Forest School Funding For School
Have you ever applied for Forest School funding for school? I did. Last year, I was invited to apply for some funding from a local service group. I heard about it via the school PTA. However, after hearing nothing for around nine months, I received the good news that the application had been approved. While not a life changing amount of money, it has allowed me to develop the school site I work on. I wanted to focus on things that would have a legacy focus – spending money on things that would be useable at the school for both current and future learners.
First, I put together a brief summary around the benefits of Forest School for learners. Secondly, I wrote about the work Among The Trees does at the school. Thirdly, I made a list of some potential items or ideas we could spend the money on. Finally, I included some images to really visually sell the application. The whole application was around 1-2 pages in total, including the images. This was submitted to the PTA who then applied to the service group. The service group run a lot of fund raising activities such as bonfire night and Christmas events, with the money going to local causes and initiatives. There wasn’t any set amount of funding being applied for, just whatever was deemed suitable by the organisation.
Not all funding applications are easy though. How you can bring benefit to those you serve is utmost. How does it help them? Highlighting benefits such as mental health and well being, physical development and a holistic approach to developing our learners can only strengthen your application. Better still, giving real life exemplars from your practice is even better.
If you’re after fast cash for Forest School funding for school, then don’t expect applying for funding to supply that. From initial application until approval was around 9 months. Timelines will vary from organisation to organisation, but it does take time. My advice is to put together your best application, send it and keep stepping. Definitely have a plan for what you might spend the cash on, but don’t rely on it as a definite source. There are lots of worthy causes and organisations out there seeking money. It might just be that some are head of you in the queue. Ensure that you’re being as authentic as possible and representing all the good you are doing within your setting.
So what does £500 buy? Well, here’s a basic break down of what I spent.
Sleepers and fixings (2 layers of treated sleepers and self driving screws)
Soil (around 800 kgs filtered to 3 mm)
Popcorn pan for using on the fire (referral from FB Forest School group)
2 x junior soil rakes (from Kent and Stowe)
Free stuff: I sourced some concrete flagstones on a FB free cycle page. I cut them up and used them as plinths underneath the timber, hopefully extending their overall life.
The build took longer than expected to start. The soil arrived first, which probably helped, not having to hoist it over the sleepers. I had to borrow a wheelbarrow to shift it too. Around 20 barrow loads were needed to shift all the soil. I was then able to purchase the sleepers. They came as a set, which meant I didn’t have to cut any. This would have meant having to retreat the cut ends as well so a lot of time was saved. It was a matter of carrying the sleepers about 100 m, put level them into place and fix with the long screws supplied.
The PTA were very generous in allowing me a free hand on how to spend the money. As stated earlier, the Forest School funding for school was something that I wanted to have a lasting impact and benefit for the school. I prepared a breakdown of the spend and how it will be utilised. I also provided images (see some within this blog post) showing the progress from start to finish on the installation and build.
Forest Club now has a dedicated digging area in the woodland area of the school. Over time, I hope to see an increase in mini-beasts making their home in and around the area. Learners have long enjoyed this activity and they were straight into in at our most recent after school club. The Forest School funding for school has provided us with an area that students should be able to access, learn from and enjoy for many years to come.
Seeing the difference Forest School funding for school can make, I’ve got plans for the future. The digging area is quite deep, so some more soil will be helpful to fill it out. It’s only natural that some soil will be lost or redeployed over time. The second project will be to replace the seating in the Fire circle. The logs are starting to decompose and some have fungi during the winter months. So, if funding becomes available, I’ll be making some new sleeper style bench seats for the Fire Circle (see below for an example of the style. This inspiration was taken from seats installed along the edge of Errwood Reservoir).