Contents of Handbook:
- 1) What is Forest School? 2
- 2) The Forest School Ethos 2,3
- 3) What Happens at Forest School? 3,4
- 4) The Forest School Site 4,5
- 5) The Role of a Forest School Leader 5
- 6) Forest School Code of Conduct 6-8
- 7) Forest School Equipment 8,9
- 8) Managing Risk at Forest School 9-11
- 9) Clothing 12
- 10) Poor weather Procedure 12
- 11) Litter and Disposal of Waste Food and Water from Forest School 13
- 12) Food and Hygiene 13
- 13) Toileting 14
- 14) Accidents and First Aid 14,15
- 15) Emergency First Aid Procedures 15
- 16) Missing Child 15,16
- 17) Fire Safety 17
- 18) Tool Safety 17,18
- 19) Behaviour Policy 18,19
- 20) Health and Safety Policy 18-21
- 21) SEN and Inclusion Policy 21,22
- 22) Equal Opportunities Policy 22,23
- 23) Safeguarding Policy 23,24
- What is Forest School?
Forest School offers children the opportunity and supports them to develop independence, confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences and child-led play in a natural woodland environment. Forest School takes a holistic approach to learning and development and offers a mixture of learning the skills of problem solving and creativity as well as some more specific bush craft style skills, such as knot tying, shelter building, fire lighting and tool use. Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers, with the appropriate footwear and clothing. Forest School helps to foster a deep connection and love of nature, through play and observations. The children are given time and space to explore and discover things for themselves.
Forest School encourages children to:
Develop personal and social skills
Work through practical problems and challenges
Use tools to create, build or manage
Discover how they learn best
Pursue knowledge that interests them
Learn how to manage failures
Build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk
Develop practical skills
Understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle
Explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth
Regularly experience achievement and success
Reflect on learning and experiences
Develop their language and communication skills
Improve physical fine and gross motor skills
Become more motivated
Improve their concentration skills
Improve their communication
Explore the world through all the senses available to them
- The Forest School Ethos
The Forest School ethos has 6 principles (reviewed in 2011 and published by the Forest School association) and these are:
- 1) Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visit; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
- 2) Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- 3) Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- 4) Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent, and creative learners.
- 5) Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- 6) Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
- What Happens at Forest School?
All Forest School sessions are led by a Forest School leader who will encourage child-led discovery and learning, offering support and knowledge when needed. Children are given freedom and responsibility to explore their own interests, using natural materials to stimulate imagination, creativity and investigation. A typical Forest School session will start with a team building game to foster a sense of community and then children are given time to explore and take part in activities such as, shelter building, natural art, tying knots and lashings, fire lighting, bug hunts, tree and plant investigations, climbing and balancing, woodwork and using tools, making bird feeders and much more. The session concludes with a story or song and reflection around the fire circle.
- The Forest School Site
Our Forest School is situated in a small woodland area along the bottom edge of our school field. The canopy is made up of a few mature Sycamore trees with a shrub layer of hawthorn hedging. Around the fence area there are climbing plants such as ivy and bramble with a ground layer of grass and nettles. The woodland is managed carefully and as our Forest School progresses, we hope to allow the site to go a little wilder and develop a deeper diversity. The site is within school grounds and is not accessible to the public. but the perimeters need to be carefully monitored as it adjoins a local park.
Children taking part in Forest School will also be encouraged to minimise their impact on the site, learning to respect the flora and fauna that they share the site with, making sure that all litter is collected at the end of the session and the site is left exactly as they found it.
A Map of how to reach the Forest School site via Countess Anne School
The Role of a Forest School Leader
Forest School at Countess Anne is organised and run by Jill Murphy who is working towards her Level 3 Award for Forest School Leader. All staff have been subject to enhanced DBS checks and are qualified first aiders in paediatrics and Forest School first aid.
