The Government could be preparing to back down on its plans to convert all council-run schools into academies.
According to newspaper reports, education secretary Nicky Morgan will allow some councils will be able to run their own multi-academy trusts.
There are also rumours that local authorities will retain powers to force academies to take vulnerable pupils or those with special needs.
The County Councils’ Network (CCN) warned the plans could threaten the viability of many rural schools.
CNN finance spokesman, Cllr David Borrow, said: ‘A one-size-fits-all national funding formulae and the continued push by government towards full academisation will remove any local discretion on how best to distribute funding to deliver the best outcomes for local children and counter any short-term difficulties faced by rural schools.’
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘Our White Paper reforms are the next step in ensuring every child has access to an excellent education by putting control in the hands of the teachers and school leaders who know their pupils best.’