Training will allow teachers to become Forest School leaders

Dozens of teachers in Stoke-on-Trent are to become Forest School leaders to help children develop several skills thanks to vital training being delivered by the county’s largest nature conservation charity.

Towards the end of last year, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust was granted £150,000 worth of funding from the Department for Education’s ‘Essential Life Skills programme. The money will allow the charity to deliver Forest School to schools across the Stoke-on-Trent area as part of the Strong Roots: Better Futures project.

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment or as close as possible.

In addition to the Forest School sessions, the Trust is delivering three Forest School Level 3 courses to teaching staff to ensure sustainability of the project. Once they've completed the training, over 40 staff across the city will then be able to go on to deliver their own Forest School sessions in their school setting.

The training, carried out by Trust staff, will help build confidence in teachers to carry out successful Forest School sessions – benefits that will in turn be passed on to the students.

All this training is provided free of charge to these schools as part of the project - removing the barrier of cost.

Vicky Broad, Forest School Officer for the Trust, said: “We are very excited to begin delivering these training sessions to schools across Stoke-on-Trent - we understand the barriers to such training in terms of cost as well as a lack of confidence in delivering outdoor education - and this project is helping us to break these challenges and reach schools and their students.

“Forest School helps children develop their social and emotional skills, and benefits their mental and physical well-being, and we have noticed very positive changes and increased confidence in the children who have taken part in sessions already.

“Training teachers to continue this development after the project has ended ensures that schools and children in Stoke continue to experience the benefits of Forest School for a long time to come."

Limited spaces remain available for teachers. Contact the Trust’s People Engagement team for more details –getwild@staffs-wildlife.org.uk