Outdoor Supply Teaching
Why book supply when you can book an outdoor day that ties in with your class topic in a way that normal supply teaching simply can't? With comparable supply rates we'll come to you and deliver outdoor lessons that compliment your topic and enthuse your pupils.
Supply teachers offer a great service but too often supply cover is "make do" and certainly a hassle. The supply teacher comes in and attempts to pick up where children are up to. Work is hastily planned by other teachers or TA's and often this is less exciting activities so they're sure the cover teacher copes. The quality of the teacher is variable too as often agencies send whomever is available - you'll probably not know what you're going to get and you've paid a premium for the privilege as the agency takes their cut too. Then, when the classroom teacher gets back its a case of figuring out who did what and where the children are up to or they draw a line under it and just move on.
The solution - Outdoor Supply
- No hasty planning by other staff - just give us your topic and we'll do the rest.
- Great activities and sessions that enthuse pupils and incorporate a variety of learning styles led by ex-teachers that are forest school practitioners and outdoor trained. These compliment your topic and classroom teaching.
- Support staff are freed to support and record great examples of pupil progress.
- Bespoke session plans that we put together for your school are available if you want them and we'll happily adapt to suit your needs.
- Rates are comparable with supply cover and agreed when a school registers.
- We can recommend simple fun follow on activities to our day to review their learning, give the returning teacher time to see where the children are, what they've done and plan what to do next.
All the necessary pre-planning is carried out at registration where we pre-visit and register your school. You must register so we can risk assess the site, determine what natural resources are present and use this to pre-plan any future work. Once registered schools receive:
- A bespoke daily rate based on timetable. natural resources available, accessibility etc.
- A site risk assessment including generic task based activities.
- A site impact assessment to ensure your sites special natural features are protected.
- Templates such as letters home "Outdoor itinerary" so pupils know what to wear for the outdoor day.
- Due diligence documents such as DfEs certfication, FS level 3 certificate, First Aid Certfiction, DBS update details, Public Liability Insurance detail.
- Special offers such as free trees, log seats or resources when they become available.
We need a couple of days notice to book a supply session. That gives us time to confirm attendance. This gives your school time to get a letter home to parents so they know what clothes the children need for the outdoor day. For well established Forest Schools notice could be even shorter by agreement. Remember we need to register your school so we can previsit so the earlier you register the better. If you think you might need us at some point in the future then register anyway - it costs nothing!
To book email firstname.lastname@example.org If you need an urgent response when we're out in the field e.g. "can you come tomorrow or this Thursday" then text us at 07799 321 849 and we'll get back ASAP.
Case Study 1 Outdoor Supply to Cover Illness
Monday am: the year 3 classroom teacher rings in sick and is likely to be off all week or at least until Friday. The headteacher/office rings us and asks when we can come in to do something for Stone Age. She arranges classroom supply cover for Monday and Tuesday and books us for Wednesday to do a day on the Stone Age outside on the school field and forest school area. Pupils are sent home with a letter on Monday home-time saying Wednesday will be an outdoor day and includes a list of what to wear. This generates quite a buzz and excitement. The session plan is emailed to the school. On Wednesday we make a timeline outside and assemble a shelter. We cook some rustic food on a fire before reviewing the day. During the day TA's record lots of social interaction and cognitive development including some pupils that really come out of their shell. Fairy Forest School tweets/shares examples of school work (no pupils - child protection) which is shared on the school's social media sites. On her return the teacher has a great awareness of what's happened during her absence and she continues her plans for teaching the topic within the classroom as planned. She sets a timeline poster activity to review previous lessons and the experiences on the outdoor day.
