Forest schools turn a new leaf

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Pupils in north Wales could be spending more time outdoors following the launch of a pound;300,000 forest school. Delegates meeting last week at the annual Woodlands for Learning conference, in Mold, Flintshire, heard how the school's four sites should be up and running by early next year.

The North East Wales Forest School (Newfs) is the work of local authorities, the environmental charity Groundwork, and the Forest Education Initiative, which includes the Forestry Commission, various educational groups and representatives from the timber industry.

One of the aims of the initiative is to create more opportunities for pupils to do lessons in the countryside. Topics studied in the forest include ponds and streams, woodland habitats and creatures, plants and the environment, tree identification, mapping and sustainable forestry, arts and crafts, and maths.

Supporters also claim the forest school approach helps get learners ready to learn by building confidence and self-esteem.

Sue Williams, the Forestry Commission's woodlands for learning manager for north and mid-Wales, said: "We want teachers to use the countryside.

"But it doesn't just mean a coach trip once a year - they can do more with it, and the children tend to remember more than they do when they're sitting at desks."

Ms Williams said that such trips are currently "ad hoc and short term" and are often limited by funding. Some teachers are also discouraged by safety issues, but managers of the Newfs project hope to address such worries through training, insurance and risk assessments.

North-east Wales is the second region to take on paid staff to run a forest school. The first was Monmouthshire.

National lottery and other funding has been used to recruit and train four full-time staff to manage the four main sites in Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham. The forest school will be free of charge during a two-year pilot scheme. Thereafter, it will cost pound;6 per day, per pupil.

Vanessa Cooke, Denbighshire county council's countryside officer for education, said: "There is huge support for this sort of outdoor activity."

MILL VISIT, TEACHER MAGAZINE 30

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now