POWYS councillors have declined the power to decide the future of the county’s secondary schools.

Instead councillors have agreed the full council should have the opportunity to discuss proposed secondary school closures and make a recommendation to the cabinet, which will remain the final decision making body.

Conservative councillors Gary Price and Aled Davies had put forward a motion that decision on major changes to primary and secondary schools should be taken by all 73 councillors rather than the cabinet.

But an amendment, put forward by Llanafan councillor David Price, instead won the support of councillors.

That said the full council should have the opportunity to meet and discuss recommendations related to secondary schools effected by the council’s transformation policy and the council’s opinion should be put to the cabinet - which will remain as the decision making body.

Cllr Price said it was a "pragmatic way forward" but Rhayader member Kelvin Curry hit back and said: "It’s not pragmatic, it is a fudge. It is smoke and mirrors and the position will be exactly as it is now."

Council leader Barry Thomas warned councillors they would have to be prepared to take tough decisions if they gave themselves the power to decide if schools should close or stay open.

"If the council is going to take responsibility to make these important decisions you must make sure you treat everybody the same.

"We have got high schools in deficit. The status quo can’t continue .

"If you vote to take responsibility you must be prepared to to take these difficult decisions.

"The people of Powys will expect you to do it and get the raise the standard of education in the county. It is so important for children’s education."

There was confusion after 28 councillors voted in favour of Cllr Dvid Price’s proposal with 27 voting against.

Council solicitor Clive Penny said the amendment had become the substantive motion and the original motion, put forward by the Conservatives, was defeated.

A second vote, to accept Cllr Price’s position, or retain the current policy of only the cabinet deciding, without having to consult the full council, was then put to councillors. That was supported by 38 councillors, with only 10 voting against, three councillors abstained.