Michael Gove has overruled independent advice not to allow the sale of playing fields five times since 2010, it was reported today.
Figures obtained by the Daily Telegraph suggest a total of 30 school playing fields have been approved for sale - more than the 21 previously admitted to by ministers.
A further two applications are currently outstanding, while two have been rejected and another withdrawn.
The Daily Telegraph said the minister normally responsible for taking playing field decisions on behalf of Mr Gove is Lord Hill, the schools minister.
- The overruled decisions related to Woodhouse Middle School in Staffordshire, Clarborough Primary School in Nottinghamshire.
- Other schools include Elliott School in Wandsworth, south-west London, and Ingleton Middle School in North Yorkshire.
- A fifth decision to approve a sale at Netley Primary School in Camden, north London, was approved by ministers despite the application being withdrawn after the initial reports from the independent panel indicated the bid would be rejected unanimously.
- Four of the schools are still operating, apart from Ingleton Middle School, which closed in July
In response to the report, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg has written to the Department for Education's most senior civil servant and said he was "deeply concerned" over the amount of playing fields being sold off.
An extract from the letter says:
Daybreak's Sascha Williams reports.