Our stance on behaviour is supported by promoting positive, kind and respectful relationships. Good behaviour is modelled by our staff and where positive behaviour is demonstrated by learners we offer appropriate praise and reward. Negative behaviour will be offered an opportunity to change before sanctions are imposed. We encourage the development of independence and taking personal responsibility for our actions through participation in Forest School.
Our clear position on behaviour is that the behaviour that is unacceptable, not the person. Unacceptable behaviour will be challenged in a calm but assertive manner. Persistent and serious incidents or persistent occurrences of unacceptable behaviour will be recorded be given three verbal warnings which will be recorded in our incident book and could lead to a period of exclusion from Among The Trees. See our Exclusion Policy for more information.
We only use physical restraint, such as holding, to prevent physical injury to children or adults and/or serious damage to property. Our Incident Book will be used to record what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of witnesses. A parent/carer is informed on the same day and signs the Incident Book to indicate that they have been informed.
We have a zero tolerance policy on bullying at Among The Trees. We understand bullying to be any words or actions designed to offer harm to a person or hurt their feelings which is repeated over time. The person experiencing bullying may not be able to manage dealing with this on their own. Bullying may be experience in a number of forms including: physical, emotional, verbal and online / cyber. We counter bullying with respect, kind words and actions. One of our key rules is posed in the form of questions: ‘Is it kind? Is it safe?’ Our mission is to see good things grow at Among The Trees and we want to build people up rather than tear them down. We will confront bullying and report to parents any concerns observed during Forest School sessions. We can support learners who might be experiencing bullying with remembering the STOP principle. Several Times On Purpose. Start Telling Other People.
We support the ethos that every person is equally valued and treated with respect. We desire to see all Forest School attendees and leaders reach their full potential. We will challenge any forms of prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping and promote equality, good relationships and practice. We will ensure that all have adequate dress to enable learners to take part in the sessions, whatever the weather. Everyone has a responsibility and role in this.
We are all equal Among The Trees.
We would hope that visitors to Forest School would enjoy their sessions and behave in a positive and appropriate manner. We promote good behaviour through providing a supportive and caring environment, setting and maintaining high expectations, modelling good manners and demonstrating respect. However, if evidence is found of persistently poor behaviour, we would consider a ban on attendance for a period of time. Learners will be given three verbal warnings before parents are contacted to collect their child. A first exclusion will result in a learner missing one Forest School session. If inappropriate behaviour continues and further exclusions become necessary, the number of sessions learners miss will increase.
Examples of issues that might lead to an exclusion: hurting other children on repeatedly, persistently not listening to instructions and demonstrating dangerous behaviour (likely to cause harm to self or others).
Fires are an integral part of the Among The Trees experience. Fires provide a focal point when gathering, warmth, somewhere to cook and hot drinks on a cold, wet day.
Fire safety is paramount for a positive open or closed fire experience and the following rules should be observed to maximise the opportunity fires provide.
- Fires are only lit in the Fire Square [FS] which is located in the middle of the Fire Circle [FC].
- Learners and Leaders all enter the FC from the outside by stepping in over the logs and sitting down. We do not walk across the FC at any time. Learners should step out of the FC and walk around to the person that they want o speak to or visit.
- Learners can enter the FC at any time but must be supervised when a fire is burning.
- Learners can only approach the FS at the invitation of an adult who is attending the fire.
- The seating of the FC should be at least 1.5 metres from the FS. If a high shelter is set, its height should be relative to the size of the fire. For every 1 square foot of fire elevate the high shelter 4 feet.
- Learners must always be wearing appropriate footwear while in the FC.
- Heat proof gloves, long utensils and two buckets of clean water [including a cup] will set beside the FS for the duration of the fire.
- At session’s end, the fire must be extinguished with water until there is no more smoke or steam.
- Only adults can light fires unless learners are under the direct supervision of an adult.
- Nothing is to be thrown into the fire including flammable items or plastic.
- All waste is to be removed from the site, including packaging and food scraps.
- Fires will not be lit in strong winds, in line with risk assessment using Beaufort Scale.
Safety is our top priority when it coms to Forest School. We have 3 main rules that we follow to keep learners, leaders and our environment safe
We have 3 main rules at Among The Trees which we build in from session one. These rules outline our approach to people and the environment we operate in and how we can best care for both.
Is it kind? Is it safe?
These two questions are asked simultaneously together. If a learner cannon answer either of these questions with a ‘Yes’ answer, then they are asked to reflect on why that is and how they can approach the situation differently, providing an opportunity for the learner to come up with their own solution to the situation.
We use a physical sign of rubbing our thumb and pointer finger on our chin to demonstrate us thinking about the questions.
Leave No Trace
Leave no trace is a phrase that reminds us that we need to leave our environment as we found it. As it has been said elsewhere, leave nothing but footprints. We are given stewardship of the Earth and looking after it is key to our present and future enjoyment of it and also protecting the role the Earth has to play in helping to sustain life on the planet.
