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Newburn Manor Primary School

Learning together, growing together

Forest School

'Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.'  Forest School Association


For more information please see the Forest School Association's website:


Mr Vyle will be keeping us up to date with all the wild and wonderful activities that take place over the year.



Forest School site update

What a lot has changed in the 3 years that we have been trying to develop an area on the school site.

Just this week we have got our first  cut from the hay field. Year 2 have had great fun turning the grass to turn it into hay. It should be ready to use for guinea pigs and rabbits by September or we might use it in the invention shed.

The Pizza Oven gets a Roof

After a good 9 months of waiting the pizza oven finally got a permanent shelter. 


Frozen Adventures

Brrrr. What a cold start to the day. We changed the format of the day slightly today because it was so cold we decided to go and explore the woods some more we found all sorts of interesting things. Perhaps the most impressive were some huge 'Artist Conk'. We could have used the fruits to draw on, but we were too busy exploring. By the time we got back to our base there was just time for some hot drinks and a quick game of rope adventure. Just before we left we sung a happy birthday to Tony and said a big thank you to the woods for the time that we had spent there.


Making Adventures

One of the things that I think make Forest School so important for children to experience is the opportunities that it gives them to explore ideas themselves. This week the children had a range of tools and equipment to use and could choose what to do. I had an idea of making some wooden toys but the most popular activity is what has become known as 'rope adventure'. Children use the rope to allow them to climb up and down a slope. Within this activity children are learning lots of different social, physical and problem solving skills, in a manner that is relevant to the children. Through their play they have explored a variety of knots and have discovered the lairs of woodland creatures.

We did get some objects made, used a bow saw to cut some wood, drilled a hole so deep it went through to the ground!

I love the necklace that was made, it used Elder wood for the beads. Elder has a very soft pith that can be hollowed out easily making it ideal for such tasks.


Hammock Heaven

We had an interesting time in the woods today: First we inspected the buried badger, only to find that it had been dug up and eaten. We think that a fox must have been hungry as last week it was pretty smelly. We re-buried it, deeper this time and put some stones on it. There was no meat left on it so we were not taking the food away from the fox. We then spent a bit of quiet time in the wood. I like being able to stop and breathe for a while whilst in the woods. I had brought along some hammocks so some children put them up and had a swing in them while the hot chocolate was heated. Tyler had found an old ball but he turned it into a puppet with eyes and a mouth. We had a look at using tools to make things. I think next week we shall have a go at using tools. 


Tracks, Sets and Sneezes.

With a fresh covering of snow in the Dene it was an ideal opportunity to find some tracks, we weren't disappointed. We found the tracks of a young deer, the cloven hoof clearly marked in the snow. We  also spotted a badger print clearly different from the dog prints because of the extra  claw visible (5 not 4). As we went down in to the Dene we saw a mound of earth. As we approached the earth we found lots of course hair.  We investigated further and discovered that we had found a badgers set.  Sadly we found that one of the badger cubs had not made it through the bad weather and had died outside of the set. The children were fascinated to see how the front legs had large claws for digging  while the back legs didn't. We also saw how the teeth look very similar to that of a dogs.

There were a new set of fire helpers today. They got to use our Dragon Sneeze fire starters. They were a lot easier to use that the other ones and some children have become real experts at using the flint and steel.  we lit a fire so that we could make a hot drink.

As soon as the children stopped they cooled down so we decided to come back early, after just one more adventure along a very snowy fallen log.




Saying Hello

It is always exciting when a new group comes into the woods. The forecast looked grim and I had thought we might be doing cooking at the school site, but decided that the woods offer a lot more opportunity to explore. I am pleased we went to the woods as the children had a great time using ropes and making hot chocolate. Charlie and Tony found the flint and steel difficult to use and after I broke one (showing how to do it), I have decided that it is time to get some new ones, hope they are ready for next week.

We have a new mud monster as Abby just loved the slide!


Saying Goodbye

I was happy that we had a lovely day in the woods; the weather was warm, the wind was light and it wasn't raining! Walking down to the Dene is hard work in these muddy times but the children shared the burden and we were down at our base in no time.

We played a game of Tag using  Oak trees as base and then thought a bit about all the things that we have done during Forest School.  The  children then set to work making and designing their medals, reindeer and snowmen. Everyone was very busy making and then it was time for a hot drink. There was just time to have another game or finish of some work before coming back to school.

As I look back and reflect upon the children and the time they spent in the wood it is marvelous to consider how well the children cooperated together. Help was offered freely amongst the group and games often evolved naturally that would include everyone. I hope that all parents and careers feel proud of their children as they proved to be a real credit to you.


Creative Carving

What a wet and soggy day for a trip into the woods. Once we got there however thoughts of the weather disappeared as we saw how fast the river flowed. Everyone wanted a go at 'Pooh' sticks. We then spent some time trying to decorate our sticks so that we could distinguish them. 

The wet meant it was perfect for spending some time on some art projects that I had wanted to do for some while. We used some of the wood that Oli, Sam, Ava and Flynn cut last week. What we are making you will have to wait and see, a Forest School surprise.


Damp Bread

It was our first session where it rained throughout the morning. In the woods however it doesn't  really get through. However everything was wet. A great day for putting up shelters. Inside our shelters pupils used charcoal to draw. We also started to use bow saws. In Forest School we will often use tools to create and explore. Children are taught how to use tools in a safe manner and are reminded about how to use them each time that they want to. The children have had some fantastic ideas about how to use the wood that they cut. I had an idea about baking some bread, unfortunately the fire didn't burn well in the rain so we had warmed dough instead. Luckily I had packed some biscuits just in case.  

For some children the walk back was the best part, the path had turned into a mud bath. Please can parents provide a complete change of clothes as quite often children get wet right through, even to underwear!



