“This is the most important survey ever undertaken for Forest School leaders and other educators using wooded areas and forests in the UK. The results will provide an evidence base that will inform national policies for years to come. It should help us better understand the barriers to establishing Forest Schools and will allow the FSA to more effectively promote quality Forest School provision. I urge all FSA members to complete this survey and to share it widely”
Gareth Wyn Davies
Chief Executive, Forest School Association

The available funding only covers an analysis of the data gathered from England but we are keen to gather data from all of the UK in the hope of raising the necessary funds for analysis at a later date.




Further details
Enabling children to be closer to nature, especially by learning and exploring in wooded areas and forests, was recognised as a key action in the government’s 25-year Environment Plan, published earlier this year. Yet despite the well-proven benefits of children spending regular time outdoors—including health and wellbeing, attitudes to learning, and environmental awareness—there is poor understanding about the current level of outdoor activities for young people across England, particularly in wooded areas and forests.

The Bringing Children Closer to Nature survey aims to explore barriers and opportunities to activities in wooded areas and forests, including the practice of Forest School, and it will quantify any issues preventing development and growth.

Its three main aims are to:

  1. acquire basic information, including the number and distribution of schools and other organisations who do forest education activities including Forest School, and the levels of training and skills among practitioners;
  2. understand more about barriers and opportunities to establishing and sustaining forest education, including Forest School, among host organisations (e.g..schools, early years nurseries) and practitioners, and explore how these could be overcome;
  3. explore potential interest among woodland owners in providing greater access to woodland sites to support forest education, including Forest School.

This national survey forms part of the Forest Schools for All project, a partnership between Sylva Foundation, The Ernest Cook Trust (funder) and The Forest School Association.

Find out more and take the survey at: www.sylva.org.uk/survey

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