Powys Welsh medium sixth form plans dropped by council
Plans in Powys to centralise Welsh-medium education for sixth forms at three schools have been dropped.
The council suggests making post-16 education in Welsh available in different area clusters where it is keen for schools to form closer ties.
It had intended centralising provision in Welsh at schools in Builth Wells, Llanfair Caereinion and Llanfyllin.
The council has been reviewing secondary education but no schools or sixth forms will close under its plans.
The future of Welsh-medium sixth forms is part of the authority's wider shake-up of secondary education which has prompted protests from parents.
Powys council said a year ago it wanted the county's 13 high schools to form closer working relationships following concerns that some schools could merge.
The council said on Wednesday it was updating its Welsh education strategic plan.
It said it was prioritising "two fundamental issues" - increasing the number of Welsh medium pupils in the early years and primary sectors, and improving the Welsh medium curriculum offer for secondary and post-16 pupils.
The authority said the move signalled a change of direction.
Myfanwy Alexander, council cabinet member for learning and leisure, said: "Schools are already collaborating as learning partnerships (families of schools) and we think that the best way of delivering a sustainable, high-quality Welsh medium curriculum is for schools to work together.
"Our aim is to have at least one lead provider for Welsh medium post-16 curriculum within each partnership".
The council said Builth Wells, Llanfair Caereinion and Llanfyllin sixth forms would continue to be bilingual.
Ms Alexander added: "We have reviewed the original proposals and considered the feedback of the public at the time, resulting in a change of direction.
"We believe that this is the way forward to providing equality of opportunity for learners in a large and rural county like Powys."
The council's cabinet will consider the revised Welsh education strategic plan later this year.