Councillors in the Highlands have voted to introduce changes that would see several clusters of primary schools overseen by just one head teacher.
Proposals that would see groups of up to half a dozen schools under one head have been criticised for a lack of consultation for parents.
Plans for five clusters have been approved by councillors.
Two others involving feeder schools to academies in Farr, Sutherland, and Mallaig have been deferred.
The Mallaig set up involves the clustering of eight feeder schools.
Further consultation is to be done on a cluster involving Kinlochbervie High School.
Approved at a meeting of the council's education committee were the creation of clusters of feeder schools to six secondary schools - Dornoch, Kilchuimen, Lochaber in Fort William, Plockton and Millburn in Inverness.
Education chief Jim Stephen said the move was not about saving money, but about enhancing pupils' education.
The local authority has had issues recruiting head teachers to some schools.
Critics of the plans include Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, who said there has been a lack of public consultation.
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