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Forest School

Forest School: Intent, Implementation and Impact

Aims of our Forest School

  • To nurture the whole child
  • To develop knowledge, skills and attitudes as well as an enthusiasm for learning
  • To deliver a cross curricular approach to learning to make the curriculum come to life
  • To provide a purposeful curriculum which will improve children’s life skills, collaboration and experiences
  • To build resilient, determined and independent learners
  • To develop children’s personal, social and emotional development
  • To enable children to understand and gain respect for the natural environment and wildlife
  • To work alongside our local community and beyond
  • For children to love learning and be themselves.


We strive to provide our pupils with the widest range of skills and opportunities available to us to ensure our children experience high quality learning in our woodland garden and at our woodland plantation, High Edge Wood. 

Through weekly timetabled sessions (usually Mondays) our child-led learning and focus on social development engages children in a manner that is hard to imitate in the classroom. This creates new opportunities for learning and development that might not be accessed during regular day-to-day schooling. As we know, every child is different, as are their learning habits, something that here at Earl Sterndale we recognise, encourage and utilise.

At Earl Sterndale, we are blessed with a beautiful outdoor learning environment. It is here the majority of the learning will take place but we also expand our outdoor learning into the wider community and environment to give the children a wider range of experience and allow them to become more familiar with the world surrounding them. 

Assessment is ongoing through the relevant cross-curricular themes to inform teachers with their planning, task design and variation. Summative assessments are completed at the end of each term.


We believe the true impact of our curriculum, both indoor and out, can only be seen when our children show that they know more and can remember more about what they have learned. We ensure that our children have plenty of opportunities to meet new concepts and learn in a variety of ways and over an extended period of time so that knowledge and understanding is firmly embedded.

We aim for our children at Earl Sterndale to become well-rounded, more confident and resilient learners who are caring and supportive with their peers. This will allow children to be confident in being able to regulate their social, mental, emotional and spiritual health meaning they will perform better in collaborative learning and tasks, arming them with the skills necessary to improve themselves in their schooling career and life in the wider world.

As children grow in confidence in their abilities in both our indoor and outdoor environment, they will begin to understand, assess and manage their own risk and safety. This will allow the children to become more independent and show them that life comes with not only risk but also rewards. They will see that sometimes we don’t always get the desired result the first time but that doesn’t make us a failure, it helps us to grow and persevere. It encourages problem solving, logical thinking, self-reflection and evaluation but most of all the pupils will see that mistakes are a part of learning.

We want our children to leave us with fond memories of their time at Earl Sterndale along with a wealth of knowledge they have gained, ready to face the next chapter in their learning journey.