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Award winning educator joins the team at Duchy  

Published: 22nd July 2021

A new Forest School lecturer is bringing his wealth of experience in early-years education to Duchy College’s Stoke Climsland campus.  

 Ian Blackwell, the new programme manager of the Forest School Leadership Certificate at Duchy College, part of The Cornwall College Group (TCCG), has a celebrated track record as an inspiring early-years educator.  

 Besides being a qualified Forest School leader, he is also a visiting lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University in the departments of Outdoor Learning and Education.  

 From 2012 to 2016 Ian was Project Manager for The Natural Connections Demonstration Project, the largest outdoor learning project in the UK, based at Plymouth University.  

 Ian is currently a PhD student at Plymouth Marjon University where he is also a part-time Visiting Lecturer in the Institute of Education specialising in outdoor learning and Education for Sustainability. 

 Additionally, and perhaps most notably, Ian is known for establishing the ‘father-focused’ early-years project ‘Dangerous Dads’ in 2007, designed to appeal more specifically to dads and their children.    

 As a father of young children living in Totnes at the time, Ian created the project at his local children’s centre. The project, which offered fun, outdoor activities for male carers and father figures and children of all ages, proved so popular that ‘Dangerous Dads’ soon became a Community Interest Company (CIC) and a wider network was established, rolling out Ian’s model to other areas of the country.   

 “It’s been incredible to see how the project has grown from my local children’s centre to having groups across the UK and internationally,” Ian explained. 

 “It’s something I’m very proud of. Off the back of the initial project, we have even been able to start DadFest, which is the only festival in the country just for dads and children.”  

 DadFest is a small festival with a focus on fun outdoor activities that dads and male carers 
can do with their children. Now running in both Cornwall and Wales, it was awarded ‘Best Small Event’ in the UK by the National Outdoor Events Association.   

 Ian feels “really excited” about his new challenge of joining TCCG as a Forest School lecturer. 

 “It will be such a pleasure to teach at Duchy College, with its wonderful outdoor spaces and a dedicated Forest School area to be used throughout the course,” continued Ian.  

 “Being in Cornwall there will naturally also be a Beach School training day. The Level 3 qualification we offer is fun, practical and interactive, perfect for anyone looking to work as a Forest School leader in a pre-school or school environment, as well as working with outdoor education providers or as an independent practitioner. 

 “There are a few places on the course for the September start date, so feel free to contact me with any questions.” 

 Duchy College’s Level 3 Forest School Leadership Certificate has been designed to provide the practical skills, knowledge of learning and development theory, and the essential woodland ecology and management understanding needed to plan and deliver forest school programmes.

Outdoor First Aid Training and a Beach School Training Day are also included in the cost of this course. 

Laetitia Mayne, ​Curriculum Area Manager for Children, Young People and Health and Social Care, said: “We are really pleased that Ian has joined us to manage the Forest School programme. Ian is a very experienced outdoor practitioner with lots of expertise leading groups in the woods and coastal areas of the county, as well as many years’ teaching experience. 

“With only a handful of places remaining for this September’s course, I would advise anyone interested to get in touch with Ian to talk over the course as soon as possible.”

Call 0330 123 4784 or click HERE to find out more info about our Level 3 Forest School Certificate   


# cornwall # duchy # college # childcare # forestschool # earlyyears



16-19, Adult, Children, Schools & Families, Social Care & Health, Duchy College, Duchy College Stoke Climsland


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