloway and Seilebost Primaries, and Shawbost and Lionel secondary schools.
The Education Minister said the council had failed to properly evaluate the proposed closures and that if they challenged the Government, there is a chance the schools could be saved.
The local authority may now seek a judicial review.
Councillor Iain Morrison, representing the Isle of Lewis ward, said: “The parents don’t want the schools to close because it means their children would have to travel longer.
"The case has been made to other parts of the island and the parents are adamant that they do not want their kids travelling for more than an hour to school, every morning and every afternoon. To me we have to listen to the parents."
Councillor Angus Campbell, the Western Isles Council Leader, said: "If people look at the bigger picture of how we use our resources to make a better education for all the children, we are actually going in the best direction.
"HMI said themselves that there was educational advantages to all our proposals. That’s a very important point to hold onto. I understand that communities lose hope if they think they’re losing something, but we are really trying to hold onto hope.”