Wales

Charlotte Church: 'I want to open a secondary school'

Charlotte Church Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Charlotte Church wants to open a school with "a healthy disregard for rules and specifications"

Singer Charlotte Church said she was prepared to "work night and day" to open a secondary school in south Wales.

Writing in her blog, the 32-year-old mother-of-two said: "The way we teach our children is at best imperfect, at worst damaging."

She told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour: "I basically want to build a secondary school in south Wales.

"This is something I'm so passionate about and I think it's something I want to do with the rest of my life."

The Welsh Government said it welcomed Church's "passion and enthusiasm" and has "embarked upon an ambitious national mission for education".

A spokesman added: "It's always good to have different ideas and debate but we believe that our national mission will help us to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence."

Church said the school would have "creative teachers, and a healthy disregard for rules and specifications".

She added: "I will do my utmost to make sure it isn't fee-paying because that is not what I think schooling should ever be about."

Image caption Charlotte Church was once known as the "voice of an angel" and sang across the world at star-studded events

Church said she was driven to consider the project because of "massive problems" in the current education system.

"The more I speak to young people and teachers, the more I think the system, national curriculum and way people have been taught to pass exams is starting to become actively damaging," she said.

"The most important thing we can do for young people is to help them fall in love with learning, to teach them resilience and perseverance and I'm not sure that's happening.

"I think a lot of people are leaving school thinking that they aren't good enough, that they aren't smart and that they're not capable."

She admitted her own education was unique: "Half of the time I went to school and half the time I had two tutors.

"I was on the road and released my first album when I was 12 but I did my formal education, even sitting my geography GCSE in the White House.

"I do feel like I had an exceptional education because I was submerged in the adult world and world of business. My music education was second to none because I was singing with orchestras all over the world.

"But I was also travelling, and that was really one of the best things."

Image copyright Elliot Cooper @cooperexplores
Image caption Charlotte Church married musician Jonny Powell in October

Her renewed interest in education began when her own children became old enough to go to primary school.

She said: "When I started looking around the local schools, my first thought was that my children were really young.

"I found a local Steiner school which felt a lot more home from home.

"That didn't quite work out so they've been home-schooled now for the past three years, which I realise I'm in an incredibly privileged position to be able to do.

"My nan hates it. She thinks the kids should be in school and that I'm a hippy nutter."

She described opening a school as a "herculean" task, adding: "I don't necessarily have the credentials or experience lots of other people have.

"So I'm asking people who are interested in helping me to get in touch."

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