"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 athlete when I grow up."
“At Forest we have really good coaches. Sport here gave me the pathway to play for the Leyton Orient academy.”
"I like Art and Drama because they enable me to be artistic and explore different ideas."
“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.
"We get lots of certificates for the things that we do inside and outside of school."
“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!
"I would like to be the first woman to step on the moon!"
"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.
“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.
"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?.
“As I plan to study medicine at university, I have arranged a trip to Africa during the summer holidays. I will be spending five days in a private surgery and five days in a public surgery.”
If you come to Forest, just make sure you take every opportunity to get involved in sport, music, drama, work or anything else. I have played saxophone in the Forest School Big Band since Year 8, been on the basketball team since Year 8, and played in a senior jazz ensemble since Year 9. I have also taken part in the Chemistry Olympiad. By taking part in all these things you learn a lot about yourself and other people, as well as having great fun. Forest provides all these opportunities to pursue ambitions and develop skills which will help you as much as academia. I am never bored at Forest – there’s always something going on. Enjoy the community here too. You’ll feel part of something special.
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.
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