The role of the Forest School leader is to allow the children to meet risk and challenges appropriate to their age, personality and stage of development and to ensure their safety. Our sessions aim to foster a supportive and encouraging community, where children feel their contributions are valued and listened to. We support and encourage the children as they build a meaningful connection to nature, igniting their natural curiosity and extending their learning by providing opportunities and guidance skilfully and sensitively, to support all children to reach their full potential.
- Our Forest School Code of Conduct
Entering the Woodland
We will enter the Woodland respectfully and know that when at Forest School specific expectations are in place. We will explore, investigate, learn and play in a manner that will not damage our Woodland environment. We understand that we share our Forest School with plants and animals and that when we are in our Forest School, we are sharing the environment with them.
Children are aware of the boundaries of our Forest School site and the areas that they are allowed to explore. Children are aware that when the Forest School leader sings 1,2,3 where are you? they should come out from wherever they are hiding, make themselves seen and respond with, 1,2,3 I’m here!
The Fire Circle
Children and adults understand that they must walk around the outside of the fire circle and step over their log stump to sit down. They must NOT run around or near the fire circle or bring any objects into the fire circle without the Forest School leader’s permission. If a child wishes to swop seats around the circle, they must step out of the circle and move around the outside. No-one must enter the fire circle without the Forest School leader’s authorisation.
Fire Lightening and maintenance will always be under the control of the Forest School leader. All accompanying adults will be briefed before the fire is lit and made aware fire safety precautions. A plunge bucket, first aid kit and fire blanket will be stored at the edge of the fire circle along with fire lighting equipment and gauntlet gloves. Fires are NEVER to be left unattended and may not be lit until all fire safety equipment is in place. Fires must be completely extinguished by the Forest School leader before leaving the site and any debris disposed of in an environmentally safe way.
Children should not be encouraged to dig large holes. Children may carefully move soil to look for insects and their habitats using fingers or small sticks found within the forest. A specific area for digging will be found be the Forest School leader if required, but the soil should be replaced at the end of the session.
Picking up and Playing with Sticks
Children are aware of the ‘Rule of Stick’. Sticks, shorter than their arm can be played with and carried, but not waved in each other’s faces. Longer, heavier sticks much be dragged along the floor or carried with the help of a friend. Sticks should never be removed from site unless with the Forest School leader’s permission.
All tools have their own clear code of conduct for correct use which will include consideration of specific personal protective equipment, correct use of a specific body posture, and consideration of the appropriate types of activity that each tool may be used for. Tools should only be used under the supervision of the Forest School leader and only after each tool has been checked and deemed safe and fit for purpose.
Collecting Natural Resources.
When collecting natural resources from site great care should be taken to make sure that there is little disruption to the environment and used sparingly so that creature habitats are not disturbed. Resources should not be removed from site without the Forest School leader’s approval.
Eating and Drinking
Children understand that they are Not to pick, lick or eat anything that they find on the Forest School site. If they accidentally touch fungi or berries, they must seek an adult to help them clean their hands. Children are encouraged not to put their fingers in their mouths whilst playing and wet wipes and hand gel are used before any food or drink is consumed.
Children are encouraged to use the toilet before we leave to go to Forest School. If needed, children can use the toilet on site in the well-being room, next to the hall. The outside door of the room is left open and can be seen from the Forest School site.
An adult must be present when children climb trees in the Forest School. The ground cover should be checked for ‘sharp objects’ and the tree marked as suitable for climbing. A visual check must be made for loose and rotten branches. Children are permitted to explore to their own limits or to a maximum height of 1.5m. Adults should be near enough to catch if a child should fall but far enough away to not be invasive to the children’s exploration.
Leaving the site
When we leave the Forest School site it should be as if we were never there. Shelters should be taken down and any materials and equipment brought onto site should be removed. The Forest School leader should end the session with a sweep of the site making sure that all rubbish has been removed and the site is clear.