We use a physical sign of covering our eyes with both hands to signify our not being able to see our impact of being on site.
No Lick, No Pick
This one is a basic physical safety reminder for our learners in that we don’t pick and put anything from the woodland in our mouths to eat. We always ask questions if we are unsure and attempt to find out what it is we have found.
We use a physical sign by pretending to pick with our thumb and pointer finger and mimicking licking our hand with our tongue.
Our sites are all risk assessed and are regularly reviewed and updated. Leaders conduct active risk assessment before and during all sessions to ensure a safe Forest School site. All our equipment is maintained and checked to ensure safe operation and use.
Learners are given the opportunity to take part in risky play in a Forest School session that is age and ability appropriate. A risk benefit analysis is undertaken for these activities which are crucial for quality child development. While they won’t be juggling chainsaws, learners, over time, will be able to engage in activities such as using tools, open fires and climbing trees.
Suitable footwear with good tread is essential for Forest School sessions as the ground my be uneven and wet. Hiking boots or wellingtons are preferred if you have them but trainers may be permissible in the warmer months.
Sessions run year round, so please dress for the time of year. Long trousers, a jumper or fleece and waterproofs are suggested due to variable weather conditions.
A hat, sunscreen, gloves and additional clothing are also advisable in case the weather changes based on the season.
We believe that all children have the right to access and enjoy play. Play is a critical component in positive child development, encompassing children’s behaviour of being freely chosen; self directed; intrinsically motivated and is an elemental learning process for all of humankind. We offer time and space for free play as part of every Forest School session. We also offer organised activities and experiences within our Forest School setting with an emphasis on choice and self-direction where possible. Opportunities for risky play form part of the Forest School approach and experience. Risk Benefit analysis is conducted on many of our activities so that we are able to offer a range of activities and experiences essential for child development. A copy of our Play Policy Statement is available on request.
Who we are
Our website address is: https://amongthetrees.uk. We are a sole trader business delivering Forest School, Outdoor Learning and Walking.
When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.
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How long we retain your data
If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.
For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.
What rights you have over your data
If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.
Where your data is sent
Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.
Categories of Learner Info We Process
- personal identifiers and contacts (such as name, unique learner number, contact details and address)
- characteristics (such as ethnicity, language, and other items of eligibility)
- safeguarding information (such as court orders and professional involvement)
- special educational needs (including the needs and ranking)
- medical and administration (such as doctors information, child health, dental health, allergies, medication and dietary requirements)
- attendance (if linked to school based sessions, such as sessions attended, number of absences, absence reasons and any previous schools attended)
- behavioural information (if linked to school, such as exclusions and any relevant alternative provision put in place)
- information provided from schools for the management of sessions and needs of learners if school based sessions are being conducted.
This list is not exhaustive, to access the current list of categories of information we process please see our privacy notice and GDPR documents.
Why We Collect and Use Learner Info
We collect and use pupil information, for the following purposes:
- to support learner learning
- to monitor and report on learner attainment progress
- to provide appropriate pastoral care
- to assess the quality of our services
- to keep children safe (food allergies, or emergency contact details)
- to meet any statutory duties placed upon us within school based sessions.
Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the lawful bases we rely on for processing learner information are:
for the purposes of
[a] registration to attend Forest School – personal details and contact details;
[b] parental consent for attendance at Forest School;
[c] informing us of any medical conditions or disability;
[d] dietary requirements;
[e] additional needs or support;
[f] consent for photography, video and audio recordings to capture evidence;
[g] confirmation of parental responsibility and relationship with child.
in accordance with the legal basis of
[a] consent: the individual has given clear consent for you to process their personal data for a specific purpose;
[b] vital interests: the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life;
[c] legitimate interests: the processing is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party, unless there is good reason to protect the individual’s personal data which overrides those legitimate interests.
In addition, concerning any special category data:
[g] Reasons of substantial public interest [with a basis in law]
The substantial public interest conditions from paragraph 6-21 of Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act [DPA] 2018 include: 8. Equality of opportunity or treatment; 11. Protecting the public; 16 Support for individuals with a particular disability or medical condition; 18. Safeguarding of children and individuals at risk.
Collecting Learner Information
We collect learner information in writing or digitally via the following methods:
- Registration forms
- Learner observations
- Information provided to us by a school [if school based sessions are being conducted].
Learner data is essential for the Forest School’s operational use. Whilst the majority of learner information you provide to us is mandatory, some of it requested on a voluntary basis. In order to comply with the data protection legislation, we will inform you at the point of collection, whether you are required to provide certain learner information to us or if you have a choice in this.
Storing Learner Data
We hold pupil data securely for the set amount of time shown in our data retention schedule. For more information on our data retention schedule and how we keep your data safe, please request a copy.
Data retention documents are available on request outlining where data is held, the security arrangements [high level], and policies about safe use of data within the Forest School setting.
