As a school, we are always very conscious to ensure that the curriculum we offer is broad, balanced and enriching for all our pupils. From the moment they begin at Forest Prep in the Early Years and continuing through to the top of the school, when preparing the children for their entrance examinations and transition to secondary education; our overall aim is to ensure that the curriculum allows all our pupils to fulfill their learning potential and acquire a positive attitude to learning along the way.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in the skills and knowledge that children hold with regards to ICT and computing. Our pupils are confident when trailing new systems, are eager to utilise technology to further enhance their knowledge and they enjoy accessing computing to further develop their love of learning. With this in mind, and with the fact that, for our pupils, computing will be everywhere in their adult world, the children will no longer have a separate, stand-alone ICT lesson from September. Computing and ICT will be integrated into the main classroom lessons, incorporating a ‘digital literacy approach’ that has cross-curricular links to all subjects. As a traditional school, the grounded values of traditional methods will still very much remain adhered to and all our current methods of teaching will remain exactly the same. However, the school should also recognise the importance of the changing times and be innovative in its strategies.
Due to the changes with our ICT provision, we have the opportunity to create a new, vibrant space that will allow our pupils to further develop their love for learning and skill set. From September, the current ICT Suite will be transformed into a new Art Studio for all pupils to receive specialist weekly Art and Design Technology lessons. This will allow pupils to have the space to develop their skills and understanding of art in a purpose built room, which our current classrooms, especially Upper School, don’t currently allow. The Art Studio will offer a space where the children can be creative, working on more detailed projects with a wider range of resources and through a more enriching style of techniques.
As another direct result of the pandemic, we have gained further appreciation of the cruciality of children’s mental health awareness. Evidence shows that Art and Design gives children the opportunity to develop their characters- allowing an outlet for expression of emotions, a boost in self-esteem and improved social connection with peers. These, as well as nurturing an appreciation for learning and sense of strong well-being, are all attributes of a ‘True Forester’. We believe that this new specialist subject and learning environment will capture this theme and provide our pupils with an enjoyable and effective means of well-being and personal development.
From September 2022, Mrs Emma Thomson will take on a new role as our Art Specialist Teacher. Having a personal love for the arts, she holds all the relevant skills and visions to create a vibrant and meaningful art department for all our pupils to appreciate and enjoy. Additionally, Mrs Thomson will move into the Pre-Prep team as Kindergarten Teacher on Thursday afternoons and Fridays. Having taught Reception for many years, the Pre-Prep department will gain an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner who will job-share with Mrs Wardle each week. Mrs Wardle will continue as our Head of Early Years and will be teaching Kindergarten from Mondays through to Thursday lunchtimes.
In addition to his role as Head of Sport, Mr Joshua Bullock will become our full-time Reception Class Teacher from September 2022. As an Early Years trained specialist, he has the knowledge and skills to continue to develop our highly successful Early Years Department. Mr Bullock, who currently teaches the Kindergarten class on Fridays, is very much looking forward to establishing his new role in Reception, where he will be very ably assisted by Mrs Howland.
Along with the rest of the staff, and fully supported by Bellevue Education, I am excited and intrigued for the future of our curriculum at Forest. Our primary aim is to ensure that all our children receive the very best education at Forest- one that allows them entwined success and happiness.