An action plan which could decide the future of some village schools has been approved by Powys council's board.
Campaigns across Wales have been fought to save village schools
The latest review sets out to examine the state of the buildings and those schools which are over-subscribed or have extra places.
If the plan is approved by full council on 19 January, Powys' 112 primary schools will be judged against the new policy.
Plans to close a dozen schools in the county in 2003 faced fierce opposition.
Other counties in Wales, including Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Swansea and Cardiff, have taken steps to review schools in light of falling pupil numbers.
Following Tuesday's meeting in Llandrindod Wells, a spokesman for Powys Council said: "We want successful pupils and successful schools.
"There was a public consultation last summer and amendments were made in light of that process and following discussions by the education sub-committee and the board.
"The board has now formally approved the policy, but it will become official policy if the full council approves it on 19 January.
"Each school will then be reviewed on the basis of the agreed policy."
Last year, a Powys Council report showed that 40 schools have 25% or more spare places. The objective is to reduce the number of empty seats to 15 schools with 15% spaces by 2007/2008.
In its first review nearly three years ago, Powys Council said that small schools with less than 28 pupils were not viable.
Most were eventually saved, forcing the council to look again at its small schools policy.