Michael Gove has rubber-stamped 30 sell-offs of school playing fields, new figures have shown - and one in six went against official advice.
The Education Minister was keeping a low profile today after the Department for Education apologised for incomplete data which previously suggested only 21 sales had been authorised since 2010.
Five of the sites were sold in defiance of recommendations from his independent Schools Playing Fields Advisory Panel - more than were lost in an entire decade under the previous Labour government.
Only two sales have been rejected, while two others are pending and one has been withdrawn.
But pressure group Fields In Trust warned the real rate of sell-offs could be even higher with the rise of free schools and academies, which do not have to run deals past the department.
A spokeswoman for the charity said they also feared for newly drafted regulations replacing a minimum size and number of playing fields with "suitable outdoor space."
The coalition needed to rewrite its "rather woolly" rules and force free schools and academies to report their sales.
But any sell-offs were bad news, she said.
"Whether that's 21 or 30, it's a concern."
One such deal, Wandsworth Council's sale of Elliot School's fields, was approved less than a month ago - with the minister again defying the panel.
The council reported cash reserves of £106m last year - but Mr Gove's office apparently overruled requirements that fields be sold only as a last resort.
GMB regional secretary said it was "essential" that future deals be put before a Commons select committee.
"All the evidence points to a cynical backroom stitch-up between Gove and the Wandsworth Tories over funding the Bolingbroke free school in Battersea."
The Tory-controlled council had known Elliott needed refurbishment since 2010 - but had spent £40m on building new free schools in the borough instead, he said.
"The parents and staff rightly want to see the refurbishment, but not at the expense of the playing fields," he said.
A Department for Education spokesman insisted the "extremely strict rules on playing fields will stay firmly in place."
"This government has only approved sales if the school has closed, has merged, or if equal or better facilities are being put in their place," he said.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue