He ignored advice from the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel five times in the last 15 months, and approved the sale of school playing fields despite the panel’s contrary recommendations.
There is also evidence that the number of sales approved is far higher than the 21 admitted by the Coalition earlier this month, and previously cited in news reports. In fact the Government received 35 applications to sell school playing fields between May 2010 and July 2012, and approved the sales on at least 30 occasions.
David Simmonds, Tory chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, which has a representative on the panel, said:
“We are concerned that ministers seem to be increasingly disregarding the advice of the independent School Playing Fields Advisory Panel…..We are also concerned that this is likely to become more of a problem in years to come as we see more and more schools taking on academy status and becoming exempt from the guidance that applies to other schools. However, the sad reality is that some schools may feel selling their outside space is the only viable option open to them.”
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