Hunsbury Park Primary

We are very lucky to have extensive grounds surrounding the school. EYFS and years 1 to 2 each have access to their own outdoor areas which they use every day. This includes ‘mud kitchens’, sand pits and a story telling area. Within the grounds we also have an outdoor story telling area, a traversing wall, a ‘trim trail’, a multi-use games area and two fields.

We are a Forest School and affiliated to the nationwide organisation: Forest School Association. We provide an environment based on the ethos of Forest School. Sessions are led by a qualified teacher and forest school practitioners.

Our Ethos

To encourage children to be risk aware in order to investigate the world around them; to keep themselves and others safe; to care for our environment and to have fun.

What is Forest School?

Forest Schools have been developed from the concept which originated in Scandinavia during the 1950's. A concept that encourages to lead their own learning, to identify risks and adapt to their surroundings safely. At present, learning outdoors is making an impact in the media. References are made to the improvement in behaviour, learning and self-reliance in children and adults who participate in the ‘great outdoors’.

The children visit our on-school site, Hunsbury Park and surrounding areas and other outdoor areas on a weekly basis and, through play, learn about the natural environment, how to solve problems and work with each other, learn to manage risks and explore for themselves. School staff model positive relationships and guide and support children through a range of activities. Whilst the ethos is deeply involved in child-centred play and exploration, at Hunsbury Park we have a skills progression programme that nurtures understanding and willingness to try new challenges.

Skills progression includes:

  • Dressing appropriately in all weather conditions – it may seem surprising but some children do not know what being cold feels like, or how to warm themselves up. A key aspect of Forest School is to encourage to select their own clothing…if I have cold hands how could I warm them up? My feet are cold…how could solve that problem?
  • Keeping themselves safe in the outside world – some children are over confident outside and have little understanding of safe boundaries, other children may be too frightened to be away from indoors or a grown-up. We encourage children to create safe spaces for themselves under staff guidance. In addition, children are encouraged to make shelters dens to protect themselves in sun, rain and wind.
  • How to use knots, bows and lashing - children like to create and by teaching them how to tie things together supports their imaginative play.
  • Using secateurs and scissors safely – this enables children to cut pieces of wood to the length required – whether for making things or for burning on fires.
  • Understanding the dangers of fire and how to keep safe - children are shown how to use fire-strikers, building and maintaining fires and cooking using fires. Whilst some children are excited by fire many are frightened. By encouraging children to manage the risk they themselves build understanding and confidence.
  • Using compasses to find direction, map skills and identifying key features -  children are encouraged to explore the wider area and investigate how to keep themselves safe whilst having an adventure.
  • Using tree loppers and saws -  to cut larger pieces of wood to use in dens, fire building and creating.

Alongside these key skills children are provided with resources or collect resources to build imaginative play: pine cones, sticks, clay, bags for making kites, magic potions, natural art – the list is exhaustive. We sometimes use stories as a prompt: The Stick Man, The Gruffalo, The Tunnel. When walking we carry identification sheets, magnifying glasses and collection trays to gather items of interest.

What happens in Forest School?

Each class has a term’s session (approximately six sessions) to participate in Forest School. A letter is sent to parents informing them of these times alongside a kit list. Children are asked to bring their Forest School kit to change into. This allows the children not to be constrained in keeping clothes clean. It also encourages children to be responsible for their belongings and it builds independence when changing their clothes. Wellingtons are an essential item of clothing as investigating puddles and mud is important and great fun.               

The children undertake a range of activities from the key skills session. In addition, observing changes in the seasons is a key element in understanding the world around them. Spotting new buds, blossom, seeds and bare branches enable children to see how life cycles occur. We may pick and taste blackberries, play conkers, go on crunchy leaf walks, smell flowers, forage, make kites and if we are lucky enough…make snowmen and snowballs. Hill rolling, climbing trees, playing hide and see, making swings and see-saws are activities very much encouraged.

We offer a parent session during each term so that parents can share the children’s experiences. Children love showing off their skills, modelling how to keep safe and most importantly – playing with their family.

Residential Visits

  • Years 5 and 6 have a residential visit to Kingswood outdoor learning centre for 5 days.
  • Pupils in year 6 also have the opportunity to visit Grendon Outdoor Learning Centre for 3 days.
  • Year 4 pupils visit Everdon Field Studies Centre for 3 days.
  • All year groups have at least a one-day educational outdoor visit each year as well as regularly using the local area to enhance their learning.

Keeping Safe at HPPS

  • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
  • The Designated Safeguarding Lead is Mrs Gail Barnshaw (Head teacher).
  • The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead are Mrs Jo Fantarrow and Mrs Helen Bambridge.

When coming into HPPS please remember:

  • Personal mobile phones are NOT allowed to be used or available for use whilst working with a child, group or class. This is to safeguard both the child/ren and you.  This is a non-negotiable rule.
  • Visitors or staff who do not have full DBS clearance wear a YELLOW lanyard.  This means they are NOT allowed to work unsupervised with a pupil or group.