HC Deb 25 February 2002 vol 380 cc733-7W
Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list applications made to her Department in the last three years for consent to allow development on school playing fields giving in each case(a) the outcome of the application, (b) what steps were taken to ascertain whether adequate sports facilities would remain if permission were granted and (c) where consent was given, what assurances were secured as to how proceeds of sale would be used. [33633]

Mr. Timms

Although the Department does not collect information in the form requested, the following table lists applications to dispose of areas equal to, or larger than, a sports pitch, together with their outcome.

Before October 1998, there was nothing to prevent a local authority selling a school playing field if it wanted to. Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was introduced in October 1998 to stop the

Applications to dispose of school sports pitches which have been approved by the Secretary of State
Local education authority School Date applied
Barnet Ashmole School 15 December 1998
Bedfordshire Silver Jubilee Middle School 30 April 1999
Bedfordshire Ashton St. Peter VA School 29 September 2000
Birmingham Broadway School 11 June 2001
Blackpool Collegiate High School 13 December 1999
Bolton St. James's CofE School 24 July 1998
Bristol Monks Park Secondary School 28 October 1998
Buckinghamshire Bellfield First and Middle Schools 22 February 1999
Buckinghamshire Terriers County First School 10 May 1999
Buckinghamshire Downley Middle School 12 January 2000
Buckinghamshire Heights First School 12 January 2000
Calderdale Brooksbank School 1 July 1998
Cheshire St. James CofE Junior School 30 November 1998
Cheshire Colshaw CP School 30 June 1999
Cheshire Westlands High School 17 November 1999
Cheshire Manor Park Infant School 27 November 2000
Cheshire Brookside County Infant School 5 February 2001
Croydon Haling Manor High School 4 January 1999
Derbyshire Noel Baker Community School 2 November 1998
Derbyshire Western Mere School 2 February 1999
Derbyshire Pingle School 26 July 2000
Devon Highweek Primary School 17 August 1999
Dorset Fosters School 7 December 1998
Dudley Colley Lane Primary School 11 October 2001
Dudley Summerhill Secondary School 11 October 2001
Durham The Avenue Comprehensive School 19 May 1999
Durham Westwood Primary School 31 July 2000
Essex The Stanway School 17 November 1998
Essex Moulsham High School 18 January 1999
Essex Oakview Special School 10 April 2000
Essex Tabor High School 29 January 2001
Gloucestershire Churchdown School 3 December 1997
Gloucestershire The Catholic School of St. Gregory the Great 26 July 1999
Gloucestershire Oxstalls Community School 25 November 1999
Halton Ashley Special School 6 November 1998
Hammersmith and Fulham Gibbs Green Special School 8 March 1999
Hammersmith and Fulham Burlington Danes School 16 March 1999
Havering Frances Bardsley School for Girls 13 August 1999
Kent St. Thomas' Special School 12 May 1999
Kent St. Simon Stock School 13 December 1999
Kent Allhallows Primary School 12 July 2001
Knowsley Sylvester School 12 August 1999
Lancashire St. Richards RC High School 15 December 1998
Lancashire St. Thomas Acquinas RC High School 5 February 1999
Lancashire Baines High School 15 November 2000
Leeds Lawnswood School 21 November 2000
Leeds Oakwood Primary School 21 November 2000

indiscriminate sale of school playing fields. Local authorities and governing bodies of all maintained schools are now required to obtain the Secretary of State's consent before disposing of playing fields or any part of a playing field. Applications to dispose, or change the use, of school playing fields are assessed against the following criteria;

  1. (a) schools' needs: that playing field provision and curriculum requirements at the school making the disposal, and at other schools in the local area, will be met;
  2. (b) community needs: that community use of a school's playing fields is taken into account, with alternative facilities made available if necessary;
  3. (c) finance: that any sale proceeds are re-invested to provide new or improved sports facilities at schools, or are used to help to raise standards by providing better educational facilities.

Only those applications that meet the criteria are approved. Since July 2001, all applications have been scrutinised by the independent School Playing Fields Advisory Panel to make sure that they conform to the published criteria. The Panel comprises representatives from the National Playing Fields Association, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, the education organisation Learning through Landscapes, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Local Government Association.

