Forest School


Katie Goodwin, our ASC Resource Manager, gives us the lowdown on Forest School.

What is Forest School?

Forest School is an inspirational initiative that offers all learners opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences. Students are transported to a land of mud kitchens, shelter building, mud fights and fire circles, to name but a few. It allows students to initiate their own learning, become risk takers, problem solvers and collaborative learners.

Who is it for?

Our Y7 students have been the first to sample Forest School. Whilst many of these students have characteristics in common such as low attendance, Pupil Premium status and lack of attainment, many of these students face their own, very specific, difficulties such as:

  • excessive OCD
  • anxiety
  • such slow processing skills in class, that speech is constantly repeated


To put it into perspective, in the 12 ½ hours we have run Forest School, we have had no lesson refusal (normally have approx. 8 lesson refusals for 2 students on top of their alternative curriculum), no disengagement, no instances of non-verbal communication (one student didn’t speak for 2 ½ weeks at the beginning of term), no repetitive speech, little or no foot wiping or OCD tendencies, no refusal to work with someone and no aggression towards staff. What we have seen is interaction with new people, improved sensory needs, an improved ability to recall events and activities quickly, appropriate self-evaluation and recognising what they would like to learn next.

What does the future hold?

Moving forward, we are continuing with the sessions next term. For these students, the continuation of life and social skills is important, but the possibilities of how Forest School could be used for other students (and parents) is infinite: cross curricular planning could allow for more specific learning, which would lead to academic progress; it could be used as a tool to re-engage disengaged children and their parents; staff INSET days; an outdoor curriculum for all students and a reward for those who have worked hard, as well as life and social skills.


Great Resources For Dyslexia Awareness Week


This is a great activity for all teachers to try. It aims to help us understand the experience that some of our students experience every day in the classroom. The Learning Support Department are encouraging all form tutors to get their groups to try it too.

Here is the activity and teacher notes.DAW decoding activity
DAW lesson plan-1

The learning styles questionnaire below will also help students (and staff) identify their own strengths and weaknesses in order to improve the way they learn and gain the right type of support.

Learning Styles Checklist Key Stage 3 and 4
Informal Learning Style Inventory Key Stage 5

And finally, here are two interesting articles that aim to develop our awareness of dyslexia and help us to understand how to support students.
Dyslexia and Inclusion
Dyslexia and Sport Article

Thank you to the Learning Support Department for all the resources above.

Active 1: Life Lessons Through PE

Active 1 is an invitation only ‘Xtra’ curricular  sports club at Wilmslow High School that provides students with lower ability, low self-esteem and/or a variety of special educational needs the opportunity to become more confident within themselves and their new educational environment. Numbers are limited at this club which gives the students more time and space enabling them to be more composed when participating in sporting activities which in turn can hopefully transfer across the curriculum into all of their lessons and their everyday life.

This club works in harmony with core PE lessons at WHS to increase the enjoyment of physical education for the students involved and it also allows the successful integration of these students into mainstream PE classes where they can be confident enough to improve and achieve with their fellow peers. There is a great team spirit within the group with an big emphasis on fun, social skills and basic movement and coordination skills rather than competitiveness.

A Happy Bunch: The Active 1 Gang with Mr Taylor & Mr Riley

A Happy Bunch: The Active 1 Gang with Mr Taylor & Mr Riley

Originally this ‘Xtra’ curricular club was designed for key stage 3 students only, but now our original cohort have progressed so muchas they have entered key stage 4 they now act as mentors for the younger Active 1 students to aid their transition into secondary school life.

Active 1 is very popular and is now entering its 6th year.

We would love to hear from schools offering a similar PE experience for their young people.

Glenn Taylor

Wilmslow High School Learning Support Assistant (PE specialist)