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Schools: Land

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much land has been bought for educational use in England in (a) the last 12 months and (b) the last 10 years. (229055)

We do not hold information on land that has been bought for educational use in England by local authorities or other educational organisations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how educational land is valued for sale. (229056)

Any application submitted for approval to sell a school playing field, under section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, must include a valuation for the land in question. This valuation must be provided by the district valuer or an independent professionally-qualified valuer. It is expected that schools or local authorities should only sell publicly owned land for best value.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the area of educational land is in England; and what the average amount of land per school is. (229057)

Data on areas of school playing fields and external spaces were supplied to the Department by local education authorities in 2001 and 2003. However, the completeness and quality of data is insufficient to accurately assess the area of land in England that is occupied by schools for educational purposes, or to determine the average amount of land per school.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what restrictions are in place for the selling of educational land for residential use. (229074)

Educational land generally comprises the school buildings and the playing fields. The Secretary of State’s consent is not normally needed to sell school buildings. Before any school or local authority in England can sell a school playing field or any part of a school playing field, they must obtain the Secretary of State’s consent, under section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. In the case of school buildings or playing field land which has been used in the last eight years for a community school, the local authority must seek confirmation from the Secretary of State that the land is not required for the purposes of an academy.

Any subsequent use of land is a matter for the local planning authority.