New Forest School
New Forest School is an Independent Special school from 8 – 16 years providing tailored educational packages for our students.
We work to provide a strong sense of community with a caring and considerate ethos in which all students and staff are respected and valued. In particular, the school values parental/carer partnerships and operates an open door policy to encourage and support this.
The school offers bespoke curriculums to enable all students to succeed and progress educationally and emotionally. We aim to ensure students have the support and understanding they need in a suitable environment to enable them to access the education to which they are entitled.
We aim to:
- Support, promote and re-engage students in learning so that they may achieve their full academic and personal potential.
- Welcome each student into a caring, safe community which celebrates individual talents, praises achievement and effort and provides for individual needs.
- Teach respect for the beliefs and opinions of others.
- Promote positive behaviour amongst the students and to help them make a positive contribution to society.
- Guide the students towards social and economic independence.
- Provide a safe, secure and stable base for the students and to help protect them from harm.
- Support and promote the health of the students.
We seek to provide a ‘Curriculum of Opportunity’ that addresses both individual needs and the entitlement to the whole school curriculum. New Forest School also delivers GCSE, functional skills, entry level, vocational courses and Duke of Edinburgh Award to enhance the student learning experience.
The school has been recognised for its work and positive outcomes for students with complex needs. We offer an excellent range of extra-curricular activities and a strong ethos of good behaviour. This includes working with local colleges to access motor vehicle and creative media courses, enterprise and design projects and art exhibitions at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton.
In a safe and secure environment New Forest School supports and guides the students, engages them in life-long learning experiences, and builds their capacity to make a positive contribution to society.
Our ethos is represented by a set of values we hope to instil in each of our students, and which is modelled by every member of staff working at the school.
‘The school farm provides a stimulating learning environment. Pupils learn well about animal care and horticulture. They also successfully develop social skills and become more responsible.’
‘The school farm is an additional resource to engage all pupils. Pupils of all ages thrive in
this environment, learning to work in a team and take responsibility, in addition to
applying academic learning.’
‘Pupils explain how well they learn at the school farm. Teachers provide rich learning experiences at the farm. For example, pupils learn about plants’ life cycles while tending crops. Pupils enjoy working with animals and reflect on how this helps them understand responsibility. A number of pupils explained, ‘We are so lucky to have a farm at our school.’
Ofsted Inspection ‘Outstanding’ 26–28 September 2017
Outdoor Learning Centre
In addition to the bespoke educational service offered by our school, we also provide an alternative route to engaging young people in their education.
For those who have not been able to engage in the standard school learning environment or who are at risk of permanent exclusion, we provide bespoke individual packages for various durations in the therapeutic environment of our Outdoor Learning Centre.
We work with students to gradually increase their attendance, whilst developing:
- Attachment and building relationships.
- Self-esteem and confidence.
- Emotional self-regulation strategies.
- Setting boundaries and reinforcing positive behaviour.
Programmes start with activities that embed learning skills through activities, this then leads on to classroom sessions to gradually introduce the structure of the school day and more formal learning.
Some students will work towards a gradual transition into our school or we will support them in their transition to another placement. Some students attend for a specific programmes with their existing school.
The activities our qualified instructors can deliver include:
- Rock wall clinging (on-site)
- Archery (On-site)
- Forest School (On-site)
- Animal Care (On-site and at our school farm)
- Horticulture (On-site)
- Arts and Crafts
- Kayaking/Sailing/Canoeing (off-site)
- Cycling (off-site)
- Swimming (off-site)
- Tennis (Off-site)
We can offer certificates and qualifications in outdoor education activities and students will also have access our school farms which will give them the opportunity of gaining horticulture and animal management experience.
Our Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Therapy Teams, as well as our Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Therapist if required support all students at our Outdoor Learning Centre.
Placements can range from 2 weeks to a year and may start at one session per week (2.5 hrs)
We have two school farms, which provide our students the opportunity to engage in horticulture and animal management, either as part of their learning (City and Guilds up to Level 3) or for the therapeutic value that working with animals and being outside can bring.
We encourage students to grow their own fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers and provide a focus on field to fork by incorporating the farm produce in the catering lessons back at the school or selling this as part of enterprise projects.
We are keen to ensure all students understand the impact on the environment they are having and this is a core theme running through all of our work whether this is in respect of recycling, re-use, preservation and building wildlife habitats or responsible sourcing.
Both of our farm sites have classrooms attached with qualified teachers and support staff who plan lessons to make the best use of the farm environment. This can incorporate sensory integration therapy from our Occupational Therapists.
Our first farm is situated at Bartley, this is the smaller of our two farms at 4.5 acres and is made up of a wide range of animals, most of which have been handled for most of their lives so are comfortable around people. This allows our students to practice many of their animal management skills on the goats, donkeys, alpaca, sheep, geese, giant tortoise, chickens, rabbit and guinea pig in a more controlled environment.
On this site, we also have a poly tunnel and raised beds dedicated to growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Our larger farm is based on 55 acres of the Broadlands estate, and whilst it is home to our Outdoor Learning Centre and the activities it provides, it is run as a more traditional farm.
It has a growing number of animals and is stocked with Cows, Pigs and Sheep so that our students can experience animal care of the larger livestock in addition to the facilities already available at our Bartley farm.
As this is more of a traditional farm the animals on this site are not all pets and some are reared to provide meat and associated products such as wool.
The horticultural work on this site allows students to experience growing on a larger scale to support their enterprise projects, such as pumpkin growing; bedding plants, fruit and vegetables where students will sell the produce with the meat mentioned above.