"I feel that the co-curricular activities that I take part in are preparing me for life after Forest by giving me the confidence to take on new challenges.”
It was exciting meeting new people when I started at Forest and soon being in new teams, of course. Sport is a massive part of my life, particularly hockey. My team has managed to get to regional finals in the last two years. I play football and also cricket, so I am busy all year round. The School certainly promotes sport and loads of other activities although you don’t have to enjoy sport to enjoy Forest at all. Off the field, I’ve been involved in House Drama and House Music, where because I didn’t play an instrument I ended up as part of a group dancing in front of 600 people. A first for me!
"I like the teachers the best in prep school."
“I am really interested in journalism. For Park News (a weekly newspaper for young people in the UK) I interviewed Tim Peake before he went to space.”
Forest certainly wasn’t as daunting as other schools as I felt there was a warm environment from the very start. Seeing everyone get on so well at Forest made me feel much more at ease.
I don’t know whether the photo shows them, but I have been awarded lots of school badges which reflects the ‘busyness’ of my life at Forest. They include my drama badge for the Lower School Play, as well as one for being a House Monitor. I also took part in House MasterChef making a dark chocolate and raspberry cheesecake for the dessert. That was really cool. Another badge is for public speaking, and best of all is my gold smiley badge which I was awarded for doing an assembly to the Prep School to inspire and encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. Yes, I’m very proud of my badges.
"I want to be a pediatrician when I grow up."
"I’m grateful to Forest for giving me the freedom to explore all my interests, no matter how eccentric."
I’m grateful to Forest for giving me the freedom to explore all my interests, no matter how eccentric. Last year, I organised a two-hour comedy night as part of my EPQ (an A-level project-based qualification on your own chosen interest). With access to the school’s resources and facilities, I booked a performance space, designed a set, recruited acts and a tech team and held a ticketed performance in aid of a charity.
Forest also allows me the flexibility to continue acting and voiceover work outside school. Every kind of person is catered for here at Forest, so we are all different and we embrace and respect those differences. Many of my friends didn’t discover their real passions until Forest enabled them to try new things.
"I like lunch because you eat lots of things like pasta."
“At Forest we have really good coaches. Sport here gave me the pathway to play for the Leyton Orient academy.”
I have been at Forest now for a long time, starting in Reception thirteen years ago! Over that time Forest has helped me develop by giving me freedom to express myself and by not being an oppressive place to learn, although we certainly work pretty hard. I have had some great teachers too. Another thing is that the pupil body here is fantastically diverse, so you learn to deal with different types of people and, as I have done, to enjoy being friends with people from so many different backgrounds.
Whatever I do (and I’ve just started learning to play guitar) my motivation is that I like to do well - I have always been competitive. Learning an instrument was really difficult but I have persevered and already performed in public. Music balances all the football I play for School and Club. If I’m honest, I also really like having a younger brother at Forest - it is nice seeing him around the School. It’s a family school.
"In 'Little Foresters' we get to go into the forest and make things using the nature around us."
“Forest encourages everyone to excel at what they're good at, and celebrates who they are.”
On arrival, I immediately fell in love with the school, the location and the buzz around the place. I I have always loved music and in my first year I played a trumpet concerto with an orchestra – how many people get that opportunity! The Music Department staff here are fantastic and there are concerts nearly every week. But it’s not just music; Forest encourages everyone to improve at what they're good at, to try new things, and celebrates pupils’ achievements whoever they are. In addition to music, I run the Amnesty International Group. Since Year 9, we have raised £3,000. As part of a recent campaign we wrote letters to MPs about the refugee crisis, campaigning for children to be allowed into our country.
"I would like to be the first woman to step on the moon!"
“The Forest Learner has shown me that I can improve my independent work skills.”
I feel it is always good to challenge yourself and part of that is wanting to develop better learning characteristics such as time-management, which I feel I now do well. At Forest we all do research projects (HPQ & EPQ) which have allowed me to build independent work skills. You can choose any topic. My HPQ was on intelligent extra- terrestrial life, and whether it exists in our galaxy - I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t! I also started astronomy in Year 10 as an extra GCSE outside class time. Although there is a lot of academic focus in this school it does give you all sorts of amazing opportunities outside the classroom as well.
"I want to be an athlete when I grow up."
"As part of the Forest Diploma, we have weekly Mindfulness sessions. When you are stressed, frustrated, annoyed, or angry with exams or homework, practicing Mindfulness really helps.”
Forest is different because it’s really diverse and busy. I came because I knew I would be happier being in a place where I could just dive into anything. Now I’m in the Sixth Form I am thinking about life beyond Forest. I want to go to university and study medicine, and am finding that we are prepared thoroughly for the next step. Apart from advice about higher education, I have enjoyed doing community work, learning life skills such as finance management, basic cooking, and Mindfulness, which we all practice. Ready? Close your eyes, slow your thoughts down for one minute, let your emotions and thoughts pass by - but don’t dwell on them. Are you feeling calmer and less stressed now?.
"I like Art and Drama because they enable me to be artistic and explore different ideas."
“I love the Sixth Form is separate to the rest of the School. We have our own space and are treated like adults by our teachers.”
The diamond structure has worked well for me. I feel it’s good to have boys and girls taught separately for the first five years because we do mature in different ways, and then we come together in the Sixth Form where we have our own space and are treated more like young adults.
I have also loved being part of my House from Day 1. It has shaped who I am. As Houses are single-sex, girls are not overshadowed by the boys, or vice versa. Everyone has more confidence to speak out about themselves. I am more outgoing now and have tried new things, such as doing an internship with the Police.
At Forest, we value the thriving development of young people to achieve the very best of which they are capable.
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Our guiding principle is that every pupil is known and valued.
It is often said that Forest pupils are as busy outside of the classroom as they are within it.