Learning Outside the Classroom / Farm School
Through the curriculum’s intent and implementation, pupils have appropriate and developmental opportunities to explore the world around them and are encouraged to use their skills and knowledge independently in real-life contexts. A clear rationale to our approach to Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) allows for a measured and robust approach for all pupils to experience regular, targeted enrichment opportunities to broaden their life experiences and increase their cultural capital. This includes making full use of our outdoor spaces, curriculum trips, community engagement, residentials, use of sports facilities and sporting events etc alongside a wide range of invited visitors such as musicians, clergy and drama companies.
Our onsite Farm School is a fantastic addition to our Outdoor Learning offer. Students can experience a range of animals, at present we have two Kune Kune pigs Roly and Reggie, Two Pygmy goats Hansel and Hercules, six chickens, three rabbits Thumper, Tiggy and Joey and four guinea pigs Bill and Bobby and Frosty and Gerald. All of our animals have been rehomed and one of our former students' parents has kindly donated our chickens and goats. Students are learning how to care for animals and hold animals correctly and they can gain an Animal Care qualification in KS4.
Have you heard about our 'Future Fridays' programme? This is an exciting focus for us each week, as we take part in a planned, progressive series of learning opportunities which focus on our career aspirations and building up our community engagement. Every student gets to try new things, go to new places, learn new skills, and develop interests and skills that they didn't know they had! Mrs White, out Enrichment Leader, oversees this curriculum and it really helps our students to look to the future with confidence and excitement.
All our Lower and Middle School (KS1, 2 and 3) students have a weekly Outdoor Learning session, where they develop skills in nature study and horticulture. These are led by their class tutor. Classes look after the planting beds and learn about native plants and flowers that encourage wildlife into our play spaces. Upper School students can choose to take Land Studies and/or Environmental Studies as Options subjects and they continue to develop their knowledge and skills in our outdoor areas, helping to maintain the grounds and develop planting schemes.
We also have a dedicated Forest School area. Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. We have several Forest School-accredited staff who can lead these activities.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
- Equal, unique and valuable
- Competent to explore & discover
- Entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
- Entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
- Entitled to experience regular success
- Entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
- Entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
- Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practise.