POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
About All Seasons Forest School
Here at All Seasons Forest School we are committed to a fun, safe and holistic provision in nature where all people attending, working and assisting are valued and respected and have the opportunity to engage, play learn and connect together in nature.
Guided by the principles of the Forest School Association our aim is to promote positive connections and direct experiences that have nature and ourselves in relation to nature at the core. As the seasons unfold and turn our regular woodland sessions offer opportunities for undirected play, discovery and exploration, finding our own intrinsic motivation, the scaffolding and learning of skills, the opportunity for relative risk taking, a forum for social and emotional awareness and development, caretaking and guardianship of the natural world.
We offer a variety of sessions, some one-off and some ongoing according to the Forest School Ethos: school’s sessions, after school clubs, parties, holidays and in collaboration with Nature Connections Glos, women’s days and family days.
All Seasons Forest School is run by Carrie Roet. Carrie holds the following qualifications: Level 3 Forest School Leader, ITC Level 3 award in Paediatric First Aid, ITC 16 Hour Forest School First Aid Course , NCFE Level 2 Bushcraft Survival and Wilderness Living Skills , Food Safety and Hygiene. Enhanced DBS. Safeguarding.
Sessions may be run by other Forest School Leaders with a minimum Level 3 Forest School Leader, Enhanced DBS and First Aid qualifications.
The following policies and procedures are written and updated on an ongoing basis to reflect the values we uphold. Further policies and procedures specific to play, activities, tool use, site management and ecological impact are available on request.
We will go ahead whatever the weather excepting storm conditions, high winds (sustained wind speed 20 miles or above; gusts will be at the Forest School Leaders discretion and site dependent), thunder, lightening, driving rain where participants likely to get soaked to the skin, or any combination of the above.
In the instance that we can relocate session to a safe area, away from trees or more sheltered spot we will continue the session, advising parents/guardians if necessary that the session may be foreshortened. In the instance that we have to cancel a session we will advise parents/guardians 24 hours before session due to start of the possibility of cancelling.
Clothing Requirements for Forest School
It is essential that anyone attending sessions dress appropriately for the
weather, site and activities. While we appreciate that not everyone owns or
can afford the most high tech outdoor clothing we want everyone to have a
positive experience and clothing is a major contributor to our comfort and well-
being. We have compiled a clothing list with tips that means that everyone
can come better prepared. Please do speak to us if you don’t have a certain
item of clothing for your child. Although we don’t supply clothing generally, we
3 All Seasons Forest School, 1 Terrace Cottages London Road, Thrupp, Gloucestershire Gl5 2BN carry a few extra items, hats, waterproofs etc.
Clothing List All Year
Waterproof coat ideally with a hood . This needs only be lightweight most of the year as warm layers can be added underneath. Even in summer in the woods it can be very cool unless exceptionally hot weather.
Waterproof trousers. They keep us dry and we can get down in the dirt no matter what the weather. Salopets are also great in winter. Salopets often turn up in charity shops Autum/Winter and Lidl offer cheap waterproofs seasonally.
Sturdy shoes. Walking boots, wellies, old shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty ok in summer. If it is wet or muddy underfoot go with with wellies but remember extra socks . Avoid trainers if they are not waterproof. No sandles or crocs, please. Extra socks in wellies during cold weather as they are not warm!
Spare clothes and carrier bag for wet/dirty clothing in named rucksack. These may be for a complete change or adding extra layers – jumpers, trousers, socks etc.
Long sleeved top. This forms our baselayer; other layers can be added on top in cold weather. It needs only be cotton in summer but the long sleeves will help deter ticks. Autumn, Winter and sometimes Spring ideally layer up more thin layers underneath or on top . The space between the layers will trap warm air.
Long trousers. In summer this needs only be a light cotton layer but will deter ticks. Add tights/leggings/thermals underneath Autumn/Winter. Avoid jeans in wet, damp weather as they don’t dry out. No skirts, no shorts please.
Remember sun hats, warm hats, gloves and neck warmers depending
on the time of year.