Who We Share Learner Information With
We routinely share pupil information with:
- schools that learners attend [if sessions are linked or connected to a school setting]
- emergency services and medical staff [in case of medical emergencies]
- NHS where medical information is required
- Among The Trees staff to assist with planning and support of learners
- the local authority where a safeguarding concern or issue has been raised
We do this under the Data Protection Act 2018 as part of the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR].
Data is transferred either verbally or in writing in most cases.
Regular Sharing Of Learner Information
We do not share information about our pupils with anyone without consent unless the law and our policies allow us to do so.
Requesting Access To Your Personal Data
Under data protection legislation, parents and learners have the right to request access to information about them that we hold. To make a request for your personal information, or be given access to your child’s Forest School record, contact Matthew Couper.
You also have the right to:
- to ask us for access to information about you that we hold
- to have your personal data rectified, if it is inaccurate or incomplete
- to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing
- to restrict our processing of your personal data (i.e. permitting its storage but no further processing)
- to object to direct marketing (including profiling) and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics
- not to be subject to decisions based purely on automated processing where it produces a legal or similarly significant effect on you
If you have a concern or complaint about the way we are collecting or using your personal data, you should raise your concern with us in the first instance or directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/.
Withdrawal of Consent and Right to Lodge a Complaint
Where we are processing your personal data with your consent, you have the right to withdraw that consent. If you change your mind, or you are unhappy with our use of your personal data, please let us know by contacting Matthew Couper [077 1099 5051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org]
We may need to update this privacy notice periodically so we recommend that you revisit this information from time to time.
This version was last updated: 6 June, 2022 (Previous updates: 26 July, 2021)
If you would like to discuss anything in this privacy notice, please contact:
Postal Address: Among The Trees
FAO Matthew Couper
18 Dombey Road
Mobile: 077 1099 5051
Learners should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water in the following situations:
- At the beginning of a session (or use hand sanitiser).
- After going to the toilet (or use hand sanitiser).
- Before eating or drinking.
- At the end of Forest School.
We limit diseases such as ‘Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and Giardia [gut pathogens that can be caught from drinking contaminated water] by only drinking clean water from designated containers or drinks brought on site [such as hot chocolate] Drinking water contaminated with Cryptosporidium parasites is an internationally recognised risk factor for human illness. Contamination can arise from a variety of sources including oocysts (infectious stage) from infected humans, livestock, and feral animals present in the catchment. Oocysts remain infectious in the environment and water for prolonged periods and are resistant to most disinfectants used to treat drinking water.’ (Source: Scottish Canoe Association)
When on a school site with very close access to mains toilets, we utilise them on a first call basis. If these are not available, or we moved to a more remote site, we would look at in stalling another form of toileting. In choosing this, we would take into account our Leave No Trace policy looking after the environment, the need to respect the dignity and privacy of our learners and that we follow our procedures closely to ensure good hygiene and infection control on site. Our main choices include:
Composting Toilet: A composting version utilising wood chips may be better than a latrine, as dividing urine and poo and breaking down into compost would result in more useful disposal of waste which may then be useful for gardening and plant growing. This would be possible if a longer term programme was established at the school or my own private practice.
Potty: Preferred over the traditional plastic potty, portable potties are a good option as they are disposable, collapsible, portable and non-spill. They are also strong, some being able to sustain a 50 kg weight limit, but would have an ongoing cost attached to them due to their disposable nature. There is also a portable carry potty available which could be used giving learners a seat. This product is also reusable but would require cleaning and disposal between uses.
Wild Wee: as a last line contingency, a ‘wild wee’ may be useful for an emergency, it is advisable to have other contingencies in place for using a toilet. Learners should also be advised about where wild wee zone might be to avoid people walking or running through the area.
One of our focal points at Among The Trees is to be good stewards of the world around us. Specifically, this applies to our Forest School site, where we endeavour to ‘leave no trace’ of our activity and minimise disruption to the environment. Our policy outlines this further with the following specific elements of food and cooking on site:
Disposal of Food
Food scraps and left overs can be disposed of by either:
- A site bin liner which can be removed to the appropriate waste facility. This will minimise foreign material from the site, also protecting the native fauna who might otherwise access it if left on site.
- Burnt on the fire if fully consumable.
- Composted where the site has a composting facility.
If the item is foreign to the site, it should leave the site at the end of the Forest School session.
Disposal of Litter
All litter should be removed from site including wrappers, packaging, containers and coverings. No man-made litter should be intentionally left behind.
A bin or bin liner will be available for every session and will be taken off site to the appropriate waste disposal facility.
From time to time, Among The Trees will conduct, with learners, an Emu Parade to check the site for any rubbish and remove it from the site. This will provide an opportunity for learners to observe our ‘leave no trace’ rule and help to care for the environment.
Disposal of Waste Water
Any non-hazardous water can also be used to help fully extinguish fires to ensure the ground is fully saturated or disposed of in an area of the woodland that is not accessed by learners.
Any waste water that needs to be disposed of off site will be put into an aqua roll and taken off site.