“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 like the teachers the best in prep school."
“There are so many opportunities at Forest.”
Forest was very different from my small primary school. Walking around Forest, there would be people I didn’t know but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be because I said ‘hi’ to everyone and they said ‘hi’ back.
The way school is organised helps too, everyone being in both a form and a House. We see our form group every single day in registration and in class, whereas we have weekly House meetings with our Housemistress and the girls in other year groups but do lots of House activities together. The Diamond Structure has helped too. I like being taught in all girl groups, although knowing that you can make friends with boys outside class, like in Drama or Science Club, really helps.
"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?.
"The best thing about school how many sports we can play."
“In Year 7, I broke the record for javelin - I think my attitude to sport transfers into academic study.”
I joined Forest in Year 7 and in my first year I broke the school javelin record. Although I enjoy sport a lot, I think my attitude to sport definitely transfers into my academic studies too. For instance, I really like Science; I find it exciting because it is challenging whereas if I find things too easy I quickly get bored! And that’s been the same with my learning outside the classroom where the challenge to be successful has pushed me on in hockey as I have progressed to be part of the England U.16 squad this year. However, when I’m older I still want to be a lawyer.
"We get lots of certificates for the things that we do inside and outside of school."
“I play cricket and the bassoon, but not at the same time!”
Forest has always helped me to reflect on what I am good at and where I might need to improve. My favourite subject is Science, which might be because I particularly love learning about animals and plants in Biology. For all our subjects there are good guidelines on how to do homework and during the exam period teachers offer you revision sessions and materials. Outside lesson time, I play cricket and the bassoon, but not at the same time! Whatever you are good at, it is fair to say that Forest teachers praise you when you put the hard work in, and if you need to improve they will invariably support you and find time to chat.
"I want to be a pediatrician when I grow up."
“The best things about Forest are the co-curricular activities which are really outstanding. ”
Forest has a real sense of community. You feel accepted here and everyone around you is supportive. Personally, this helps me in my music and academic work and through the stressful parts of the school day because life at Forest is pretty hectic. Most days I spend the time before school, during lunch and after school playing music. I play four instruments: violin, piano, guitar, and I sing. I also play football, cricket and basketball. However, being busy has helped me discover the satisfactions of seeing that with anything it takes really hard work to get to the stage you want to be at, but when you do it is so rewarding.
"I want to be an artist when I grow up."
“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 would like to be the first woman to step on the moon!"
“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.
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.
The Informed Parent (TIP) is dedicated to providing news, information, and reassurance to Forest parents as their children move up the School