The Goodwood Education Trust is Recognised for Good Forest School Practice

Goodwood Education Trust | Press Article 17/04/24

The Goodwood Education Trust is celebrating its success at becoming a Recognised Forest School Provider by offering children an opportunity to experience ‘good practice’ Forest School.

The Education Trust is an environmental education charity operating on the Goodwood Estate, established in 1976. With a sustainable and accessible Education Centre nestled in 20 acres of semi-ancient woodland, exclusively for education use, with a mix of outdoor learning spaces, campfire circles, a nature trail and space to play, it’s a fully inclusive environment.

 “Forest School is a really important part of the work we do here as a charity. We work with our local Special School to offer Forest School as part of their Wellbeing-Wednesdays. We work with the West Sussex Alternative Provision College to run Forest School sessions for children who have been excluded or are at risk of being excluded from mainstream schooling. The ethos of Forest School is very much child-led, giving the children the ability to make their own choices. We are delighted to have been recognised as a Forest School Provider in this way.” Anne Bartlett, Education Officer for the Education Trust and Forest School Leader

Forest School is a specialised learning approach based in a woodland or natural environment with trees. It offers all participants regular opportunities to develop self-confidence and esteem through hands-on learning experiences. Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning in Scandinavia.

In October 2017, the Forest School Association (FSA) - the UK’s professional body and voice for all things Forest School - launched a new scheme to recognise Forest School Providers who demonstrated that they are following good Forest School practice - the FSA Recognised Forest School Provider scheme. Successful applicants such as the Goodwood Education Trust are added to a publicly accessible map on the FSA’s website.

For parents wondering where to send their children, or even for decision makers such as Local Authorities and Academies, it is important to know that a provider is operating professionally. Are they working in accordance with good Forest School practice? Are the sessions conducted so that the children’s self-confidence, communication skills, use of tools (among other skills), is progressing week on week? Do they have the appropriate qualifications, First Aid Certificate and risk assessment processes in place? Are the woodland sites well managed? The FSA Recognised Forest School Provider Scheme offers that reassurance!

Gareth Wyn Davies (CEO of the Forest School Association) says, “Good Forest School practice is being followed by dedicated Forest School professionals all over the UK. We believe that the FSA Recognised Forest School Provider scheme will provide these schools and organisations with the means of demonstrating the quality of their work to parents and those who fund their work.  It will also help promote their work as they will be found on the FSA publicly searchable map.  Forest School is a distinct learning approach based on a set of 6 principles.  Our scheme helps people identify those providers who are following good Forest School practice and distinguishes them from other outdoor education that is not Forest School.

We therefore congratulate the Goodwood Education Trust on their success at becoming an approved ‘good practice’ provider.”

The scheme takes providers through an evidence-based assessment process ensuring that their practice meets all the necessary requirements to operate professionally in line with the 6 good practice principles of Forest School. It also gives providers a chance to take stock of their programme(s) to see if any improvements need to be made.

Catherine Cannon, Goodwood Education Trust Manager said, ‘This recognition demonstrates our commitment to the Forest School principles, and importantly recognises the professional approach adopted in our practice. The Trust is one of the few Providers in West Sussex to achieve this recognition, and illustrates the high quality of our offer to education settings, all year round’.

Feedback from successful applicants who have been through the application process has so far proved positive but ultimately the real success comes from the participants using Forest School. As David, aged 14, confirms, “I don’t have ADHD when I’m out in the woods!”.

Ensuring provision is professional is a major part of this experience and the FSA’s goal is to ensure that more positive outcomes, like David’s, are the result of good practice Forest School provision.

Learn more about the Goodwood Education Trust here


FSA - Recognised Provider Badge awarded to Goodwood Education Trust.png