Extra layers make all the difference on cooler days
Several learning theorists, such as Montessori and Froebel have placed a great emphasis upon the benefits of playing outdoors. Play is a vitally important part of child’s social, emotional and environmental development, Play England and should be integral to Forest School sessions where a significant part of learning happens through play and is directed by the children themselves.
Through play children will learn to risk assess within a safe environment. When talking of risk assessing we mean physical and social emotional challenges, that is climbing a tree or building friendships. It means stepping into the unknown and ‘... involves a consideration of the benefits against the possible undesirable consequences of the behaviour as well as the probability of success or failure’ (Little, 2006)
Adults supporting session should understand the benefits of free play, how to support, when to respond; intervene when children are advertently or inadvertently out of line with behavioural expectations (see Behaviour - Code of Conduct Policy) and have an awareness of play scenarios being acted out.
Adults are to remain positive remembering that in risk taking there may be minor physical harm, a fall, a cut or an emotional reaction to perceived failure of self-set physical challenge. Our role is to provide an environment that is not free of risk but holds challenges that will potentially help our skills for life: resilience, emotional regulation, raised self-esteem.
There will be adults in sessions designated for monitoring free play. Their level of presence will be low key unless actively sought by the children for assistance or as part of structured team building games and activities designed for adults and children to get to know each other in preliminary sessions.
Designated adults have a responsibility to report to the Forest School Leader play scenarios that may require intervention or extra supervision pre- emptively or in the case of any situation deemed an incident (see Incident Reporting procedure) .
The Forest School Leader is responsible for communicating with staff children that are noted to have behavioral issues or particular needs requiring more support.
Tool use is about responsibility, creativity, solving problems making our ideas happen, exploring qualities of materials; managing our own risks. In Forest School we support children (and adults) to use real tools, sometimes ‘edged’ - that is sharp. Anything from a small pull or pruning saw, knife, or axe qualifies. Children may want to bring their own knife to a club or holiday session in which case parents need to consult the leader prior to the session. We will need to ensure that the knife is legal, well maintained and have parental consent for use. We will carry and store the knife when it is not being used by your child as with all tools being used during the session.
The law is strict around storage, carrying and usage and we take care in observing current legislation. Legislation states that ‘It is illegal to carry any sharp or bladed instrument in a public place (with the exception of a folding pocket knife, which has a blade that is less than 7.62 cm (3 inches)). Without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.’
Forest School provides a legal context for tools as opposed to weapons as long as it can be proven that the right measures are taken to make this clear.
• Use tools that are suitable for the 'job of work'.
• Avoid totally illegal implements. A list of knives banned in the UK can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives.
• Choose tools that are brightly coloured or high vis, these are less likely to be treated as a concealed weapon.
• Put covers on tools or keep them wrapped up to cover the blades.
• Store in a tool bag or box.
• Store tools together – this demonstrates that they are for use with groups rather than as a personal item.
• When travelling in a vehicle put tools in the boot or an area that isn't easily accessible by the driver or passengers
• When travelling on foot put tools in the bottom of your bag or rucksack make them as inaccessible as possible.
• Ensure you only carry your tools when going directly to or from your ‘reasonable excuse’. Having used them the day before or earlier in the day, or planning to use them later may not be interpreted as ‘reasonable excuse’.
• Ensure anyone carrying tools is over the age of 18.
• Carry a copy of our FSA Forest School Practitioner knife law disclaimer in our tool box or tool bag
Our general rules
Tools must be maintained. We are responsible for our tools being in good condition, making sure they are clean and sharp and fit for purpose.
No tools are used without the Forest School Leader’s permission.
Children and adults may use tools only once having been shown the correct handling procedure and can demonstrate this. The Forest School Leader is trained in their use and is responsible for overseeing. Sometimes another member of staff is fully capable of supervising tool use in which case they will be knowledgable of the correct handling procedure and skills progression.
There is a designated area for tool use which is set apart from the main activity. An adult will be present to supervise specific tool use. In longer or structured sessions there will be a designated time for tool use.
