Trust receives funding to deliver Forest School sessions in Stoke-on-Trent

School children in Stoke-on-Trent are being given the chance to develop their skills in a safe outdoor environment after Staffordshire Wildlife Trust received funding to deliver Forest School sessions across the city.

The Trust, the county’s largest nature conservation charity, has been 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. The project is managed by Stoke City Council and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is one of 12 providers that will be delivering over the next year.

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.

Forest School allows children to develop and gain essential life skills. In particular, it encourages and provides opportunities for creativity, confidence, motivation and aspiration, resilience, persistence, flexibility and adaption, communication, curiosity and problem solving, tolerance and respect.

Staff from schools will be asked to select students who they think will benefit most from the sessions, and the Trust’s Forest School Officers will pick it up from there.

The sessions will be delivered before or after school or in lunchtime and take place in school grounds, parks or green spaces within walking distance.

In addition, staff from the Trust will also deliver 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.

Alexis Johnson, Senior Learning Officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It's an absolute win-win-win. Students will be receiving quality outdoor time and attention to help develop their soft skills and confidence. Teachers will see improvements in the classroom, but also benefit by taking part in a fully-funded course that typically costs upwards of £900 per place.

“Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will be able to introduce nature to around 90 groups of students, and build the foundations of what we hope to be a lifelong relationship with wildlife.”

Any schools in the Stoke-on-Trent area should email Alexis Johnson at the Trust a.johnson@staffs-wildlife.org.uk to be directed to the Forest School Officer in your area.