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School Playing Fields

Volume 549: debated on Monday 3 September 2012

No disposal of publicly funded playing field land at an academy may take place without the Secretary of State’s consent. The Government will agree to the sale of playing fields only if the sports and curriculum needs of the academy and its neighbouring schools can continue to be met. Sale proceeds must be used to improve sports and education facilities.

The Secretary of State made sure that academies were accountable only to himself and then decided that all state schools should become academies. But he gets his figures wrong on playing fields, overrules his own advisers, exempts academies from most of his own policies and, in any case, focuses all his time and his Department’s money on free schools. How can we have confidence in him on sport or anything else?

I am proud of the success of academies and free schools, but they are not the only thing that the Government are doing; we are also making sure that we improve inspection, teacher recruitment, the curriculum and examinations. As for playing fields, we have ensured that the rules have changed so that they are better protected under this Government than they were under the last one.