“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.
"We get lots of certificates for the things that we do inside and outside of school."
“At Forest we have really good coaches. Sport here gave me the pathway to play for the Leyton Orient academy.”
"I like the teachers the best in prep school."
"At Forest, everyone has different interests, so I’m not defined by my music or anything else."
I really enjoy school – I’m told I always have a big smile on my face. Most of all, I’m loving the variety of music here at Forest. I’m in the Sixth Form jazz band and lots of other groups; consequently, most lunch times I can be found in the music block doing something. I’ve been rehearsing for House Music a lot lately which has been really good fun. I also had a role earlier this year in the English National Opera’s production of the Magic Flute which played at the London Coliseum. My costume was really cool and had very weird eyes. A review in ‘What’s On Stage’ said the three boys (I was Third Boy) were an “excellent trio of wizened little man-boys”, so that was exciting. But I’m not just into music, I like sports and art as well. Anything creative, really. At Forest, everyone has different interests, so I’m not defined by my music or anything else. In fact, I have just come back from the annual tour to Barcelona with the U.13 football team, training at the world famous club and playing some local youth teams. That was a very exciting week.
"I would like to be the first woman to step on the moon!"
“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 like Art and Drama because they enable me to be artistic and explore different ideas."
"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!
"The best thing about school how many sports we can play."
“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.
"I like the Pre-Prep because it is bigger than other schools that I have been to before."
“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.
"In 'Little Foresters' we get to go into the forest and make things using the nature around us."
"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?.
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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.
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