Testimonials

Feedback from parents, schools, course attendees and the local community.

Feedback from Schools

Exminster School

The South West Outdoors Group (now The Outdoors Group) has provided vital alternative provision to children who find a mainstream educational setting challenging. The work that has been undertaken with pupils attending Forest School with TOG has played a pivotal role in the development of their social and emotional skills, particularly the development of tolerance and resilience in situations they find challenging in a mainstream school. The pupils have been able to develop and flourish in an environment where feeling safe, building trusting relationships and having the confidence to take risks is the foundation of the work. – Claire Norman, SENco

Whipton Barton School

The South West Outdoors Group(now The Outdoors Group) have provided Forest School as an intervention in our Federation since June 2015.

For the first year Shevek Pring worked with a group of boys aged between 6 and 10 years who had emotional and as a result behavioural difficulties. Some of these were close to exclusion. These boys have engaged with these sessions and formed a good relationship with Shevek. The sessions have taught them to work as a team, feel proud of their abilities and develop their outdoor learning skills in a safe environment.

The detailed scheme of work has clear links to the desired outcomes and is personalised to the needs of the learners.  We are pleased to be working with The South West Outdoors Group (now The Outdoors Group) again this academic year.  Again they are running a targeted intervention – this time for children with social interaction difficulties.  Shevek is flexible and works with us to embed the aims of the sessions into the aims for the children during their time in class as well. – Claire Upston, SENco Leader

St James School, Exeter

I have used Exeter Outdoors (now TOG) to help with the delivery of Outdoor Education programmes at St James School, with a specific focus on bushcraft. As a bushcraft non-specialist, I was unsure as to what I should expect – Bear Grylls meets Ray Mears perhaps…?

However, the Exeter Outdoors(now TOG) staff were superb – incredibly knowledgable, very approachable, and able to strike up a rapport with my group instantly. The other immediately obvious characterisitic about the Exeter Outdoors (now TOG) staff was their passion for the outdoors, together with their desire to share this passion through passing on their knowledge and skills. I will always remember my group of potentially very challenging boys each being trusted with a very sharp knife, being taught how to use it, then spending two hours in near silence and they used their knives responsibly and safely in order to make their tent pegs and spoons!

All of the Exeter Outdoors (now TOG) activities I have done have allowed the students to make a real connection with the natural environment, and learn skills that have contributed towards a growth in knowledge, confidence and self-esteem. Another area where Exeter Outdoors excel is in their ability to draw out the best in the students, specifically in their ability to help students work together positively in an atmosphere of success and achievement. Reflection and review at the end of each session made this a particularly powerful tool. 

I recommend Exeter Outdoors (now TOG) without reservation – a superb organisation!Steve Foster, Teacher

Littleham Primary School, Exmouth

Our children are loving a Exmouth Forest School, so much so that we have signed up for the whole year! We have a very productive, active and fun afternoon session on a weekly basis. The children are encouraged to explore the woodland and they cooperate with each other to complete various activities and challenges.

Each session is different but at the same time for pupil safety a routine has been established. Children talk around the camp fire, work within a group and come back together to share their ideas whilst sipping hot chocolate.

The forest school team have worked closely with our school team to make curriculum links. Forest school has already supported our science curriculum, PSHE and maths. Our visit to forest school also provided some fantastic inspiration for writing. Our poetry is far richer having been to forest school. 

I am confident that Exmouth Forest School will continue to have a positive impact on the progress levels for our children. – Sarah Padbury, Senior Teacher

Blundells Prep School, Tiverton

The team at Exeter Outdoors (now TOG) have played a crucial part in the development of outdoor learning at Blundell’s Prep.  Their support and guidance has enabled us to create an exciting programme for our children to fully explore the outdoors, and they have also been on hand to offer insight and training for all of our staff.  In short, they have been fantastic! – Andy Southgate, Headteacher 

Primary Support Partnership Exmouth

Attending sessions at Exmouth Forest School have really developed confidence, risk taking and risk assessment strategies for our young people. The forest school ethos of pupil led learning really allows the creative children to let their mind run free. After some foundational safety and tool training the children came up with many different ideas about how to put them into practice. This included making their own ladder, bug hotel, dens, cooking projects and many various mud monsters and pies. I would recommend this to any children that
struggle with mainstream education. I have also seen that attending forest school helps develop children in the class as they are more confident to achieve.David Slater, Manager

Willand School, Cullompton

We wanted to say a massive thank you for our fantastic trip. The children all thoroughly enjoyed themselves outside in the fresh air,gaining confidence and getting dirty! The activities that you delivered were pitched to their level and we saw some different sides to some children that we would never have seen in the classroom which was great to spot. Our children bloomed in the outdoors environment.  Hedgehog home building allowed them to be creative with the outdoor materials and the bug hunting was especially enjoyed. The knowledge of your staff and their passion shone through when identifying the different bugs and the enthusiasm of the children was clear. The plantain medicine we made has been put to use for nettle stings!

Everyone loved the campfire and tasting the hazelnut cookies that were surprisingly tasty!

Everyone thought it was a great place to have an adventure on a school trip. We definitely will be returning to you again in the next academic year and  would recommend to anyone to book up and have a forest school experience with you.