Children do not carry tools with them outside of designate area unless under express permission to do so for a specific purpose under supervision. Measures must be in place to ensure carrying is safe. The edge must be covered/folded in a sheath, no running with tool.
Permission to use tools will be withdrawn in the case that persons using are unable to follow safety briefing.
The use of individual tools is also subject to risk assessment and risk benefit which is available on request.
Volunteers and Assistants
All Seasons Forest School welcomes volunteers. Volunteers come to us for a number of reasons and help with running of sessions - maintaining high ratios and supporting low risk activities. They may have a child attending or are interested in training as a Forest School Leader or looking to gain work experience. We value their individual strengths as part of creating a community. Volunteers may not have an enhanced DBS. They will not be left unsupervised with children without this, e,g toileting, supporting children out of sight.
Assistants may or may not have Forest School training but will have a suitable background either in the realm of childcare, outdoor education, playwork, teaching or related. All Seasons considers it valuable to have practitioners with diverse backgrounds and not limiting to the delivery of Forest School as long as they support the ethos, are familiar with and adhere to policies and procedures, and can provide proof of enhanced DBS.
Holiday clubs and after school clubs where possible will be run with a co-
leader. The co-leader will have responsibility as a Forest School Leader for
planning, co-ordinating and delivering sessions at times in the stead of the Forest School Leader. The co-leader will be a trained FS Level 3 with First Aid , enhanced DBS, Safeguarding or have the latter three qualifications and be deemed by the Forest School Leader to be fully competent to stand in their stead.
Volunteers, assistants and co-leaders will be given a copy of the All Season’s handbook. They will also either be given a copy of the designated person’s responsibility checklist and will have the opportunity to discuss the role with the Forest School Leader or will have a verbal dialogue with the Forest School Leader prior to session. If volunteers/assistants are to assist with activities requiring specific knowledge e.g. tool-use (excepting knives, axes), they will be offered an induction to these activities. They will be asked to sign and date evidence that they have read and understood the handbook.
To support the creation of a friendly, respectful culture towards ourselves, each other and the environment our first sessions will start with establishing the ground rules. This takes place in our basecamp at the beginning of every session. At an age appropriate level this means establishing ground- rules as collaboratively as possible with active contributions from the children and adult guidance. In school’s it may mean reinforcing the school’s existing behavioral expectations with the children also invited to contribute towards the adult-led discussion that leads to establishing an agreement.
Code of Conduct Policy – Children
In Forest School we discuss the importance of three things:
Looking after ourselves
Looking after each other
Looking after this site or place
This means that:
We develop and maintain an acceptable attitude towards one another, the environment and all equipment.
Listen carefully and respond to instructions and requests, especially those concerning safety.
Cooperate with each other.
Follow this code of behaviour and other rules.
Have good manners.
Join in with team activities
Respect each other’s differences.
Treat staff and volunteers with respect.
Report anything that worries or concerns me to an adult or to
the Forest School Leader
Forest School promotes and upholds
Self awareness of personal abilities and limitations
Respect and care for oneself, other people and the environment
Co-operation and non-violent communication
A belief that underpinning good behaviour is a sense of belonging and being heard. Through affirming positive relationship a child explores sense of themselves and gains an understanding of limits.
An adults role is key in facilitating this is. This means that:
There is an active dialogue between myself, other staff and children, therefore facilitating regular opportunities to learn communication. During holiday sessions children will be made aware that they can approach any adult at any time with any concerns. Where a child is very young or shy they will be designated specific adult
Children will be consulted in a development appropriate way in order to contribute towards ‘ground rules’.
Children being encouraged to be emotionally literate, that is, to know themselves and self-regulate and self-reflect. Reference to our collaborative agreement will be made.
Childrens’ body language and demeanor will be observed by all adults during morning and afternoon session and over breaks. Staff will feedback to Forest School Leader promptly if children appear withdrawn or unhappy. Appropriate measures will be taken to engage with children and ascertain cause.
In line with Equality Act 2010 All Seasons Forest School is committed to
providing an environment where every person is treated equally independent of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, ethnic heritage, religion or belief, gender, or sexual orientation.
