We provide a range of training and mentoring opportunities for school staff and future teachers, in order to create a sustainable Forest School movement in Merseyside and North Cheshire.
Our training is boosting the employability of individuals and has helped to create and protect jobs within schools and local organisations.
Staff at schools participate in Forest School sessions run by The Mersey Forest Team, learn techniques from us, are mentored and are then able to lead the sessions in the future. We also encourage individuals to come and observe or participate from external organisations.
In a major step forward for Forest School in the area, students now learn introductory Forest School as part of the undergraduate teacher training curriculum at Liverpool John Moores University. The first course took place in September 2016 at a site newly developed on campus.
We're now aiming to forge links to allow students to include Forest School as an element of their teaching placements within local schools. Many schools running Forest School find it difficult to provide a high ratio of staff to children in Forest School sessions, and trained students could provide a crucial extra resource.
The Mersey Forest co-ordinates a local Forest Schools Network that provides ongoing support to all trained school leaders. Meetings are held at different schools, allowing teachers to view the different Forest School sites and learn from each other.
This peer support network is also attended by others enthused by Forest School, such as volunteers, independent practitioners, forest contractors, and other environmental organisations, providing a broad range of knowledge and support.
The group also provides training courses such as 'Advanced Forest School Skills' and Tree Safety for Forest School Leaders' as well as keeping participants up to date with funding opportunities, internet resources and the work of the National Forest School Association.