Applications to dispose of school sports pitches which have been approved by the Secretary of State
Local education authority School Date applied
Leeds Roundhay School 21 November 2000
Leeds Wetherby High School 19 September 2001
Liverpool Childwall Comprehensive School 9 April 2001
Milton Keynes Denbigh School 16 November 1998
Milton Keynes Castles First School 6 August 1999
Norfolk Redgate Middle School 12 April 2000
North-East Lines Hereford Technology College 13 November 2000
North Tyneside St. Mary's Roman Catholic School 22 December 1998
North Yorkshire Settle CE Primary School 20 November 1998
Northamptonshire John Lea Secondary School 14 August 2000
Northumberland St. Benet Biscop RC Aided High School 5 February 1999
Northumberland Gallowhill Hall Special School 18 February 2000
Nottinghamshire Manor Comprehensive School 14 April 2000
Nottinghamshire Lincoln Street Infant School 14 July 2000
Oldham Kaskenmoor Secondary School 29 October 1999
Oxfordshire Wallingford School 16 June 2000
Peterborough The King's School 8 May 1998
Peterborough Deacons School 28 July 1998
Peterborough The King's School 27 September 2000
Rochdale Spring Hill High School 7 May 1999
Rochdale Middleton Technology School 28 March 2001
Sefton Litherland Moss County Primary School 22 March 1999
Shropshire Lower Grove School 2 February 2001
Somerset King Arthur's Comprehensive School 24 March 1999
Somerset Ladymead Comprehensive School 6 April 1999
Staffordshire Sir Graham Balfour High School 25 June 1999
Surrey Rosebery School 6 January 1998
Surrey Okewood District CE School 30 November 1998
Surrey Merland Rise CP School 8 January 1999
Surrey Banstead County Junior School and St. Anne's RC Primary School 27 May 1999
Surrey Park Mead Junior School 8 March 2000
Surrey Boxgrove Primary School 13 April 2000
Tameside Egerton Park High School 17 January 2000
Telford and Wrekin Blessed Robert Johnson School 26 March 1999
Wakefield South Elmsall Middle School 10 December 1998
Wakefield Kinsley First School 13 January 1999
Wakefield Kinsley First School 30 July 1999
Walsall Beacon School 18 December 1998
Walsall St. Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School 18 April 2001
Warwickshire Attleborough First School 11 December 1998
Warwickshire Exhall First School 21 July 1999
Warwickshire Binley Woods First School 3 August 1999
Warwickshire Stratford-upon-Avon High School 14 August 2000
Warwickshire Marie Corelli School 21 August 2000
West Sussex Hazelwick School 7 February 2000
Wigan Hindley Borsdane Brook Special School 11 February 1999
Wigan Rose Hill Special School 11 February 1999
Wigan Tyldesley Highfield Special School 11 February 1999
Wigan Orrell Holgate Primary School 4 December 2000
Wiltshire Castle Combe Primary School 7 August 2000
Wolverhampton St. Peters Collegiate School 25 November 1998
Wolverhampton Aldersley High School 4 December 1998
Worcestershire Callowbrook First School 6 November 2000


  1. 1. Sports pitch' means areas of open grassed land which are equal to, or larger than, the Football Association's recommended area for games played by under-10s, that is 2,000m2 and which have a configuration making them suitable for sports pitches (whether they are so laid out or not).
  2. 2. The table excludes applications withdrawn by the applicant and applications where schools would retain the same, or a better, level of access to the same sports pitch or to an equivalent sports pitch.
  3. 3. The table includes applications from grant-maintained schools, where the application was made under section 231 of the Education Act 1996 but the decision was made in accordance with the draft criteria and then the criteria published in Circular No. 3/99, "The Protection of School Playing Fields". It also includes applications in respect of foundation and voluntary schools considered under Schedule 22 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 since 1 September 1999.

Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many(a) primary schools, (b) secondary schools, (c) colleges of further education and (d) local authorities have (i) playing fields, (ii) sports pitches, (iii) swimming pools and (iv) athletic tracks; and if she will provide the figures for each year since 1992. [36726]

John Healey

As part of the data collected for local education authorities asset management plans, the Department has information on the numbers of playing fields, team game playing fields and swimming pools at primary and secondary schools. The team game playing field data do not distinguish between sports pitches, athletic tracks, or other outdoor team game areas. The Department is currently validating the data with a view to publishing the analysis later this year.

The data referred to above were collected mainly in 2000. The Department does not hold data for previous or subsequent years.

The Department does not hold the requested information for colleges of further education or for local authorities.