The Forest school ethos promotes a person centred approach. All persons participating are considered unique and valuable. A necessary part of the ethos is creating a culture where we understand and celebrate differences.
We make every attempt to make activities available and accessible for all.
Some of our sites are accessible up a steep slope, access paths are narrow and uneven, however, we are looking to offer more holiday sessions from Hailey Wood nr Cirencester which offers more level terrain and easier access.
Incident Reporting Procedure
We understand and expect that at times we will need to intervene in a scenario, play or otherwise between one or more children, it is part an parcel of understanding ourselves and each other. In most cases adult intervention will not constitute an incident however the incident reporting procedure is designed to promote good practice, communication and dialogue between all assisting adults and an environment where children feel safe and valued.
Anything that constitutes a child advertently or inadvertently behaving in a way that does not uphold our Forest School values of Looking after ourselves, Each Other and The Place/Site should be considered an incident.
In the event of an ‘incident’ children are encouraged, once calm, to look at identifying emotions and other ways to manage or communicate their feelings. Any situation that requires mediation each child will be given the opportunity - if necessary away from the group – to articulate events as they see them. Adults will be non-biased, positive, non- dismissive and questioning non-leading. If their adult is involved with another child/ren at the time as games activities evolve the children will be made aware at the beginning of the day that they can inform any adult of any situation without repercussions of being dismissed or told off. This will be made clear through repetition in basecamp.
In the event of an altercation/ upset game play/activities with involved children will cease until conflict is resolved. The Forest School Leader will prioritise emotional well-being of children over over-seeing activities. Children will be expected to respect this and encouraged to understand the value of looking after each other.
Any incident requiring adult mediation should be reported to the Forest School Leader who will if necessary log this in on incident record to be shared with parents/carers.
A child who is upset for any reason known or unknown should reported immediately to FS Leader who will make a decision as to how this is handled.
Anti – Bullying
The issue of bullying is very serious. Bullying will not be accepted or condoned within sessions. All forms of bullying will be addressed. Bullying can include;
Physical pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching, etc.
Name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing and
emotional torment through ridicule, humiliation and the continual ignoring
Sexual comments and/or suggestions
Unwanted physical contact.
In our sessions we uphold
Respect for the need for, and rights to, an environment where safety,
security, praise, recognition and opportunity for taking responsibility are
Respect every individual’s feelings and views.
Recognise that everyone is important and that our differences make each
of us special.
Show appreciation of others by acknowledging individual qualities,
contributions and progress.
Behavioral and code of conduct is explained at the beginning of each
session and reinforced throughout
We explain to the child doing the bullying why his/her behaviour is
We give reassurance to the child who has been bullied.
We help the child who has done the bullying to say sorry for his/her
We make sure children who bully receive praise when they display
We do not label children who bully.
When children bully we will record this as an incident
The parent will be made aware of the incident and asked to sign a copy of
All Seasons Forest School upholds its duty and commitment to providing a safe environment, identifying children and young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and taking appropriate action.
Staff members and volunteers are asked to speak to the designated Forest School Leader who will be acting as the Designated Safeguarding Lead if they are unclear about any of the following information or unsure what to do should they be concerned about a child or young person during sessions.
When and what I might be concerned about?
You may observe physical signs, notice changes in a child’s behaviour or presentation, pick up signs of emotional distress or have a child disclose a harmful experience to you.
Harm to a child can be caused by:
A family member/friend
A member of staff/volunteer
What should I do if a child discloses that she/he has been harmed?
Listen: Listen carefully and do not interrupt
Reassure: Reassure the child that it is not their fault. Stress that it was the right thing to tell. Stay calm, attentive and non-judgmental. Do not promise to keep what was said a secret. Ask non-leading questions e.g. (who, what, when, why, how) to clarify if necessary.
What must I do?
Share your concerns verbally with the Designated Safeguarding Lead without delay.
Make a written record using disclosures form. This applies also to concerns.
