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Get Children Outdoors

Forest Schools Education Introduction

January 16, 2015

Thank you to all of you who have requested information about Forest Schools Education
I Love OctoberFor all of you that have shown an interest in the Archimedes Forest Schools Education Symposium 2015

You are an inspiration and this is going to be your year!

I am committed to collaboration and I am so pleased to introduce myself

I am Sarah Blackwell and in 1995 I returned to education and completed my outdoor qualifications in Caving, Climbing, Mountaineering and Canoeing then went onto get an honours degree in Countryside Recreation Management. In 2000 I qualified as a teacher and since that time I have worked in education with children in early years right through primary, secondary, FE, HE at university and now run my own Training Academy with adult students attending from around the globe. But, my love of learning, natural enquiry, education and social change came at a young age. I started my career as a residential social worker in 1983 after studies in psychology, sociology, welfare in society and social biology.

“Totally surpassed in every way. I feel connected with the great outdoor with a passion I hope to hold on to forever. Wonderful delivery, faultless”

Now I hope to work with you. Archimedes staff have over 60 years collaboratively of working in Forest Schools and I can guarantee that we have had successes, things that haven’t worked quite so well, not only in working in nature with children but also establishing programmes and making the difference to children and grown ups lives. We have learnt form experience and these success and challenges have made us the leading experts in our field. We want  to share as many of these with you this year so you can be the best that you can be!

As promised here is an overview of Archimedes Forest Schools Education

Make sure you download About Forest Schools Education 2015 and then email us with your registration of interest

Contact me through to find out more information

email me on if you have any specific questions

Ensure that you are a part of the Dream. Be you you want to be, we want to work with you.



Get Children Outdoors

Forest Schools Symposium USA

January 15, 2015

So it’s coming!


Do you want to be a part of the first cohort of qualified US practitioners?

Do you want to burn the torch of excellence and draw others to you?

Do you want your children to experience Forest Schools everyday of their childhood- look no further!

IMG_2781Forest Schools Education is coming to America this year and we will see you there at the symposium and we will  have a very special Free gift for you if you sign up!

It’s a once in a lifetime offer, it can’t be repeated – so make sure you don’t miss out!

Go to for more information about this leading Forest Schools Training Academy

Are you wanting to establish a Forest School, a Forest Nursery, a Nature Nursery or other type of nature immersion programme we can’t wait to meet you later in 2015. shows what can be achieved at Middlewwod a Nature Nursery gives an overview to Forest Schools and training opportunitiesIMG_3584

Send us your email and details on the contact form on either website and you will be the first to receive your Early Bird Offers!

Phone +44(0)114 2834060 for more information





Get Children Outdoors

Play at Forest Schools Kindergarten

December 16, 2014

Bob Hughes suggests that through his observations and research of animals and children playing that there are over 16 different play types and children need to test the boundaries in each one of those types in order to learn the rules of engagement in life for when they grow, mature and develop.

If a child has had the opportunity to push their physical boundaries, to balance, to climb, to move, to stretch, to throw, to jump and swing then there will be enhanced levels of physical  and emotionally literacy in that child.1621765_254249544736172_1072213647_n

If children have  been given an opportunity to test the boundaries of communication, by trying out words, sentences and intentions in a safe, environment, then they will develop the ability to become confident in offering their own opinions and thoughts later in life when it become important that they do.


If children are able to explore social boundaries, and understand that they are able to make and set their own in certain circumstances, then they will be more accepting of those boundaries set by others as they grow, they will also gain the ability to question them, and to follow them and as such put themselves into a place of greater safety, socially, emotionally and physically later in life, where the risk of physiological and psychological harm could be greater.10155814_272523976242062_1028432098_n

If a child has developed a sense of self worth and self awareness, then it is very easy for that child to make rational and balanced decision as as they grow as they have a strong foundation of a sense of self, a place in the world, confidence and resilience.

Get Children Outdoors

Children are Playing Outdoors Everyday at Middlewood Nature Nursery – Sheffield

December 13, 2014

Children are queuing up to come to Middlewood Nature Nursery!

Finally – thank you all for your patience, support, dedication, passion and HARD work over the last few months – we are now registered with Ofsted and  have our certificate of approval.

  • Badger Cubs for Babies from 3 months to 2 Years with our own sensory room
  • Fox Cubs for 2 -3 year olds
  • Wolf Cubs cater for 3 to 5’s

The Dangerous Adventure Club will also provide holiday cover for up to 13’s and in the New Year After School Care will be available also with pick ups from local schools.

We are on the tram links, bus routes and whilst based next to the River Don and Beely Woods in Middlewood are within easy distance of North, North West, South West, South and Central Sheffield, outskirts of Barnsley, and the perfect place to drop off your children if you are commuting from areas outside of Sheffield on the Northern Side.

