Health, safety and risk

Numerous studies have highlighted the rich potential in natural spaces to engage children across the full range of play types (Noren-Bjorn, 1982; Hughes, 2001; Korpela et al., 2002; Wells and Evans, 2003; Clements, 2004). Kellert (2002) considers the importance of the urge to master and control
nature through risk-taking, adventures, control of the environment, independence and autonomy, den and fort making – coupled with risk avoidance, a fear of nature and a developing appreciation of the respect for the power of nature to destroy.
Play England 2007

Vanessa Bear is First Aid trained and has vast experience of assessing risk and setting up safe but challenging activities for children. Vanessa always carries first aid kits including a burns kit. We have set boundaries where the children are able to wander and we have a strict adult to child ratio as recommended by the FSA.

• L3 Forest School, QTS Teacher
• DBS checked
• Insured to work on our site or yours with £5M Public Liability (Copies of our      insurance certificates are available on request. Please contact us.)
• Qualified 16 hour Outdoor First Aider
• Member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning, Forest School Association, Forest    School Wales and Learning Through Landscapes.
• Undertake risk assessments for all activities

Our fully risk assessed activities mean that we take every step to ensure that no one gets hurt while take part in activities. However, we do understand that accidents do happen and every parent needs to know that we have a fully qualified ITC Forest School First Aider trained and equipped to deal with every situation.

In addition to this Vanessa is passionate about including children in assessing risk and taking ownership and responsibility for keeping themselves safe. By teaching and modelling to the children how to handle tools, work around a fire, walk and run around the woodland safely as well as explaining why these things are important so that they can make informed choices.

All of our Forest School Leaders carry a mobile phone and a copy of our action plan so that any situation can be managed quickly and safely. If you have any questions (no matter how small) please contact us.

We also work on a Risk-Benefit basis. Risk-Benefit Assessments are like Risk Assessments but with a clear emphasis on the benefits as well as the risks. To do this a judgement is made on the level of risk, and a judgement is made on the level of benefit. These are then compared to see if the activity is worth doing.

Risk Benefit Assessments are like Risk Assessments but with a clear emphasis on the benefits as well as the risks. To do this a judgement is made on the level of risk, and a judgement is made on the level of benefit. These are then compared to see if the activity is worth doing.

For example, it is a reasonably high risk for a child to climb a tree, but it also has great benefits: physical exercise and coordination, emotional development, overcoming fear, achievement, learning about nature, as well as learning how to judge risks (and benefits!) themselves. If the situation is right then although this is of reasonably high risk it might be an acceptable risk due to all these benefits.

We advise all children, parents and schools to read our policy handbook
Bear Forest School Handbook