I asked the children for some of their thoughts.

” I loved going in on the big slide. It felt like a magic wood.”

” I didn’t think I would like the cookies but I ate it all!”

” The tube slide was my favourite. I went on it lots!”

” I liked getting dirty. It was a lovely day out.”

“The camp fire was fun. I smell of smoke!”

” I want to go every day I like being outside in the woods.”

“When I went on the zip wire I held on tight. I didn’t fall off and my friends clapped.” – Rosie Roberts, Foundation & Key Stage 1 Teacher

Feedback from Course Attendees

Forest School Level 3 Training

There is nothing that I would change about the experience that I had on the training course and the learning that followed.  It was a real privilege to spend the time out with Tom, he had an excellent way of engaging people and working alongside them to encourage and support as necessary. With a broad range of experience before doing this course I was not sure about how much I would benefit and I was delighted with the outcomes.  I will be recommending Exeter Outdoors to others looking for training. – Paul Martin, Devon Wildlife Trust Education Officer

Thank you so so much for being such an inspirational teacher last week. I was just going through all the paper work that you sent on, and really appreciate the quantities of work in there to help me get through the course, so thank you! I have been truly inspired by the week in the woods, a lovely feeling of excitement about teaching outside without any stress. I think it’s something to do with those Zen trees.
I am so happy that I chose to do the course with you and Nick.Naomi

 

I have been lucky to lead Forest school for the children in my school.  Over the course of the year I have seen children blossom with confidence and grow as learners through the opportunities Forest school gives.  Children with communication difficulties and autistic tendencies  have been allowed the opportunities to be themselves and have over the course of the year continued to surprise us with their development. One day a child was observed chatting to me about spiders, little did I know that he will not speak in class!! Many staff have joined me over the year and we all agree that Forest School has had a massive impact on our children.  It is a magical experience that gives children the opportunity to be children! – Wendy Mogford, Higher Level Teaching Assistant

Feedback from Parents

Kindergarten

When I came for a look around I knew instantly that I wanted my child to be part of forest school. I not only found the space enchanting and inviting but an amazing place for my child to expand his confidence and learn some skills he may not gain in a more traditional setting. One day I turned up at lunch and the atmosphere of the children and leaders eating their lunch on the picnic tables under the trees chatting away was really beautiful and heart warming. I’m really sad my child is not part of forest school any more and I feel schools are missing a trick and should have more intergration with forest schools throughout children’s education.

You make great use of a low-lying area, and wet weather doesn’t stop you all having a good time. I am amazed at how well you cope in certain conditions and you do it with good humour and grace.

Forest School was wonderful for our children, they miss it and want to go back! We hope to use FS during school holidays where we can. The team do an amazing job on a shoestring.

Birthday Party

We had my son George’s birthday party at Exeter Forest School this morning, my son attended a party with you in May and hasn’t stopped talking about your bog of doom since. I should explain that my son is just on the autism spectrum and hates getting dirty but when I collected him he was very very happy and muddy. He will now splash in puddles and does more art work at school without so many complaints. Today’s party was fantastic Chris was brilliant with all the children, the setting and activities were perfect for kids of all ages. Two of the adults with me stated it was the best birthday party they had been too. – Rebecca Webster

Our daughter had amazing birthday party last Sunday and it is all thanks to Marty and Nick. Kids and parents loved it, they are still talking about it, not to give party secrets away, kids had fantastic activities, they were all happy, occupied and experiencing beautiful nature. Marshmallows and sausages from the camp fire were a treat. Big thank you! Our daughter asked if we can be back next year. – Agnieszka Dabrowska

Tree Tots Toddler Club

I’ve been taking my son Daniel to Tree Tots since he was 11 months old and couldn’t even walk yet! It’s been wonderful to see him grow in confidence and enjoy exploring outdoors. At 18 months he now stomps all round the forest on his own and loves sawing and helping with the fire. – Emma Sadeghi 

Just fantastic! My son & I both really enjoy our time in the woods.
The sessions are well organised with some structure but freedom to explore.
The activities are well thought out, age appropriate & teach the children about the amazing environment around them. Nick is brilliant with the children & has oodles of enthusiasm & knowledge to share. – Rachel Austen-Rigby

Holiday Club

Thank you so much! My son Jay Jenner attended the Forest School Holiday Club today and had the best time. His first words to me were “can I do it again!” And he had the biggest smile on his face so thank you again. Nicki Jenner

5*!! Nick and the team are amazing and my usually anxious child had an absolute ball with them during half term. She came home with a healthy glow, huge smile and totally awesome hand carved butter knife!! Thank you all, she will be back – Amanda Merchant

Home Education Groups

The Home education group here is wonderful. My daughter adores it and can’t wait for it every week. – Kate Johnson

My son is now ten years old and is a confident and active member of the home education group, and although he still struggles with anxieties at times, he knows that he can trust the adults around him and so he is able to relax and have fun, as well as manage child led projects that encourage independence and imagination. The confidence and social skills he has developed will be vital to him throughout his life, whatever he chooses to do in the future, and the gentle acceptance that he has received has given him a much more positive self image. Thank you Exeter Forest School, and thank you Chris! – Claire Arnold

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