“Regardless of circumstances, we want our students to leave school well-equipped with the life skills needed to become well-rounded individuals. We aim to encourage thoughtful students, inspire opinionated voices and develop enquiring minds and challenge them through our commitment to well-planned, inspirational teaching and outstanding practice.“
Aldersley’s Forest Schools Department
Forest School at the Amethyst Academies Trust
Having successfully run the Duke of Edinburgh Award to Key Stage 4 and 5 students at the school for many years it was decided to give students in Key Stage 3 the opportunity to also access an outdoor curriculum. Forest Schools at the Amethyst Trust (Aldersley High School and Moreton School) was introduced and has been an outstanding success with both years 7 and 8.
Here is the vision and mission statement of the Forest School department:
Regardless of circumstances, we want our students to leave school well-equipped with the life skills needed to become well-rounded individuals. We aim to encourage thoughtful individuals who are inspired, with opinionated voices and develop enquiring minds and challenge them through our commitment to well-planned, inspirational teaching and outstanding practice. It will also give the students a different way of learning away from the rigors and stress of the normal school curriculum.
KS3 Curriculum – Forest School
Within Key Stage 3, students in year 7 and 8 have approximately 2 days of Forest School per year. The Forest School department have worked hard to ensure that an irresistible and ambitious curriculum is on offer so that all students are inspired in their learning and reach their full potential.
Pupils follow much of the nationally recognised John Muir Award. This has 4 sections and allows them to: – discover a wild place, explore it, do something to conserve it and share their experiences.
The benefits pupils gain, are that they are given a challenge and adventure, from being in wild places, have an environmental awareness from exploring such areas, gain knowledge and skills gained from the experience in the outdoors and involvement in conservation activities. They share their experiences with friends, colleagues and become role models. It is hoped these experiences will prompt them to further develop their skills and knowledge of the outdoors by taking the Duke of Edinburgh Award in year 9 and beyond.
- Identification of flora and fauna at Cannock Chase, Smestow Brook and in the local area
- Construct a variety of natural shelters at Northycote Farm Park
- Learn the basics of orienteering at Cannock Chase
- Tree Identification at Northycote Farm Park
- Conservation at Northycote Farm Park
- Safe use of a variety of tools, e.g. saws, axes, loppers, secateurs and knives for wood collection and whittling at Old Tree Nursery
- Cooking with no trace fires, Kelly kettles and trangias
- Navigation in the local area using map and compass
- Woodland challenges including stream crossings and how to move safely and with stealth through the forest
How will pupils be assessed?
Pupils will be observed in completing part of the skills as outlined in the John Muir Award. They will discover a wild place, explore it, do something to conserve it and share their experiences
Mr A. Grimshaw
Head of Forest Schools
Mr Grimshaw is Head of Forest Schools across the Amethyst Trust