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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Has your school lost its playing fields?
Children at a UK primary school are having to practise for their local sports day in the middle of a public road.
The playground at Curledge Street Primary School in Paignton, Devon, has had classrooms built on it, which means there is nowhere big enough to run the 100 metres sprint or to set out hurdles, and the school cannot afford to pay to use local playing fields.
The government claims it has ended the loss of school playing fields, but the National Playing Fields Association claims that a large proportion of applications are still approved.
It says schools are having to sell them to raise money or use them to build new classrooms.
What is your experience? Have you lost your school playing field? Has it affected your education?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
With more of today's parents wary of letting their young children play freely outside, school fields and playgrounds are the only form of exercise some children get. I think it's a great shame that schools are put in the position that they have to raise money by selling off one of the greatest assets they have. I work in a secondary school and at break and lunchtime the majority of children will head out to the field, luckily attached to the school. They run around or play football with friends and generally let off steam. I doubt that these activities would be quite so appealing in the confined, small schoolyard.
Chan Shio Fong, Singapore
I am a pensioner who lives near a school. Most of the children that used the playing fields out of school time were little thugs, involved in vandalism and petty crime. The fields have been sold and houses built - some very nice families have moved in, including some refugees - and the whole neighbourhood has improved.
I grew up in Hong Kong where the only place to go for sports and PE was the concrete playground in which 1000 students would congregate every break. There was barely enough space for anything. I went to the UK for a term when my grandparents were dying and experienced such a different lifestyle when it came not only to sports but also to outdoor life. Sportsmen in HK aren't the best and it's not about it being a small place and not enough people, HK out populates Wales and Scotland, North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (albeit not altogether!) and yet when you look at it they have many more quality sport teams and personalities. It isn't lack of funding either because HK isn't a poor city at all and rumour has it that the HK rugby association is one of the richest per capita. The lack of places to practise is a major contribution to a floundering programme. The space simply gives the option for a higher calibre.
J Black, UK
As a child, I attended infant, junior and secondary schools that had no playing fields, and only a small square of rough, sloping concrete to play upon. We still managed to play rounders, 5-a-side football, netball, and other games. At secondary school the playing field was a 10-minute walk away, across 2 busy roads and down the town's main shopping street. As a result, most PE was taken either in the gym/assembly hall or in the concreted playground.
The trick is to make the most of what you've got. This builds self-reliance and self-esteem in staff and pupils alike, and prepares them better for the challenges of life ahead.
I went to a private school with gorgeous and historic grounds in Somerset, which we happily shared with the local comprehensive for free. However, returning there last weekend I found that the land had been appropriated by the council to build a bypass. Now, my old school has further grounds outside the town, and the means to get its pupils there, but the comprehensive is now reduced to using a rather nasty concrete area.
In my studying time at primary school, there was limited space for sports and play. There was also lack of facilities. But nowadays, schools are big enough. They have their own playground and have good facilities such as computer room and library etc. They have a better study environment than that I had.
Schools in the Cardiff area have had to sell off land to raise money.
This is an absolute disgrace. No swimming, no field sports. Just burgers and chips and a quick fag!
My old school sold off a large chunk of land for houses to be built on it. Now the school playing fields are 2 miles away - a bit too far to go for a game of footy at lunch time!
Craig Barber, England,
In my school there isn't a really big playing field, but for the 1000 metres, we just run around the school a couple of times. If we are really stuck, we hire a playing field!
03 Jul 01 | Education
Lack of field makes pupils road runners
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