OFSTED 2022..."Pupils describe West Horndon as being a big family. Staff know pupils well. Pupils are proud to be part of such a welcoming school...Leaders have high aspirations for all pupils. Pupils rise to meet these expectations. All staff share this vision. Leaders make sure pupils have a wide set of experiences. These help pupils develop into confident individuals. Pupils develop their self-esteem through extra responsibilities...Leaders have developed an inspirational curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of pupils at West Horndon. ..The whole school environment is a celebration of language and vocabulary...Pupils are well behaved in lessons and around school. They know the school rules...Leaders consider staff’s workload and well-being. Staff enjoy working at the school and feel supported by leaders." Pupils do not disrupt lessons. Pupils always do their best and want to make their teachers proud of what they can achieve. 2024 New Intake Prospective Parent Tours 2nd Oct at 10.30am, 30th Nov at 9.30am and 11 Jan at 9.30am Please call the school office or email admin@westhorndon.essex.sch.uk to book a space.

Forest Schools

Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”  Walt Whitman, 2005

The 6 Principles of Forest School


The ethos of Forest School follows the six principles that are agreed by the UK Forest School Community and are endorsed by the Forest School Association.

  • Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

  • Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

  • Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners

  • Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

  • Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centered processes to create a community for development and learning


Overview of the Ethos of Forest School


Learning in the outdoors involves the whole person - mind, body and soul. It places young people in real situations and encourages them to take responsibility and reflect on their actions. Motivation and learning come easily when you need to build a shelter, or cook your lunch over the fire.

In Forest School, children are never set to fail. Instead, they are given appropriately challenging and achievable tasks that build their confidence, skills and independence. The activities lend themselves to teamwork, and developing and improving social interaction.

Forest School has the potential to unlock talents that would remain hidden in formal teaching. Learning in direct contact with nature can challenge attitudes and values and encourage lifestyles based on quality of life rather than material possessions. It encourages self-respect, respect for others and respect for the environment.


Forest School provides opportunities through adult enabled and child led activities that enhance the development of each child's physical, intellectual, linguistic, social and emotional skills. Development in these areas can be observed throughout sessions by the practitioner and feedback to the class teacher, thus enriching teacher assessment by providing evidence of deep learning through the application of skills beyond the classroom.


For more information about Forest School, please visit https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/

The National Curriculum states that:


2.1 "Every state funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which;

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils
  • prepares pupils for opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life."
3.2 "The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and each week, term and year to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications."

At West Horndon Primary School we are proud to have a curriculum that we believe encourages all children to be:

  • successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve
  • confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society

We consider the Forest School experience should be an opportunity that forms part of this curriculum as the ethos it represents very much reflects these aims. Our policy therefore sets out to ensure that all stakeholders, especially practitioners have a collective insight into the ethos of Forest School and that, children who participate in the sessions are given the opportunity to develop through holistic experiences therefore become all of the above.