“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 like the teachers the best in prep school."
“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.
"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 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.
"In 'Little Foresters' we get to go into the forest and make things using the nature around us."
“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.
"The best thing about school how many sports we can play."
"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?.
"My favourite activity is ICT because I enjoy coding."
“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 want to be an artist when I grow up."
“My Housemistress sees me every day and supports me with little things like revision check lists and to-do-lists”
As a senior pupil, I now see that at Forest I have become much more independent and self-reliant. You have to organise your time more as you go up the School if you are heavily involved in activities as I still am, but being busy is good. Inside and outside of school I play a lot of hockey which I first started hockey in Year 5. I also play a lot of netball and athletics. Now I have got into JRPC (Junior Regional Performance Centre) working up to England Scheme. I also do speech and drama, and I sing as well - in fact, I have a singing exhibition. There are lots of competitions within the school in all these areas, including Young Musician of the Year. So, plenty to be energised by!
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It is often said that Forest pupils are as busy outside of the classroom as they are within it.
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