It provides for an exploration and understanding of their abilities; helps them to learn and develop; and exposes them to the realities of the world in which they will live, which is a world not free from risk but rather one where risk is ever present."
"A balance is needed between, on the one hand, taking action to reduce the unacceptable hazards in the children's environment... and on the other hand, informing, equipping and empowering children to take the necessary precautions to enhance their own safety."
- United Nations; General Comment 17. 17th April 2013
Risk Assessments & Risk Benefit Assessments
The Forest School Leader performs a Daily Site Risk Assessment prior to each session to ensure the site is ready to be used by the children and staff. We also have School Site Risk Benefit Assessments and Activity Risk Benefit Assessments in place.
"What is the difference between a
Risk Assessment and a Risk Benefit Assessment?"
A typical Risk Assessment identifies the Hazards and introduces Control Methods to prevent them.
A Risk Benefit Assessment balances RISK against the BENEFIT. If the benefits outweigh the risks then the activity is worth carrying out.
A good example is the wobbly bridge in a playground.
In a factory setting a wobbly bridge would be dangerous and impractical but in a playground it introduces the user to an element of fun, questioning why it is wobbling, challenging the user to be brave, to evaluate the situation, and to enjoy the experience.
There will always be at least one fully qualified Forest School Leader with a walkie-talkie to a member of staff within the school at each session and one other first-aid-trained support adult. Forest School sessions only take place on school grounds. Children are taught the rules of the Forest School throughout their time at the school and learn to manage their own risks and work within their personal physical and mental limitations.
Our Forest School Leader is fully trained Forest School (Level 3), Emergency First Aid, Forest School First Aid, Type 1 Diabetes, Anaphylaxis, Safeguarding, and Food Safety & Hygiene (Level 2).
Behaviour within the Forest School is in-line with our school’s current behaviour policy. Tools, fire, knives, etc are used extremely carefully, carry their own risk benefit assessments and are taught on a one-to-one basis with the Forest School Leader or an adult supervisor.
Medical & Intolerances
Please check that the school is aware of any up-to-date medical requirements before each term begins. Any food and drink intolerances need to be known before the term begins. Usually a treat of toasting marshmallows over the fire is carried out each term. 'Dandies' plant based Vegan Marshmallows are used and are Gluten-free, Kosher, and non-GMO. They contain no artificial flavours or preservatives, no corn syrup, and no gelatin. More information on their website: www.dandies.com
Pollen levels are particularly high in the late spring and summer months and whilst we are very understanding that we as adults find it hard to manage the symptoms, children might find it just as hard.
We strongly recommend that you seek medical advice for the condition as it can normally be well managed with antihistamines and this often helps keep the symptoms at bay during the school day - occasionally, a second dose may be needed which we can administer here in school once the form has been completed. These can be picked up from the school office and need to be completed and handed in with the medication.
Sadly, we are not able to keep the children indoors but there are shaded areas around the playground where they can sit. Forest school sessions are also part of the curriculum which means they cannot be missed without a letter from the child's GP confirming they are not to take part. If you have any concerns about this, please speak to either Mrs Reid, Headteacher or Shaeen in her capacity as Medical Lead as she will be able to request support from the School Health Nurse if you are experiencing difficulties in getting the correct medication for your child.
Inhalers must be checked and provided before the term begins if required.
Click here for: Child Medication Form
Forest School Clothing & Kit
Forest School clothing is vital for us to ensure your child is safe to enjoy each session and protect them from scratches, bites, stings, preventing the risk of Lyme disease.
Please send your child in with a water bottle and bag of clothes appropriate for the weather that you do not mind getting dirty, and a pair of Wellington or Walking boots in a named carrier bag for them to keep on their class peg. Avoid Wellies that have handles as they can become a hazard, catching on tree branches, etc and causing trips and falls.
Long sleeve tops and long trousers must be worn at all times of year. During hot weather, we relax the wellington boot rule over comfort and trainers are allowed if the child wishes.
Children without appropriate clothing will be asked to take a letter home for parents/carers.
Click here for: Forest School Calendar to find out when your child has Forest School.
Click here for: Forest School Clothing & Kit to find out what your child should be wearing.
No matter what the time of year - long sleeves that cover their arms and long trousers that cover their legs and ankles must be worn – no exceptions.