- Forest School Equipment List
In addition to tools and resources needed for planned activities, the Forest School leader will always take an emergency bag with them. The contents of the emergency bag will vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions and daily risk assessment. Although there are of course essential items that should be carried out for every session.
emergency procedures in waterproof holder
children’s medical information and medicine to administer if needed.
grid reference of forest school site
First Aid Kit
first aid guidance booklet
mouth guard, disposable gloves
antiseptic wipes, plasters, and sterile non-medicated dressings
triangular bandage, safety pins
eye dressing, eye wash
tick remover and accident record book
Basic Forest School kit
trolley, kit bag
tarpaulin, tent pegs, mallet, and rope
wet wipes, tissues, and hand gel
drinking water and plastic beakers
disposable gloves, spare clothes, and plastic bags
string, rope, scissors, pen and paper
whistle for emergencies
fire striker, cottonwool, kindling, sticks of varying sizes
burns kit containing burns gel and sterile non-medication dressings
plunge bucket, fire blanket, and gauntlet gloves
Sheath knifes in lockable box
loopers, bow saw. and potato peelers
rope, rigger gloves (adult and child sizes)
Bug pots, magnifying glasses, and identification sheets.
Clay, Cotton sheets
pinecones and willow
paintbrushes. Clipboards, pots, and pans
glue, feathers, googly eyes, beads
coloured pens, pencils, and crayons
- Managing Risk at Forest School
At Forest School children can learn a great deal from their mistakes (even painful ones) and enjoy risky play activities and challenges. Learning to respect risk and danger through play will help them to cope with risks and hazards later in life. They will learn how far they can go before they feel unsafe, they will learn to understand their limits, they will gain the confidence to be able to say “No thank you, that’s enough for me,” without feeling pressurised by their peers. The safety of all participants is very important to us.
All of the activities have been fully risk assessed to minimise the dangers. These are included in the below. All adults participating in Forest School are required to read the risk assessments and protocols. We regularly review and update the risk assessments as required. A site risk assessment is carried out before each session to look for natural or foreign hazards in the environment. Individual risk assessments will be made for children whose medical condition or whose behaviour requires it. All of our staff are fully qualified, and our Forest School leader holds a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner certificate.
Exploring the site:
Uneven ground, branches and tree roots on the ground, branches and shrubs at eye level
Children are well supervised; awareness talks and reminders. Members of staff are first aid trained with a first aid kit and mobile phone. Higher adult to child ratios.
Promoting physical development and awareness in surroundings. Encourage children to be self-aware and support their peers
A child may wander off or go missing during a forest school session.
Children told and asked to repeat forest school rules. Regular headcount. No access out of school grounds
Children to realise the importance of following rules and working as a group. Building relationships and trusting each other.
Bites and stings from bees / wasps and stinging nettles
Warn not to catch bees/wasps and be aware of stinging nettles. Long trousers, tops and closed footwear to be worn. Nettles to be cleared.
Opportunity to study how different insects move around. Displaying a positive approach to insects rather than being frightened of them
Allergies or children’s existing conditions.
Staff to be aware of any known allergies or existing conditions and be aware of treatments required.
Promote knowledge and independence in identifying and avoiding allergens.
Mushrooms and Fungi
Ensure children do not eat anything that they find and keep their hands out of their mouths and wash them thoroughly after the session. Obvious mushrooms to be cleared away.
Promote knowledge and independence in identifying and avoiding mushrooms and fungi. Identify similarities to foods bought and eaten.
Site to be inspected prior to sessions. Staff to be aware of poisonous plants and children not to pick anything that is living and growing, keep fingers out of their mouths.
Promote knowledge and independence in identifying and avoiding poisonous plants. Understanding the natural world and what they mustn’t touch.
Building dens and other activities using sticks and branches – risk of sharp objects.
Children to be aware of dangers and carry/hold sticks carefully being aware of others around them. Injuries/accidents to be dealt with accordingly.
Opportunity to work as a team safely, to problem solve and scaffold each other. Opportunities to develop motor skills, practice knots and develop social skills.
Children to be made aware not to touch or pick up any animal droppings. Hands to be cleaned and anti bac gel to be used.
