Tuesday 6 July 2010

Coalition plans to abandon playing field protection

Amidst the understandable outrage among schools losing their BSF expectations, there has been little attention paid to the terms of reference of the review of capital funding that has been introduced alongside the cancellation of 700 planned new schools. Buried in the terms of reference is the following:

Reducing the burden on schools

· To review and reform the requirements on schools including the building/School Premises Regulations, design requirements and playing field regulations.

In other words, the coalition is considering removing the requirement introduced by Labour that playing fields can only be sold where they provide new sports facilities, like a new sports hall. Currently, a school wishing to dispose of a playing field is considered against three main criteria:
  • that playing field provision and curriculum requirements at the school making the disposal, and at other local schools, are met
  • that community use of a school's playing fields is taken into account
  • that any sale proceeds are re-invested:
    firstly, to provide new or improved outdoor sports facilities;
    secondly, to provide new or improved indoor sports facilities; or
    thirdly, to be used to help raise standards by providing educational facilities.
While not eliminating sales, the requirement had greatly reduced their number by creating a presumption against such sales, and each sale has required explicit DFE approval. Now it would appear that despite plenty of bluster in opposition, the Coalition wants to relax these requirements.

That ought to boost England's sporting chances in the future.

Hopi Sen, like my anonymous commentator below (please don't be so shy), has been reading too many conspiracy theories. Hasn't he?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Given the property guy for Tesco's is on the review team, it's not hard to speculate the sort of guidance to follow ?

Not that he would consider his own firm's land supply interests of course.