Powys Council should be spending money on "education, not bricks and mortar", a meeting to discuss the latest stage of a county school closure heard.

The future of Llanfihangel Rhydithon primary school in Dolau, between Llandrindod Wells and Knighton, was discussed by councillors at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 28.

Last week the authority's learning and skills committee recommended postponing a decision to go ahead with the next stage of the closure process, with alternative proposed including federating with Llanelwedd primary school or becoming a dual stream and eventually Welsh medium primary school.

And Cllr Hywel Lewis claimed that the actual cost per pupil is £4,939 not the £6,306 shown in the council report – adding that in 2016 talks had taken place between the school, the council and Swansea and Brecon diocese for Llafihangel Rhydithon to become a faith school.

This would have made the process for federating with Llanelwedd, which is a Church in Wales primary school, much easier.

County Times: Hywel Lewis argued for alternatives to shutting the school.Hywel Lewis argued for alternatives to shutting the school.

But cabinet members opted to go ahead with the launch of a formal objection period, after which the cabinet will receive another report on those objections.

Education portfolio holder Cllr Phyl Davies said: “These are very emotive and difficult decisions, we have been criticised by the regulator (Estyn) part of the problem is we’re spreading our money and support too thinly within our schools.

“We should be spending our money on education not bricks and mortar.”

It is expected that the school would close on August 31, and it would save the council £59,000 a year.

Welsh and adult services portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander said: “The alternative propositions don’t seem to show any profound understanding of the way in which Welsh language education works.”

She explained that if Llanfihangel Rhydithon became dual stream it would effectively need to have two sets of staff in one building.

Cllr Alexander explained that if the 36 pupils were split into two language streams of 18 each: “the cost of staffing would be astronomical.”

Cllr Alexander said “You would have children of aged four and 11 being taught together, there is no evidence anywhere that is anything other than deleterious to learners.

“It fails for impossibility.”

She also pointed out that there weren’t enough Welsh speaking teachers in either the Powys primary or secondary school sectors to justify a small school to receive a “scarce resource to benefit a small number of pupils”.