King Athelstan School

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I loved the camp fire and roasting marshmallows. I also loved stroking the newt that we found in the pond. The day was relaxing and calming, it was such a good day

a child

“Forest School is amazing; the children were all totally engaged in what they were doing, and all seemed to be really enjoying the activities…This seems to be a fantastic opportunity for those children involved“

a teacher

Oh my goodness! My daughter came home buzzing about forest school! She never comes home so excited! She enjoyed it immensely! Thanks!

a parent

As part of our commitment to our local community, our neighbouring school, King Athelstan, visits our site weekly to take part in our Forest School program and experience the benefits of our woodland.

We use a specialised outdoor learning approach that allows all our children regular opportunities to achieve, to develop confidence, to boost self-esteem, and enjoy a hands-on learning experience in a woodland and natural environment with trees. 


We have created a safe nurturing space which allows individuals to explore their feelings and behaviours at their own pace. We challenge them, through play based activity,  and support  them through their decisions and processes to help them recognise how different choices and use of their emotional resilience “toolkit”  may lead to different outcomes. 

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Stephen Simpson

Forest School Leader

Stephen Simpson has worked for over twenty years with 3-18 year olds in creative indoor and outdoor environments in both state and independent schools. He undertook the Level Three Forest School Leaders course in 2017.

Stephen is a passionate believer in using alternative learning methods with children who need help coping with the pressures of the modern classroom.


He believes environment plays a crucial part in being able to access learning. This has led him to outdoor learning and to set up Forest Schooling UK and OWL.


Sam Taylor-Colls PhD

Outdoor Practitioner

Sam Taylor-Colls PhD is a Research Psychologist in Children and Families who has been working with vulnerable children and families for the last fifteen years.


Sam has successfully written and completed her PhD looking at the relationship between a child’s social environment and their emotional development. Before joining St John’s Sam worked collaboratively with health care professionals, local authorities and educational establishments to nurture and protect children’s emotional well-being.


Ann Hutchinson

Teacher & SENCO

Ann is a teacher at St John’s school and is passionate about young people having the best opportunities in life. She studied in Early Years to support children in having the best start in the school environment.


Ann specialises in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. In 2007 she went to Sweden to study Forest schools in their education system and was stimulated by that experience to create Forest school in an English setting. Ann is a trustee of Creative Youth, organisers of the International Youth Arts Festival.


Jack Dimes

Teaching Assistant

Jack has a keen interest in youth work. After working with young people at Creative Youth, Jack’s interest in mental well-being grew, leading him to become a personal trainer focussed in outdoor physical activity. Jack is an outdoor enthusiast and believes children can benefit emotionally from being in an outdoor environment. 


Jack passion For providing opportunities for children who need extra support in their environment stems from his own school experiences and his understanding that children can achieve their full potential when given the opportunity to do so.