Lawn Manor Academy Forest School helps out at Christ Church

By Barrie Hudson - 2 January 2024


Pupils from Lawn Manor Academy’s Forest School have picked up their tools and lent a hand to Christ Church in Old Town.

They set to work revitalising a previously neglected area of the church grounds.

Eight pupils from Year 10 spent the morning at Christ Church - four pupils from the after-school forest club and four from the school’s Connect 10+ class, which provides pupils with additional learning needs the opportunity to learn outside of the traditional classroom environment.

Using skills they have developed through the forest school, they cleared an area of the churchyard and planted a mixture of 30 native British trees and shrubs, including hawthorn, dogwood, dogrose, crab apple and hazel.  

These plants, which were donated by the Woodland Trust, will serve to repopulate a wildlife area, provide food and shelter to wildlife and provide cover to a banked area of the grounds.  

Pupils also spent time litter-picking in the church grounds.

Lee Horsford, Forest School lead at Lawn Manor Academy, said: “As part of the forest school and outdoor learning, our pupils do a lot of planting in and around the school and so it was an excellent opportunity for them to be able to apply their skills in a different situation.  

"It’s also very beneficial for them to be able to meet and spend time with people from across our local community and learn more about what others do.

“The pupils really got into the community spirit and could see the improvement they were making to the area, so it was a very rewarding morning.  

“It was a great opportunity for the pupils to be able to take the time to appreciate the abundance of nature in the area too, by walking back to school through Lawn Park, where we spent time looking at the diversity of the lake and bird watching too.”

The Christ Church Eco Group approached Lawn Manor Academy for help after seeing stories about the Forest School in the news.  

The Eco Group works with the Christ Church congregation and wider community to look after our world and undertake activities concerned with Creation Care.  As well as enhancing the grounds and biodiversity of the church, the group is also looking at ways of introducing renewable energy and other means to reduce the church’s carbon footprint.

Anne Grainger, Chair of the Christ Church Eco Group, said: “We really appreciate the help and hard work from the pupils at Lawn Manor Academy.  

"This is the start of our 10 year plan for this area of the church and we’re looking forward to spring when we hope to see the fruits of their labour with the trees and bushes providing food and shelter for wildlife.”

Lee Horsford added: “The dedication of the Christ Church Eco Group to preserving and enhancing our natural environment complements what we teach through the Forest School and Connect+ provision and so working together is a natural fit. 

"We’ve already planned out different projects that will benefit our pupils and the church so this is just the start of an exciting community collaboration.”

Lawn Manor Academy is part of the Ascend Learning Trust. More information about the academy can be found at

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