Latest Public Sector News

07.08.12

School playing field sell-off continues

The Government has approved 21 school playing field sell-offs despite a promise to protect them, according to the Guardian newspaper.

The Coalition Agreement says the Government will “seek to protect school playing fields”, but in fact education secretary Michael Gove has approved 21 of 22 requests made to sell playing fields since the 2010 election. 

A DfE spokesman told the newspaper that ministers would only allow playing fields to be sold if the sports needs of schools can continue to be met, adding: “Sale proceeds must be used to improve sports or education facilities and any new sports facilities must be sustainable for at least 10 years.” 

Sale approvals have been happening at a similar rate as they did under the final years of the Labour government, which the Conservatives described when in opposition as a betrayal of the commitment to school sport. 

Don Earley, deputy chief executive of Fields in Trust, which seeks to safeguard recreational spaces, told the paper: “It is key that we endeavour to protect all outdoor recreational facilities, and are aware of the threats to them, particularly now as the whole country enjoys our Olympic success.” 

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