.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Another Labour own goal?

With the Olympics in full swing Labour have been desperate to find anything that will show that the UK Coalition Government is not getting into the spirit of the games. It was no surprise therefore that they were keen to make capital from their own freedom of information request that found that education secretary, Michael Gove, has approved of the disposal of more than 20 school playing fields since the coalition came to power two years ago, despite a pledge to protect sports pitches from development.

However, all is not how it seems. The Department for Education has responded with details of the 21 playing fields approved for disposal:

Of the 21 playing fields we approved for disposal 14 were schools that had closed, four were sites that became surplus when existing schools amalgamated. Of the other three:

•One was surplus marginal grassland on the school site. Proceeds of the sale were invested in the school library development and sports changing facilities.

•One was leased to a company to redevelop and improve a playing field (for the school’s use) that was subject to poor drainage and under used. Funding introduced all-weather playing surfaces comprising of four 5-a-side pitches, two 7-a-side pitches, a full sized football and hockey pitch and a six-court indoor tennis facility. The school also profited from private hire of facilities outside school hours.

•One was due to be leased to an Athletics Club to improve sporting provision for the Club and the school, although in this case the project did not go ahead.

We will only agree to the sale of school playing fields if the sports and curriculum needs of schools and their neighbouring schools can continue to be met. Sale proceeds must be used to improve sports or education facilities and any new sports facilities must be sustainable for at least 10 years.

What is worse from Labour's point of view is that Education Department then goes on to give details of how many playing fields were sold off by them when they were in government. A total of 212 playing fields were sold off by the last Labour Government. No doubt they had good reasons as well.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?