Case study 2 long term Forest School supply to cover teacher absence
Teacher recruitment had been unsuccessful so the school requested a long term programme for the half term giving them time to recruit permanent teaching staff for a mixed class of reception/year 1/year 2. They had chosen the topic "Into the Forest" to cover a range of fairy tale and nursery rhyme stories but wanted to include any general outdoor activities. Fairy Forest School agreed a 7 week programme including some literacy favourites such as Gruffalo, Percy the Park Keeper, Red Riding Hood, Very Hungry Caterpillar as well as team/social activities such as water chute challenges, shelter building, tool use, and minibeasts /making a bug hotel. A maths shape lesson was included and a science focused session. On Halloween we supported an after school event by making string cobwebs amongst the trees near the car park. Tool skills were developed and children can now safely whittle and saw under supervision.
Due to its success and staffing the programme was extended with longer term observations as Summer moves more into Autumn and Winter. We covered more stories and used leaves to carry out some Andy Goldsworthy art projects. As we approached Christmas we made stickmen, wreathes and other decorations to support the school for the holiday season.
The school has booked woodland school trips to compliment these experiences. Our local wood where we have a licence agreement with the Woodland Trust will do more for the Setting part of forest school and provide an immersive environmnet.
Case study 3 Forest school to cover PPA time
Cover was required for regular PPA time. The school elected to have a regular forest school slot where pupils are taught by a teacher but in an outdoor context. A programme was developed to compliment topics and the teacher occasionally took time out of their PPA to inform us of specific objectives they have in mind e.g. "We're starting Red Riding Hood next week could you do that rather than the planned maths lesson?" TA's used some of this time to do some one on one with individual pupils around literacy and numeracy particularly those that needed some more support wit more traditional classroom teaching.
Frequently asked questions
Is our school site suitable? Its basically just a school field.
We can carry out most outdoor supply activities at a very basic site. There may be limitations on some sessions and if we need to bring in natural resources there is a small cost to cover these resources. We'll give you an idea of this when you register and we carry out a site pre-visit.
How much notice do you realistically need? Can we book you on a day by day basis?
Schools usually need at least one day to send a letter home so pupils know what to wear such as old (but warm) clothes, wellies, waterproofs etc. Its unlikely we'll be able to take a call 1st thing and come in that day so we recommend arranging emergency cover for the 1st day of illness at least. If its urgent text us on 07799 321 849 - we may well be teaching so unable to answer a phone call. We should be able to give you a yes or no pretty quickly and arrange a day to come in. The beauty of registration is that a lot of the admin that slows this process of booking down has already been done. Its still worth getting in early for planned absences such as jury service, maternity, long term cover, INSET etc. as we may get pre-booked by someone else.
Do we need to register or can we do this when we book?
We need to register to view the site, get paperwork to you, see how sessions will work with regards to the site, resources and timetabling. We suggest register early in case you need cover. You get lots of benefits for registering even if you never need us such as safety bulletins on managing the outdoor environment, free trees when available, free resources and advice.
How many support staff do you need?
This really depends on the pupils. We'll let you make that judgement call. We recommend at least one member of staff to ensure compliance with child protection policies and to make the most of recording evidence by taking photo's. Outdoor education and forest school gives lots of opportunities for success which is great PR for newsletters and social media. At least one member of school support also ensures that any health and safety requirements such as fire drills, first aid reporting etc. is adhered too.
Can we mix our classes up so that more than one class experiences forest school or the outdoor learning?
Yes. Some schools like to move teachers around so that pupils have internal cover with different teachers so that more than one class experiences forest school/outdoor ed. Some schools prefer to have one class for the whole day. Just let us know when you book and remember pupils will likely need outdoor clothes or their uniform might get messy.
What happens if the weather is bad?
Assume we'll be outside for most of the day so outdoor clothing is essential. We only come in for safety considerations such as high wind. We can provide shelters or move closer to school if its cold and wet or break up sessions to have some outdoor then indoor time. In cold weather we often include warm drinks to keep us warm and we regularly assess the wellbeing of pupils. Our session plans include indoor activities as a back-up.
How long do sessions last?
We work around you timetable. We record this on our previsit and for registration. We suggest an hour but are very flexible. We're here to support your pupil's learning.
Don't forget we can also organise trips out to local woods or arrange a school visit like experience at school.
Just contact us to arrange.