Letters: Gove plays fast and loose on play space

The Department for Education’s “mistake” over the extent of school sports fields sold and Michael Gove’s overruling of expert advice (Report, 17 August), need to be seen in the context of the academy conversion policy. As The Land magazine reports, over half of secondary school land in England has now been handed over to private trusts accountable only to the secretary of state. All of this land once belonged to the public through its local council. The DfE is unable to quantify this because it doesn’t keep records, but in Somerset alone it amounts to around 100 hectares already. And, if the secretary of state agrees, it can be sold off. Some Olympic legacy.
Nigel Gann
Chiselborough, Somerset

• There’s surely nothing surprising about the government’s “relaxed regulations” on the provision of recreation space on school sites (Report, 15 August). Mr Gove’s priority is to accelerate the emergence of free schools, answerable only to him. They are already free to employ unqualified teachers and to ignore the national curriculum. Why would he want to saddle them with a tiresome and expensive requirement to provide playing space?
Michael Storm

• Who bought the playing fields? Anyone following the money?
Rodney Touche
Holmwood, Surrey

• A baby boom is under way in the UK. It is surely poor judgment to sell off any playing fields.
David Hurry
Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex

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