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School Playing Fields

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications his Department has received under Schedule 22 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to sell school playing fields; and how many such applications have been (a) accepted and (b) refused. (94665)

Schedule 22 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA) requires the governing or foundation body of a voluntary or foundation school to obtain the Secretary of State's consent before disposing of any land that has been provided or enhanced at public expense. Any such application that involves a school playing field will be assessed against the same criteria as playing field applications made by local authorities under Section 77 of the SSFA.

Since October 1998, there have been 37 applications under Schedule 22 to the SSFA that involve the disposal of a school playing field. Of these, 27 have been approved, two have been rejected and eight were withdrawn. Prior to 1998 only grant maintained schools needed to obtain the Secretary of State's consent before disposing of any land, including playing fields.