To help children to identify animals from their droppings and other traits. To understand the importance of hygiene.
Site checked regularly to ensure no fallen or dangerous branches
Children to learn to risk assess for themselves
Children to be instructed how to use string to make dens and tie sticks together. Close supervision.
Practising knots and learning new skills involving following instructions. Encourages creativity.
Sharp branches and thorns
Children to be aware. Any cuts or injuries dealt with on site. Larger cuts/more serious injuries to be dealt with in school. In the event of severe injuries 999 to be called.
Children to be self-aware, identify dangers and scaffold peers. Encourages self confidence in a new and sensory environment.
Small tools, potato peelers, knives, saws.
Safety talk given and repeated. Close supervision.
Building confidence and gaining new experiences.
Larger tools – Sheaf knife, loopers bow saw and billhook
Safety talk given and repeated prior to use of tools. Strict use of tools on a 1:1 basis under very close supervision. Gloves to be used on the hand not holding the tool. Only trained forest school leader to use tools with children and fire lighting
Supporting communication skills; listening, understanding and learning new vocabulary. Hand and eye coordination, learning new skills. Risk taking and managing behaviour and frustration.
Fire lighting and campfire
Safety talk given prior to lighting each fire with reminder of rules for the fire circle, children asked to say/repeat the rules to ensure they have understood them. Fire circle laid out with clear boundaries, children to only go into the fire circle when invited by the forest school leader on a 1:1 basis. Water is always available at the side of the fire and sticks etc to be collected before the fire is lit. Gloves used when needed. Children to sit on logs/planks while the fire id being lit. Only trained forest school leader to light fires, school to be informed
Supporting communication skills; listening, understanding and learning new vocabulary. Promotes self-awareness and fire safety knowledge.
As fire lighting and campfire.
Any food cooked will be under close supervision with the adult cooking the food and ensuring it is cool before the children eat it.
Children learn about cooking and being independent as well as learning life skills. Encourages creativity.
At Forest School we adapt the principle that “There is no such thing as bad weather. Only being badly dressed for it!” although staff are aware of how children may react to different weathers and how this affects their sensory processing.
Children and adults must wear the appropriate clothing when attending Forest School. Arms and legs must be covered to reduce the likelihood of cuts and scrapes, it must be comfortable and meet any religious requirements. Footwear should be sturdy and comfortable. Children and parents are encouraged to think about the usefulness of their clothing for outdoor activities, and to be aware they are likely to take a little mud home with them after a session.
Waterproof trousers (we do have some spare trousers in school)
Waterproof coat with a hood
Long sleeved top
Full length trousers
Warm, comfortable boots/trainers
Hat, scarf and gloves and woolly socks
In the Sunshine:
Sun hat or cap and sun cream
- Poor Weather Procedures
Forest School sessions take place in all seasons and in all weathers – sun, rain, snow, ice, etc. In extreme weather conditions such as strong winds or thunderstorms, Forest School sessions may be cancelled. In the event of cancellation, a session will take place inside the school instead. In cold and wet weather, shelters will be erected, and activities will be planned to keep children warm.
- Litter and disposal of waste food and water from Forest School
During Forest School sessions it is the responsibility of the Forest School Leader and other accompanying practitioners to demonstrate the correct way to dispose of litter and waste to the children. They should explain the importance of correct disposal to the children, helping them to take responsibility and care for their own environment.
Children should be encouraged to tidy up after themselves and dispose of any litter in the waste bin provided at the edge of the site.
Compostable waste food, such as vegetable peelings and banana skins should be placed in the compost bin adjacent to the site. The maintenance of the compost bin is the responsibility of the Forest School Leader.
Wastewater used for cooking, once cooled, will be used to water plant growth in the Forest School area. Any water used for cleaning will be disposed of in the school building adjacent to the site.
