Beauchamp Lodge Settlement

From a Floating Classroom to a Forest School

The need for social distancing has been a challenge for many schools and learning spaces. But when your classroom is a narrow boat, it’s particularly tricky…

The Floating Classroom is an innovative project run by the Beauchamp Lodge Settlement – a charity that offers learning experiences inspired by London’s waterways and green spaces.

Schoolchildren from across the city, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, learn from the Floating Classroom’s programme of hands-on science, environment and history lessons.

Classes usually take place on a purpose-built barge on the Regent’s Canal. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they needed some extra space. So the team decided to bring their unique teaching style onto dry land too and set up a Forest School.

  • In North Westminster, 48% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.
  • Our grant of £8,395 funded forest school places for 20 young people, aged 9 to 11, from primary state schools in North Westminster.
  • During the Forest School programme, children develop their confidence and resilience, and form a connection to the natural world.

Benefits of a Forest School

At Kusuma Trust, we’re committed to widening access to green spaces in Kensington and Westminster, as well as exploring novel and effective methods of informal education – especially where these support young people facing challenges in the educational mainstream. That’s why we decided to support the new Forest School programme.

Our grant of £8,395 funded places for 20 young people, aged 9 to 11, from primary state schools in North Westminster.

The Forest School brings students to the canal side and other green spaces. The day-long sessions take place at weekends and during school holidays in Spring and Summer.

As they learn about local plants and animals, children develop resilience and form a connection to the natural world. They embrace new challenges, increasing their confidence and transferable skills – hopefully developing a lasting love of nature.

In June 2022, we awarded another £7,675 to help the Beauchamp Lodge Settlement build on the success of this project. They delivered a further 10 Forest School sessions in Summer 2022.


“We believe that we learn best when we are enjoying ourselves and unafraid; nothing impedes learning more than the fear of being wrong. We want participants to leave our Forest School programme with a commitment to never stop asking questions, with a love of learning, and a sense of kinship with nature. At a time of significant turbulence and uncertainty, it is vital that children have the opportunity to engage in inspiring, exciting experiences that foster curiosity and confidence.”
Simon Ryder, Chief Executive, The Floating Classroom

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