Charlotte Church’s alternative school is ejected from its forest home

  • The Arwen Project in Dinas Powys, Wales, taught pupils in ‘tribes’ under trees 

A woodland school founded by Charlotte Church has been denied permission to teach outdoors by health and safety officials.

The 37-year-old singer set up The Awen Project four years ago with husband Jonathan Powell to ‘transform education’.

Pupils were given ‘creative freedom’ to learn and study through a network of ‘tribes’, and had lessons under trees.

But the Woodland Trust has ripped up its permission for outdoor schooling, blaming ‘multiple breaches’ that harm visitors and wildlife within the ancient woodland.

The Trust said permission to use Cwm George and Case Hill Wood in Dinas Powys, south Wales, was terminated due to safety concerns, including human waste and chemical containers left on the site, and felling of trees.

An alternative school set up by singer Charlotte Church has been forced to find a new home

The Arwen project, which teaches pupils in Cwm George and Cas Hill Wood in Dinas Powys, south Wales has been told it can no longer run classes in the woodlands due to risks to wildlife

In a statement, Ms Church said the charity had been unable to ‘keep going against the big guys’ and was now forced to search for a new home.

She said: ‘My wonderful educational charity The Awen Project needs your help. They’ve lost their beautiful woodland home in south Wales, and are in desperate need of finding a new place to run the project from.

‘Despite our best efforts to salvage an effective and mutually beneficial partnership with Woodland Trust, unfortunately they have revoked our license agreement, meaning that we can no longer deliver our outcomes for the children and families that we support or keep striving to change how we access excellent education for all children.

‘It has been a rollercoaster – and we tried so hard to stay where we were – but as a very small charity we just couldn’t keep going against the big guys.

‘If you have any land in Barry, Dinas, Penarth, Cardiff or the general south Wales area, please reach out to them directly.

‘Alternatively, if you have any advice, suggestions or solutions they’d love to hear from you too.

‘You can also donate via their website to aid with them finding a new home. Thank you.’

Following the revocation of her licence agreement by the Woodland Trust, Ms Church has appealed to anyone with land in Barry, Penarth, Cardiff or the 'general south Wales area'

The charity says it creates a learning environment for young people to ‘be themselves and follow their passion’.

It does not follow any exam curriculum for traditional subjects, but students can be supported with self-directed learning if they study for a GCSE.

A Woodland Trust spokesman said: ‘Sadly, and after much deliberation, we have taken the decision to terminate the current permission granted to the Awen Project for their use of Cwm George the Casehill Woods.

‘This is due to multiple breaches of this permission, which have posed health and safety concerns for our visitors and wildlife within the ancient woodland.

‘We have, however, offered a new Forest Schools licence which sets out a new arrangement going forward that is in keeping with the fact that Cwm George is a publicly accessible woodland, managed for people and wildlife.’


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