"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 want to be an artist when I grow up."
“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.
“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."
"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."
“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."
"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 like lunch because you eat lots of things like pasta."
"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 the teachers the best in prep school."
“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.
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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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