215 playing fields sold off in less than a decade
MORE than 200 school playing fields have been sold off in the past nine years, research has found.
The Government faced a backlash yesterday as campaigners warned a lack of outdoor space could hamper pupils’ mental health as well as their fitness.
Research by the GMB union suggests that since May 2010, 215 school playing fields have been sold across England. Reasons include school closures or mergers, drainage problems, and making way for affordable housing – but headteachers have also admitted schools face pressure to raise cash after funding cuts.
The figures come amid growing concerns about childhood obesity. Nicola Butler, chairman of Play England, said: ‘Leadership is needed to ensure that children are able to play every day.’
A Department for Education spokesman said the figures represented ‘only a small proportion of the thousands of schools in England’.