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What is Forest School?

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment. It aims to promote holistic development of ALL those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves.


You will have the opportunity to connect, engage and foster a love for a natural wild space over a period of time. This offers the chance to experience a wild space in all weathers, seasons and through a range of varied nature centred activities, which in turn builds resilience and a sense of belonging and connection.

This short film gives a flavour of what Forest School can offer in a mainstream school - without a single tree!

Helen Stringfellow set up and leads the Forest School at West Rise Junior School and you can be reassured that no water buffalo are required!

Feedback from secondary students after attending forest school for 12 weeks. We asked the students what they enjoyed most about being at forest school and they said:

"Mixing with people in other year groups - making new friends."


"It’s better than learning indoors because you do hands on activities and you have a choice of activities."


"Having the chance to go adventuring and exploring."


" I loved collecting wood and building fires."


" I know that I am interacting with people more now."


"Seeing animals and being free is best."


"It is a better atmosphere than being at school."

What happens at forest school?

There are many different and exciting activities to explore at forest school and here are just a few:

  • Campfire building, lighting and management

  • Campfire cooking

  • Tool work, including bow saws, knives, hand drills

  • Using greenwood to make wooden objects

  • Den and shelter building

  • Foraging

  • Nature games for self esteem and team building

  • Nature education –respecting the natural environment

  • Rope swings and balance ropes

  • Knot tying

  • Seasonal projects and activities

  • Child led play, learning and adventuring

Benefits of forest school

  • Increased social and emotional well-being

  • Problem solving skills

  • Develops self confidence

  • Raises self-esteem

  • Increased communication skills and teamwork

  • Safe risk-taking opportunities, develops the ability to manage risk for oneself

  • Greater understanding, awareness and respect of the natural world

  • Increased concentration and motivation

We asked the school's Director of Behaviour to comment on the impact the FS sessions had had on the students’ attitude to learning, he said:

"I have seen improvements in the attendance rates at school, with some pupils dramatically improving in this area. Attendance is a good indicator of participating in learning and therefore I believe this has improved attitudes to learning."


" I see the pupils more positive about their engagement with school.  I see that confidence has grown in the pupils, as well as improved attendance."



Minimum of 12 sessions for a group of students  in our woodland (numbers dependent on the needs of the individuals)- 

Up to 2.5 hours - £250 per session.

What should I bring?

All the activities take place outside in the beautiful woodlands, whatever the weather. For this reason please bring along the following- depending on the season and general weather.


  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Wellington boots or hiking boots

  • Warm hat or sun hat

  • Long trousers

  • Warm, comfortable clothing which you are happy to get dirty

If you would like to discuss any of the activities further and/or book anything,  please email or call Helen or Penny -see Contact page for details.

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