Visit our new website and our Facebook pages Forest Schools Kindergarten and our new one specifically for Middlewood Nature Nursery 

Your child is precious and they only have their childhood once, give them the gift of life, freedom, fresh air and the whole world of nature as their teacher. You wont be disappointed, your children will love spending time with us and if they are happy and healthy, then your job as a parent can focus on all the wonderful things that life can offer you as a family!

We look forward to meeting you

Life is an adventure, exploration, discovery and challenge brings out the best in all of us!

Life is an adventure, exploration, discovery and challenge brings out the best in all of us!

Get Children Outdoors

Now CRB has morphed into DBS

May 23, 2014

I think this is an area, a bit like First Aid, where we assume that we know what we are talking about, based on what we have always done, or what others have told us, or what we have had inferred to us, without actually investigating and gaining all the facts, this is true for me as the director of SFA, CIC I have had to register myself and the company to carry out DBS checks for staff.

However, I became aware that all organisations, businesses voluntary organisations or group of people who want to request a DBS check on you have to prove that the job you are applying for is either, for Standard Checks, on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. And for Enhanced Checks the position you are applying for must be included in both the ROA Exceptions Order and in the Police Act1997(Criminal Records) regulations. Not only that To be eligible to request a check of the children’s or adults barred lists, the position must be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate as above and be specifically listed in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations to able to check the appropriate barred lists

Levels of criminal record check available

Standard checks
To be eligible for a standard level DBS certificate the position must be included on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

Enhanced checks
To be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate the position must be included in both the ROA Exceptions Or der and in the Police Act1997(Criminal Records) regulations.

Enhanced checks with children and/or adults barred list check(s)
To be eligible as an organisation to request a check of the children’s or adults barred lists, the position must be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate as above and be specifically listed in the Police Act 1997
(Criminal Records) regulations as able to check the appropriate barred lists

So as a consequence it’s useful to know what a regulated activity is, i.e. one that requires the person to obtain a DBS certificate in order to prove that they are eligible to work in at the regulated activity.

The new definition of regulated activity
(i.e. work that a barred person must not do) in relation to children comprises, in summary:
(i) unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/ guidance on well being, or drive a vehicle only for children;
(ii) work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. (Not work by supervised volunteers);

Work under (i) or (ii) is regulated activity only if done regularly: “regularly” is defined in detail on the following pages under items (a) to (f).
HM Government is publishing statutory guidance on supervision of activity that would be regulated activity if unsupervised.
(iii) relevant personal care, e.g. washing or dressing; or health care by or supervised by a professional;
(iv) registered childminding; and foster carers

Therefore the organisation has a legal duty to not request a DBS in relation to any work that is:
1. Supervised
2. Irregular with different groups of children
3. Working at different establishment

Now what is regular?
1. Sole, unsupervised Teaching or training or education is once a week over a but and over 4 occasions in a month
Exception – if this work is supervised no DBS is required
2. Sole care or supervision once a week and over 4 days in a month
Exception – if this work is carried out and supervised no DBS is required

You have the right to request the DBS to prevent the processing of your application under the Data Protection Act 1998, principle 6
“Personal Data should be processed in accordance with an
individual’s rights”

It is imperative and the law that those who are requesting you to provide your DBS and other certifications are acting within the law to do so other wise it is a contravention of your privacy and not only that they are breaking the law by requesting this information.

If you are working self employed as a Forest Schools Practitioner as a one off in a school environment or for two sessions a month or even three, then you do not require a DBS and the School is not at liberty under Data Protection to ask you for one. If you work with another adult person and are under supervision or watchful eyes then you do not need one. They would be breaking the law as it is a non-regulated activity that you are offering. If you are ‘employed’ by them, i.e. you are on their payroll then you do fall under the regulated activities and they can ask you to apply for a certificate.

Similarly if you work with vulnerable adults, in you role as a Forest Schools Practitioners in the woodland or other outdoor setting, you will only require a DBS in that instance if you are responsible for their personal hygiene and other toileting or private matters (e.g. assisting with issues re menstruation) unsupervised. What this means is that if there is a parent or other care giver or personal assistant with them, their personal hygiene is carried out by themselves or by another then you are NOT required in law to obtain or show a DBS certification and it is illegal for that organisation to ask you to provide one. If you are employed by a care home, a residential or other set up and on their pay roll then you may be required to hold one. You must check.

The organisation in order to request DBS certification and to apply for one has to prove that they are eligible BY LAW to do so, i.e. they have to provide documentation to the autorising body (representing the government) that the Rehabilitations of Offenders Act 1974 is complied with and if an enhanced check is required then the Police Act 1997 (criminal Records) regulations.

It is not simply a case of, well we al have them, we all need them, and this is what we have always done. It is a very serious legal situation and one where those we employ are protected by law and that their data is personal and that we will only ask for checks when they enter into a Regulated Activity where a check is required.
Gone are the days of months and months of waiting, checks now are taking in the region of 5 to 10 days, so an activity that was not regulated and becomes one, by the time the DBS is needed for UNSUPERVISED work then the practitioner, volunteer, parent, employee can apply very quickly.