In recent years the School has spectacularly developed its facilities to extend teaching and learning opportunities across the site. With an investment of £4m, (School funds topped up by donations) we have embraced our commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Community and Heritage to enhance every pupil’s experience at Forest School.
The Forest Learner
The Forest Learner is a framework of characteristics that prompt pupils to take initiative to carry out meaningful planning and exercise responsibility in their learning echoing the School’s motto: ‘In Pectore Robur’ (strength in the heart). Whether they are learning in the science lab, on the cricket pitch, the dance studio or anywhere else, these essential learning characteristics will be the key to success.
In the same way, our introduction of the HPQ and EPQ projects for all pupils at GCSE and in the Sixth Form enables pupils to exercise enthusiasm, take personal academic responsibility for their learning, find things out for themselves, and become more expert than their teachers in any topic of their choosing
Digital learning has similarly enabled pupils to exploit the fact that they don’t just go to the internet to find information. Nowadays they take it with them wherever they go, and it’s a place where learning happens through interaction, not alone. We want our pupils to be confident, independent learners without fear or boundaries of the ever-changing digital world. Our emphasis on using digital technology to aid learning ensures our pupils will leave the School with e-learning and digital media skills which they can use in life at home, in later studies or at work. We want our pupils to be informed, responsible and active participants in a connected, information-orientated society. We want pupils to be prepared for the future, to shape it, and not to learn about living in this emerging society by accident. In recent years, Forest has invested in a wide range of online applications and resources to support lessons and independent learning. The libraries provide an additional range of top-quality online resources to support assignments and research projects. We also introduced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for pupils. This requires every pupil to have with them in school a portable, keyboard-enabled device. This means that Forest teachers are able to direct pupils to websites and our own online resources during any lesson, or as homework there is no longer any need for a teacher to relocate their pupils to a computer room to do so. The use of own devices, for appropriate tasks, has come from recognising the prevalence of digital devices in our everyday lives and it is a natural step to use them for learning. They also allow us to support our pupils and develop safe and responsible use of information and information technologies as part of their learning. We recognise the need to integrate and balance teaching, content and technology to optimise learning in the 21st century.
Our cycle of academic monitoring is structured in such a way that pupils set their own ongoing targets, arising from comment-only marking, and reflective, individualised discussions with tutors: pupil progress is the result of collaboration, but Forest pupils are helped to exercise their own responsibility in this process: spoon-feeding is out!