Pass the written record to the Designated Safeguarding Lead without delay.
If your concern is about a staff member or volunteer, you should report this to the most senior person not implicated in the concern. This may well be the other Forest School Leader. The senior person will then contact the Children’s Practitioner Advice Line
Children's Practitioner Advice Line:
If you wish to speak to a qualified social worker for advice, please call 01452 426565 (option 3). If a child is at immediate risk of significant harm (option 1).
Appropriate behaviour from adults towards children must be upheld at all times. For further guidance please read ‘Safer Working Practices for Adults who work with Children and Young People in Education Settings.’ Also found on GSCB website. www.gscb.org.uk
Cameras and Phones
Express permission to take photographs during holiday sessions and parties is sought on the consent and medical declaration form.
Parents are made aware that photographs may be used on social media and website and for marketing purposes. Children are not named or tagged.
Staff may take pictures using the Forest School Leader’s smart phone however they may only use the camera function. Staff or any visitors to the site may not take photographs of the children with their own devices.
In accordance with GDPR photographs will be held for 2 years and then destroyed.
All Seasons Forest School is registered with Information Commissioners Office as holding personal data including photographs on a computer and mobile device.
All Seasons Forest School is committed to ensuring your data is held securely and used only for the purpose stated.
We collect personal information relating to you and your child/yp to ensure their safety during our sessions and to pass onto third parties such as the emergency services if necessary. Personal information is stored in a secure place accessible only to those with right or need to access them.
Personal information is collected via bookwhen, and squarespace and mailchimp - secure, password protected sites , or a paper copy for a particular event.
Consent forms are printed as a paper copy and held in a health and safety folder - pertinent to the event the attendee has subscribed to and away from general access. Staff working with the children/yp will have access this information. Consent forms are held only as long as needed and then destroyed. In the event of an accident/ incident relating to an attendee personal information will be kept securely for 6 years after attending the event.
No information is shared with 3rd parties without the express consent of the parent/carer with parental responsibility for the child or person attending the event. * Express consent is sought for contacting clients by email regarding future events and taking and using photographs of the child/yp/adult attending events for publicity, funding bids, records.
You have the right to request the deletion of your personal information held for the above purposes at any time. This can be done by email.
* Information given by parents/carers relating to a child will not be passed on without permission unless the persona safety of that young person is in question and the Child Protection Policy will override confidentiality on a need to know basis.
All Seasons Forest School is registered with the ICO for the purposes of holding personal records on a computer and photographs/videos on a digital device.
In order to ensure compliance with the above membership is renewed annually.
Staff and volunteers are to be aware of the need to protect children’s privacy and legal requirements relating to children’s information.
Any breach of personal data will be reported to the ICO within 72 hours of occurrence and clients informed.
Should high winds or storm be forecast, we will advise you of the possibility of cancellation 24 hours prior to session/party. In the case that the session is cancelled due to unsafe weather (see weather policy p.3)you will be entitled to a refund for that session. Should you wish to cancel your holiday booking, refunds will be available in the event you’re your child’s place can be filled by another and enough notice is given. In the event of a party cancellation, please advise us a minimum of two weeks beforehand for a full refund. In the event that the session is cancelled due to staff illness you will be given a full refund. An admin fee of £5 will be withheld in all instances bar the last. Refunds are not given for illness/no shows.
Feedback & Concerns
We welcome feedback as essential to our practice, whether it is to share good things that you or your child has experienced, or to raise an issue. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Concerns that are not resolved verbally may become a formal complaint in which All Seasons Forest School will log complaint in writing, detailing nature of complaint and actions/outcomes within 28 days. If parents/guardians are satisfied with the actions/outcome the record will be stored. Should they wish to take the complaint further they are advised to contact Social Services in which case the logged complaint will be made available to Social Services.
All Seasons Forest School, 1 Terrace Cottages London Road, Thrupp, Gloucestershire Gl5 2BN
Mob 07772175911 firstname.lastname@example.org www.allseasonsforestschool.co.uk www.facebook.com/allseasonsforestschool
Policy updated Jan 2019