Cozy Camps

Well done to everyone for remembering their kit on a different day. Forest School will be back to Wednesday next week. We spent a bit more time practicing knots again this week. We used the knots to tie up some hammocks so that we could have a good den. The hammocks were great to use as swings too.

Instead of using the storm kettles, this week we took the fire pit. After making sure that the ground was protected we lit a fire. Sam, Oli, Hannah and Flynn had to learn how to use a bow saw properly so that they could cut up logs. When we put out the fire we found that we had some charcoal left. Oli made a great mixture with the water and charcoal that the children used to decorate their faces. Alfie thought he looked like Luigi! 


Super Sliders

Another gorgeous day in the Dene full of adventures and daring do. We started the session by making a HUGE  pile of leaves and jumping into them. Next the children made some pictures of what they thought about Forest School, some children wanted to stick their pictures with glue, whilst others wanted to continue to use ropes. Mr. Vyle worked with the children who wanted to use the ropes while Ms. Gibson helped the artists and made some warming drinks.

The children were fantastic finding ways to use the ropes. By the end of the session they had a tightrope walk and a zip wire! These ideas come from the children and by working together they were able to overcome problems and find fantastic solutions.

Don't forget that Forest School is on Tuesday next week.

1/11/17 - Year 2

Finding Bears

One of the things that I love about Forest School is the way in which the curriculum evolves to suit the needs of the children. At the start of the morning I had thought that we would be learning how to us rope to make bridges and swings. As we started the walk the children started to play in the mud, this led to us all repeating the Bear Hunt story. Children then found different animal prints. One child thought that there could be bears in  the wood. We decided that the perhaps we could use the ropes to make a bear trap. I gave out the ropes and split the children into groups. When I asked Ms. Gibbson how things were going I found that the children had found they needed to organise into larger groups in order to get everything done. Not only did the children learn  about using ropes they also had a valuable lesson about cooperation and team work.

We also managed to fit in a cup of hot chocolate, make a fire and reflect upon our time in the wood.

24/10/17 - 25/10/17

Laying Sleepers

Todayd staff continued to work on the school Forest School site. The job for today was putting in the sleepers so that we can level the area a bit before putting down some bark chippings. Mr. Vyle got very excited by putting the sleepers level, can’t see him doing much lifting though.

Here comes the Gravel

Another day at the school Forest School site. Mr. Leiper was on a mission to complete the ground works today. He spent all morning moving a tonne of gravel while Mr. Vyle hammered in stakes and made sure everything looked lovely. In the afternoon they put in the fire pit and found some helpers to try it out with some marshmallows. A bit more levelling and the site is all ready for some wood chips.


Mud and Marshmallows 


We had had a cracking last day in the woods today despite the weather. Pupils made dens to keep out of the rain and I think you’ll agree that they were fantastic.  Some pupils wanted to stay closer to the fire so they prepared the hot chocolate and made the sticks that we used to melt the marshmallows. We used a timber hitch to tie rope, I call it a snake’s head knot as I think it looks like a snake’s head.On the way back we spent time exploring puddles. 


Forest Camp

This week we spent the whole of the session in Walbottle Dene. The Dene has nice oak trees, we spent some time getting to know them and then we made some camps. This week we used the hammocks and a large tarpaulin. Some of the children decided they wanted to make some hot chocolate instead. When the drink was ready we stopped and used the big shelter as our den. The rain held off right up until we started to pack up. Luckily all the children have good water proofs so no one got too wet.


Robin Wood

We did something a bit different today. Ms. Hainsworth said she would be doing some work on Robin Hood, so we at Forest School joined in. We used a variety of tools to cut, shape and fashion some excellent bows and arrows. The children learned about the willow tree and some of its uses. We all still wanted to go to the dean so we set off. Abigail took us on an adventure which stretched us all but everyone made it safely, if slightly out of breath. We practiced using the flint and steel and making dens.


A Change of Plan

Today we had planned to do some berry art. When we got to the dene the children saw that the stream had not as much water in. They all wanted to explore the stream. We got out some rope, found good walking sticks and set off on an adventure. On the way we found tiny water snails, a trolls bridge and used a snake head knot and a clove hitch. Not bad considering that we still had time to make hot chocolate, have a biscuit and find all the most muddy spots. 

New Forest School 13/09/17

Year 3 pupils started their 6 weeks of Forest School today. We made bracelets, our own blackberry drink and undertook act of daring do.  Not many children liked the drink so hot chocolate next week. Everybody loved climbing so we will defiantly be doing more of that


29/05/17 Newburn Mystery

Finished the strimming and then I went around and found all these secret paths. Lots of 'stingers' so long trousers needed. What will we find around the corners?

Secret Paths.mp4

Still image for this video

28/0517 Trees are growing

Everything thing seems to jump up in spring and the wood area is no different. That means lots of stinging nettles competing with our saplings. Time for some strimming. To finish up we'll need some volunteers to help rake the area. The poles are there to hang a tarp for shelter for our fire pit.

A great day planting hedges and trees in the new Newburn Manor Forest School area. We had fantastic help from year 6 children; Adam, Hazel, Jack, Molly and Sam who worked extremely hard all morning, and a thank you to Emma and Wendy for their continued support.
Starting on the school forest site in anticipation of 100+ trees and shrubs being delivered in November. A big thank you to Mr Leiper for all the coffee and fellow worker, Don. Some of you might remember him from previous Forest Schools.


Great fun building dens again. We learnt about bow saws today.


Today we built dens and made pictures.

We had a great time adventuring up the stream and then making blackberry juice. Yum!
Year 2 explore the woods as Newburn Manor Primary starts Forest School.

Putting up shelters was important if we were to keep dry