Andrew Gwynne – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Gwynne on 2016-05-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans she has to consult (a) alternative educational providers, (b) the public and (c) the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish over applications for the disposal for development of the former Two Trees High School site in Denton.

Edward Timpson

The Education Act 2011 requires that the Secretary of State must give consent prior to the disposal of land which has been used for any school or academy in the last eight years. A key consideration for the government is whether the land proposed for disposal could be suitable for use by a new academy or free school.

School playing fields are also protected by Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Schools and local authorities must obtain the Secretary of State’s approval before they can dispose of their land. Applications to dispose of school playing fields are first considered by the school playing fields advisory panel, who make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, before she then makes her final decision.

At this time I am not aware of an application by Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council to seek approval to dispose of the former Two Trees Sports College, including the playing fields.

Should an application be submitted, the Secretary of State would take into account any groups or organisations with permission to use the playing fields and what suitable alternative provision they may have been offered. Local schools, which are deficient in playing field land, should also be offered the opportunity to use the playing field before any application is presented. She will also take into account local school place needs and any academy requirement.