Lord Lexden – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Lexden on 2015-11-02.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the sale of the playing fields of over 100 schools since 2010 on the physical fitness of young people.

Lord Nash

The Government does not approve the sale of playing fields but assesses applications from schools and local authorities to dispose of them. A disposal can include a lease of the playing fields to a third-party commercial organisation with the fields, following investment and improvement, continuing to be used by the school.

It is neither the government nor the Department for Education that instigate the disposal of playing fields. It is the local authorities, academies or schools that seek consent to convert these often surplus or un-used fields to enable them to invest in school sport or education. However, there is strict control in place which requires an assessment of the facilities available to pupils. The government will only give permission to dispose of school playing fields if it is clearly demonstrated that they are surplus to requirements and the sports and curriculum needs of the school and its neighbouring schools will continue to be met.

Since any approved disposal would not impact on the provision of the sports curriculum at the school/s, no follow up studies on the sale of playing fields has been undertaken.