- Food and Hygiene
Anti-bacterial wipes and hand gel are to be used before preparing and consuming food and there is also hand washing facilities available, Normal food hygiene rules and standards apply when preparing and serving food during Forest School sessions, including food cooked over an open fire. The Forest School Leader has had the required training and holds a current food hygiene certificate
Food allergies and special dietary requirements:
The Forest School leader should be aware any food allergies and special dietary requirements children may have on their Parental Consent and Medical form. This information will be used to plan what food and drink to provide during sessions, ensuring that the food and drink provided is suitable for all.
Children should be encouraged to use the toilet before they arrive for a Forest School session. If children need the toilet during a session, they can access the toilet in the well-being from the entrance at the corner of the field. This can be seen from the Forest School site and children are encouraged to use the toilet independently.
- Accidents and First Aid
All staff at Forest School hold a Paediatric First Aid certificate and in addition, The Forest School leader holds a Forest Schools First Aid certificate which has an emphasis on administering first aid in the outdoors. In the event of illness or injury to any child or adult during a Forest School session, first aid will be administered by a qualified first aider. All accidents will be recorded in the Forest School Accident book and parents/guardians will be notified either immediately or at the end of the session depending on the severity of the accident.
Essential First Aid Equipment:
First Aid guidance booklet
Sterile non-medicated dressings
Accident Record book
- Emergency First Aid Procedures
In the event of an emergency, the following procedure will be followed:
The area will be secured and made safe
First aid will be administered by the Forest School Leader or a first aid qualified member of staff
The Forest School Leader or a first aid qualified member of staff will stay with the casualty and monitor their condition until emergency services arrive
The emergency services will be called, giving an exact location and as much detail as possible
A member of staff will gather the children for a headcount and keep them calm. They will then take them back into the school building and alert staff inside.
The school office staff will contact the child’s parents or guardians
An accident report form will be completed
Reports will be made to RIDDOR and Ofsted
In the event of an injury to the Forest School Leader, first aid will be administered by another qualified first aider using the same procedure described
The school has an AED machine which is in the staff room
- Missing Child
The first session will include practicing for younger children or talking with the older children about how they will be called back to the fire circle. Children learn the call and response, “1,2,3 where are you?” “1,2,3, We’re here!” When they hear this the children are to calmly walk back to the fire circle carrying with them what equipment they have. After completing a head count and a child is discovered to be missing, one member of staff will stay with the group, one adult will scout the immediate area, looking for the missing child. If the child does not return or make themselves known, then a telephone call to the school office will be made. Any available staff will be asked to look around the school grounds for the child. Again, if there is no sign of the child then the main office are to call 999 to report a missing child. After the incident is over, complete a full report using an Incident Report Form.
- Fire Safety Policy
Fires are an important part of the Forest school experience. it is desirable to have an open fire at times within the woodland to allow the children to enhance their learning and development with some risky activities. Encounters with risk help children to manage their coping strategies and discover and explore the world through real experiences
When a session involves fire building, the fire will be contained within a fire pit bordered by logs to contain the fire. Children will follow the safety guidelines of being at least 1.5 metres away from the fire unless they are assisting with the fire and wearing protective fire gauntlets. Correct safety equipment will be on site at all times during fire sessions, this will consist of a plunge bucket full of water, fire blanket, first aid kit and fire gauntlets. Children must adhere to the strict rules of fire sessions working at a 1:1 ratio with the Forest School leader. At the end of the session t Forest School leader will carefully extinguish the fire by separating the logs and dousing the wood with water to ensure the fire is completely out.
- Tool Safety
The Forest School leader must:
Keep tools in good, clean order.
Check tools are safe to use before the start of each session.
Conduct regular tool maintenance to keep tools in prime working condition (a blunt blade is more dangerous than a sharp one).
Do not use tools with damaged blades or handles or with loose bolts or fixings.
When transporting tools do not carry more than can be held securely.
Count tools in and out at each session,
Bow Saws – use for cutting wood with a diameter greater than a 2 pence piece
Wear a glove on the non-sawing (helping) hand, not on the tool.
