Forest school was introduced to the school for the academic year 2014/15, with a view to providing an outdoor education environment for those who may struggle to access the curriculum in more formal ways. The programme covers all key stages within the school, and the curriculum has developed into an effective part of the school's education and therapy ethos. This has more recently developed into the school creating its own schemes of work linking to skills needed for Duke of Edinburgh and bushcraft and creating Wilds Wood.
The Wilds Wood programme has been developed to incorporate a number of curriculum links. In most activities these links are 'hidden' as this approach can help to relieve any formal curriculum anxieties. Undertaking the Wilds Lodge programme can also help learners' to develop a better understanding of their core subjects by providing activities that are functional e.g. if a learner is struggling with an element of maths such as measure, shape & space, they can improve their functional comprehension of this when designing & building A frame and shelters.
The Aim of Wilds Wood
The aim of Wilds Wood is to deliver education in an outdoor environment, with a view to providing activities that are inclusive to all participants. It allows hands on practical skills o be developed in a carefully controlled environment.
To provide access to the formal academic curriculum through 'hidden/informal' activities.
To provide a safe, positive and enjoyable learning environment.
To develop each participant's self-esteem.
To develop key skills such as communication, working with others and problem solving.
To improve team cohesion, and develop risk assessing skills.
There are many activities that can be conducted in Wilds Wood sessions. Here are a few.
Making a hot drink using a Kelly Kettle.
Fire safety, building, lighting & extinguishing.
Making resources such as tent pegs.
Erecting shelters - using tarpaulins.
Building natural shelters.
Making tools such as mallets & small axes.
Links to the curriculum
Developing diaries, which require descriptions and evaluations.
Measuring wood to build a shelter. Calculating the space required to accommodate a specific number.
Assessing the weather and preparing appropriately for each session.
Learning about the different trees within the forest and knowing the history of specific growth such as elder.
Using ICT to create a diary including pictures and instruction manuals.
Building items such as tools and shelters.
Understanding the fire triangle and using flint, steel & magnesium to start a fire.
Jade Tebbutt (and more recently supported by Emma Capewell) has developed the original Forest School ideas into those of Wilds Wood. With their creative approach and activities Wilds Wood extends the work begun by Steve Nolan with the original Forest School principles.
Duke of Edinburgh
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has helped countless young people on their sometimes difficult path to adulthood.” HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
For the past seven decades, the DofE charity (Reg. no. 1072490) has inspired and transformed the lives of millions of young people from all walks of life. From volunteering to physical activities, life skills to expeditions, achieving a DofE Award is a passport to a brighter future, valued by employers and universities.
Meet the DofE Coordinators.
Alice Lee and Emma Brown have led the DofE for the past two years.
Wilds Lodge have offered the Duke of Edinburgh Award for the past few years. In 2018, Wilds Lodge saw the completion of 8 Bronze and 3 Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards for the Year 10 and 11 students. The previous year, 8 students achieved the Bronze award. They had worked incredibly hard over the school year to achieve this and we celebrated their success in from of the whole school in the Sports Day assembly on the last day of the school term.
The Silver award is available from age 15+ years and requires a greater level of commitment of the student in terms of the time they spend on the volunteering, skills and physical component of the award. The expedition also needs to take place over three days and two nights.
With Silver D of E each pupil was required to select three activities within the physical, skills and voluntary sections and had to do these activities consistently for 1-hour per week over 3-months, one of which had to be 6-months (not an easy requirement!).
The boys have shown tremendous effort, resilience and commitment to do the tasks to the end. It has now been easy! The school staff and parents are extremely proud of them. We also look forward to seeing the younger pupils recognising this achievement and putting themselves forward to complete a very worthwhile and world-wide recognised qualification. Who knows, we may be achieving Gold awards soon.