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New scheme for recognising good Forest School practice

The Forest School Association, the UK’s professional body and voice for all things Forest School, have launched a NEW scheme for recognising Forest School Providers who are following good Forest School practice. This is the FSA Recognised Forest School Provider scheme. The first successful applicants have been added to the publicly accessible map and database.

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 new Recognised Forest School Provider scheme will help people identify those providers who are following good Forest School practice and distinguish them from outdoor and woodland education that are not Forest School.”

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!

As soon as we saw the new Forest School Association’s (FSA) Forest School Provider scheme we knew this was one for us. Our children love their weekly morning in the woods and our whole team of staff are fully engaged and committed to this approach and many parents choose us as their child's school because we offer this. We know that having this recognition will give us something that other schools do not.” - Francesca McLoughlin, Headteacher, Sparkwell Primary School

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.

Organisations can apply to be approved as an ‘introductory’ or ‘recognised’ provider depending on the length and frequency of the programmes they offer. If they fulfil all the evidence needs, and their application is successful, applicants receive a range of benefits including an e-badge that they can display on their website, premises and literature, plus a range of member discounts. They are also listed on our online publicly searchable map. The first successful applicants can now be viewed here.

The Forest School Association is the professional body and UK wide voice for Forest School, promoting best practice, cohesion and 'quality Forest School for all'. Its charitable purpose is "the advancement of education for public benefit through promotion and support of quality Forest School in the United Kingdom using any means to enable all children, young people and adults to benefit from increased opportunities for high quality and varied educational experiences in the natural world."

Details on how to join the Forest School Provider scheme and its benefits can be found here.