Use the saw to the side of you and not in front.
Keep your non sawing hand away from the blade when sawing.
Saw with easy relaxed strokes using the full length of the blade. Let the blade do the work, don’t force it, especially if it sticks
Carry with the frame at your side with the blade facing down.
Keep the blade covered when not in use and especially when transporting.
Ensure the item to be cut is firmly held.
When using with children – Leader and child to kneel on floor with Leader on one side of saw and the child on the other, both in the ‘respect position’. The Leader guides the saw and the child follows.
Loppers – use for cutting wood with a diameter smaller than a 2 pence piece
Always carry with blades closed (and locked if applicable).
When not in use leave with blades closed (and locked if applicable).
Do not exceed the cutting capacity of the tool. Use away from your body and keep hand not holding tool away from blades.
Children only to use when sitting or kneeling.
Knives – use to whittle small sticks, peel bark and cut string
Never wear a glove on the hand holding the tool - it makes the handle hard to grip safely. Wear a safety glove on your other helper hand.
Keep a safe distance from other people and be aware of those around you while you work. Stop if anyone comes too close.
Hold the knife away from your body and cut away from yourself.
Always replace the sheath when finished using the knife.
Knives must be stored in a lockable container.
Children only to use when sitting or kneeling – remind them not to move around when using the knife.
Potato Peelers – use to peel bark
Rest the wood you are peeling on the ground or on a bench and not on your leg.
Hold the potato peeler away from your body and peel away from yourself towards the ground.
Keep the hand not holding the tool away from sharp end of potato peeler.
Keep a safe distance from other people and be aware of those around you while you work.
Children only to use when sitting or kneeling – remind them not to move around when using the peeler.
- Behaviour Policy
Countess Anne School has its own Behaviour Policy which is outlined below:
BEHAVIOUR AND DICISIPLINE POLICY
Countess Anne School: A Church of England Academy
We believe that children thrive in a happy, secure and caring environment. It is an essential part of a Christian school ethos that the values of peace, love and caring for others should be core values that we respect and agree.
We will encourage self-discipline, self-reliance, initiative and the development of the individual and see an agreed code of conduct as supporting those aims.
We actively promote the school values of forgiveness, honesty, politeness, consideration, caring, happiness, kindness, patience, respect and encouragement and believe these values will lead to a more fulfilled life.
Therefore, the school community has the following expectations:
- all governors, staff, children and parents will be co-operated with and treated respectfully.
- all parties will enter into school life prepared to demonstrate consideration to those around them.
- all parties will work together to produce behaviour that is conducive to a safe learning environment.
The aim of the Discipline and Behaviour Policy:
Is to create a purposeful learning environment in which all have the opportunities to further themselves and others.
The following School Rules will help us in fulfilling our aim:
Take care of property
Try our best
Listen to others
These Rules are just as important and purposeful at Forest School and with the help of the Forest School Code of Conduct children learn to respect the environment and each other.
- Health and Safety Policy
Countess Anne School has its own Health and Safety Policy which is outlined below:
HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY
Countess Anne School: A Church of England Academy
PART 1. STATEMENT OF INTENT
The Governing Body of Countess Anne School will strive to achieve the highest standards of health, safety and welfare consistent with their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other statutory and common law duties.
This statement sets out how these duties will be conducted and includes a description of the school’s organisation and arrangements for dealing with different areas of risk. Details of how these areas of risk will be addressed are given in the arrangements section.
This policy will be brought to the attention of, and/or issued to, all members of staff a reference copy is kept in the school office.
This policy statement and the accompanying organisation and arrangements will be reviewed on an annual basis.
The Following points refer specifically to Forest School sessions:
- The trained and named Forest School leader is always in charge of Forest School sessions.
