Ceredigion schools: Full council decisions 'more democratic'
Groups opposing primary school closures in Ceredigion have welcomed the news that decisions will now be taken by the full council rather than the cabinet.
They say it is "good for democracy" that responsibility now lies with all 42 of the council's members rather than the eight-strong cabinet.
The move comes after amendments to the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.
Consultation on plans to close five primary schools ends on 28 February.
Pupils at Tregaron and Llanddewi Brefi primaries may be moved to an expanded Tregaron secondary school providing education from the ages of 3 to 16.
The futures of Dihewyd, Trefilan and Llanafan primary schools are also in doubt.
Councillors voted to take over responsibility for schools from the cabinet at a recent meeting.
Hywel Glyn Ifans, a campaigner for 20-pupil Dihewyd primary school, said: "I am happy with the decision to take control away from the cabinet because it is more democratic for all the councillors to decide the future of a school."
Byron Jenkins, a governor at Llanafan school with 24 pupils, said: "I believe that the cabinet's hands have been tied because of council officer influence which means that cabinet members don't have any room to manoeuvre.
"I hope the change will mean that councillors who have seen how school closures have affected their communities will have a say in our future."
Llanddewi Brefi school currently has 30 pupils on its register.
Rhodri Evans, a local county councillor and chairman of the school's governors, said: "I hope the change will mean that councillors who have seen how school closures have affected their communities will understand our position.
"Closing a primary school means closing the community."
Comedian Matt Lucas has previously supported a campaign to save Llanddewi Brefi school.
Lucas, whose character Daffyd in the Little Britain TV series was the "only gay in the village", wrote to the school in June 2013 saying he hoped it would stay open "to support the local community".
But Ceredigion council is looking at moving Llanddewi Brefi school's pupils to nearby Tregaron secondary because pupil costs are too high.
As part of the plans, the authority wants to turn Tregaron secondary into a school for three to 16-year-olds. It could also lose its sixth-form.
The council is restructuring primary education, saying there are 1,000 fewer children in Ceredigion than a decade ago.
A Ceredigion council spokesman said the local authority had "exercised its discretion" on two sections of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 by transferring responsibility from the cabinet to the council.