Education and Skills
Ms Kate Hoey (Vauxhall, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times consent has been given to a relaxation of the minimum area standard for team game playing fields at schools, under section 543 of the Education Act 1996 (as amended by paragraph 159 of Schedule 30 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998), in each of the last five years.
Mr Stephen Twigg (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Schools), Department for Education and Skills; Enfield, Southgate, Labour)
The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 set out the minimum size of team game playing fields that should be provided for schools according to the age and number of pupils attending those schools. The Secretary of State's agreement is needed if changes to the team game playing field provision mean that a school falls, or remains, below the minimum required by the Regulations. This means that agreement is also needed if a school already below the required minimum makes any changes to its team game playing fields, even if it results in an increase.
We have no central records before 2000. Six applications were agreed in 2000, 25 in 2001, 11 in 2002, and 9 so far in 2003. Of these 41 approved applications, 31 (75 per cent.) resulted in either no change or an increase in the amount of team game playing field provided for schools.