- The trained and named Forest School leader has the overall duty of care for the children in Forest School, but all adults are required to assist in keeping children safe
- Risk assessments must be read, signed and dated by adult leaders to show they will comply with the operating procedures
- A First aid kit, emergency bag and mobile phone will be taken to every session
- The emergency procedure will be followed
- Core Risk Assessments will be reviewed regularly, and a daily assessment carried out before each session
- Adult supervision of tool use and Fire lighting use to be kept to ratios: 1:1 with the Forest School leader. The Forest School leader is responsible for the maintenance of tools and equipment prior to their use by children
- The Forest School leader is responsible for teaching and monitoring the safe use of tools and lighting, maintaining, and extinguishing any fires before departure from the site.
- The Forest Leader will be responsible for the pre-visit check of the Forest School site prior to a session.
- SEN and Inclusion Policy
Countess Anne School has its own SEN and Inclusion policy which is outlined below:
Countess Anne School: A Church of England Academy
Our school believes that every pupil has an entitlement to develop their body, mind and spirit. Educational experiences are provided which promote pupils’ achievements whatever their personal abilities, talents and backgrounds; diversity is valued as a rich resource which supports the learning of all. The school is committed to ensuring that pupils with special educational needs can fulfil their potential and achieve optimal educational outcomes.
Our DSEN policy reinforces the need for quality first teaching that is fully inclusive. The Governing Body will ensure that appropriate provision will be made for all pupils with DSEN. We recognise that it is our duty to provide equal opportunities for every person in our care and a safe and fully equipped learning environment which caters to the needs of every child as an individual. We are committed to inclusion within the school curriculum and participation in all aspects of school life.
Inclusion is an ongoing process that celebrates diversity and involves the identification and minimising of barriers to learning and participation that may be experienced by pupils, irrespective of age, ability, gender, ethnicity, language and social background, and the maximising of resources to reduce these barriers.
Our school adopts a 'whole school approach' to special educational needs. It is staffed by a team of qualified teachers, teaching assistants, pastoral and auxiliary staff. The whole team at Countess Anne School is committed to providing a welcoming, attractive and stimulating environment to support the needs and develop the learning of the children and families in the community.
- Equal Opportunities Policy
Equal Opportunities is the responsibility of the whole school community and must reflected throughout the organisation of the school and be addressed in the taught and hidden curriculum.
All staff, governors, parents/guardians and pupils will be involved in developing, implementing and monitoring the equal opportunities policy and practice.
All staff, governors, parents/guardians and pupils regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, gender and socio-economic background, are welcome and will be encouraged to participate in the life of the school.
The school recognises its responsibilities under the Race Relations Act, Sex Discrimination Act and Disability Discrimination Act to eliminate discrimination and to promote good race relations.
Forest school is for everyone, every session is unique and especially tailored for the individuals taking part. It should give learners the opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem, in a natural environment that has the ability to de-stress the mind and give a sense of inner calm.
It should be accessible to all, regardless of social background, ability, age or circumstance. It is the role of the qualified forest school leader to assess each learner through an initial six-week period, using a holistic approach to create experiences set against development profiles with the correct amount of challenge to fulfil their needs. These opportunities should develop the social, physical, intellectual, creative, communication, emotional and spiritual aspects of the learner but also empower individuals to self-reflect, recognising their own development and to create strategies for growth and take appropriate risks.
- Safeguarding Policy
Countess Anne School has its own Safeguarding policy which is outlined below:
Countess Anne School: A Church of England Academy
Safeguarding is defined as: protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health or development, ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. (Working Together to Safeguard Children, (DfE, 2018), p6)
All school and college staff, including supply staff, volunteers and contract workers have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.
School staff and volunteers are particularly well placed to observe outward signs of abuse, changes in behaviour and failure to develop because they have daily contact with children.
All school staff will receive appropriate safeguarding children training, including online safety (which is updated regularly – Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership advises every three years), so that they are knowledgeable and aware of their role in the early recognition of the indicators of abuse or neglect and of the appropriate procedures to follow. In addition, all staff members should receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.
Supply staff, contractors and volunteers will be made aware of the safeguarding policies and procedures by the DSL, including The Child Protection Policy and Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct)