Outdoor Learning Updates 
Are you a self-motivated, practical person with excellent leadership skills?
Do you have lots of empathy and an ability to inspire others?
You might be the very person to join the team and support volunteers to develop transferable skills.

Starting salary 25,500 for 35 hour week on a one year fixed term contract (extension subject to funding)
Closing date 22/07/16 interviews w/b 25/07/16.
Details and application form : abriachanforest@gmail.com

This role could be a job-share opportunity and is funded by The Robertson Trust, Landfill Community Fund, Scottish and Southern Energy Community Fund.

CAR PARK IS OPEN AGAIN - PLEASE TREAT IT WITH RESPECT SO IT REMAINS POTHOLE-FREE. So far we have had toddlers drawing pictures, thinking they were on Nairn's sandy beach, doughnuts from late night visitors showing off and piss holes from horses to repair....and we haven't even had the invoice from the contractors yet!


Forest School 2015/16 Updates

Click here for Abriachan generic pupil review


Click here for 2015's short OL news


Click here for Outdoor Learning ppt


Charleston pupils have been coming out regularly as the Rural Skills S3 class carrying out estate maintenance, tree planting, fencing, drainage, brashing trees, weeding lodgepole and Duke of Edinburgh volunteers have participated in chicken wiring boardwalks, removing tree tubes and barrowing wood chips on to the peace path and under play area equipment. Thank you one and all. They will be gaining well-deserved John Muir awards at the end of the year.
The Friday boys have created a series of Leopold benches after following larch from log to lumber to leaning post. They will be installed on the peace path soon.

Local Early Years schools and nurseries have been asking us for bespoke stools for little learners to sit on. Lots of enterprise opportunities for our older volunteers.

Gordon McLellan, alias Creeping Toad inspired pupils from local primary schools to create lively enactments in the sensory labyrinth.
He continued to engage visiting children during the school inset days.

Geocaching with granny. An amazing intergenerational afternoon of learning Ailsa and her gran found all the animals on their first attempt at geocaching. Ailsa learning to write the code, granny learning to press the buttons and both power walking round the paths all afternoon.

Chief Samuel and his team of teachers from Kenya visited to share ideas about community empowerment and inter continental learning for sustainability. They left after planting a few oak trees then sharing lunch, cooked by our pupils, round the fire.

As well as gaining useful life and employability skills, Christian also brushed up on his fitness by challenging Chris to long muddy bike rides.....and then clearing the puddles by draining the bike tracks!

The partnership with Moniack Mhor continues with the Written World and over the years we worked with many primary schools , authors Linda Cracknell, John Glenday, Gerry Cambridge, Ken Cockburn and also some care experienced young people at the weekends.

Don't miss this mesolithic opportunity ..... where else will you get the chance to spear fish from a coracle....all under AALS certification!

Homework for Glenurquhart S1s John Muir Awarders....
Aims of Abriachan Forest Trust are to -
1. Improve biodiversity by sensitive forest management.
2. Provide local employment opportunities.
3. Encourage outdoor learning and recreation in the woodland.

The other initial aim was "to improve access for all" but the Scottish outdoor access legislation has made sure everyone can explore the outdoor environment as long as they are behaving responsibly.
Don't forget to keep the standard of homework as high as it has been!

The new side to our classroom has been extremely well used since it was completed and, in addition to flushing toilets, a kitchen, and an office with wifi, it now has the added benefit of underfloor heating powered by a biomass boiler. Outdoor learning? I hear you say - well , yes, most of the time we are busy being inspired by cross-curricular experiential learning out in the woods but a little luxury helps along the way! The annexe has already been an excellent base for birthday parties, team building days, craft and singing workshops, meetings and sporting event prize givings.
We are indebted to Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme for the majority of the funding, to MAKAR for the build, Colin of Neil Sutherland Architects and to the Great Glen Energy Co-operative for the extra warmth from the boiler.

Christmas crafts made in the wood from wood on Sunday 1st December in the forest classroom. 1.00 - 3.00. Come along and have a look at the new facilities, coffee and cakes will be available and drop in craft activities can be enjoyed by all.
There will be a virtual snowman competition with some virtual prizes!

Don't miss the opportunity to join in a skep-style birch basket workshop with Bryce Reynard on the 8th December from 10.00 - 4.00pm in the new classroom. All materials will be provided-subsidised cost 25.
Details can be obtained from abriachan.org.uk or by calling
01463 861236

Euroforest have finished the harvesting but there are still firewood and forest operations ongoing in the woods.


Check with 01463 861259 or 861236 to get updates on progress.


If you go down to the loch this summer you might have spotted some people enjoying their forest school experience but doing some environmental improvements at the same time...... After a litter picking morning, an idyllic afternoon fly fishing for brownies with barbless hooks, a barbecue , no midgies and great banter.

Extra curricular weekend learning for all ages - Gaelic song testing the accoustic in the new building.

...and how many does it take to check what level of CfE we are on?


May 2013 saw the fourth year of this successful project...a whole fortnight of outdoor learning inspiration and literary creativity. Last year with Linda Cracknell and Gerry Cambridge and this coming year with Donald S. Murray each leading a daily dose of riddles and poetry with schools from as far away as Strathconon, Marybank, Avoch, Coulhill, Kilchuimen, Tain, Mulbuie Ferintosh, Dingwall and the more local Dochgarroch, Tomnacross, Kinmylies and Teanassie. The anthology is being compiled as we wait.Scottish Book Trust have once again generously supported this project.

On a similar vein, again in partnership with Moniack Mhor and Highlife Highland, we have held writing weekends for adults throughout the winter months. This is the second year of this project and Gerry Cambridge is publishing an anthology of the contributions.

Lichen Dyeing with Lesley Kilbride

Local lichen lady lecturing on lungwort - she also hates overuse of alliteration!

This well attended workshop was generously supported by funding from High Life Highland. It is hoped to develop a further series of traditional craft sessions next winter.

Explorers come this way and test out our new maps - we will soon have a literacy trail, an easy fixed course, a tricky fixed course and two large areas of the forest trust properly mapped for orienteers.
This work will be completed in April and we will have family fun days on Friday 3rd and Monday 6th May.
The new annexe to the classroom should be ready for action by then....Scottish Water permitting.

More details nearer the time from 01463 861236

ST BRIDE'S DAY - 2nd FEBRUARY 1.30 - 3.30pm

at the Forest Classroom

Come and make a rush cross, learn a gaelic song and listen to some folklore about the greening of the springtime.
Contact Morag for booking 07964 822560

OUTDOOR LEARNING At Abriachan Forest School we are committed to learning outdoors - no matter which part of the curriculum, how young or how old the learners are, whatever the weather, and can usually guarantee a sometimes surprising improvement in the level of engagement.

In 2011-12 we have successfully worked with nurseries on various seasonal stories and topical trails, with primary schools on literacy and enterprise projects and supported transition groups or holiday clubs. Pupils who are not able to attend full-time primary or secondary education have benefited from focussed work we have developed specifically for them in discussion with their teachers.

We have also supported young people on Activity Agreements, helping them develop skills for learning, for life and for work, enabling them to progress towards and sustain more positive futures.

We continue to work with adult groups from Apex and Birchwood Highland and have linked up with Ness Soaps, Adult Basic Education, and the Voluntary Action Fund on an assortment of projects.

Please get in touch for more details.
01463 861236 (day)01463 861259 (eve)

FOREST SCHOOL TRAINING We have had an extremely busy autumn of training courses, all very well-received, so there are more enthusiastic trainee Forest School Practitioners getting ready to work in the woodlands all over the Highlands and Aberdeenshire. Please get in touch if you are interested in Forest School because we hope to run some modular training courses in the new year.
e-mail : jbarrabr@aol.com

open to all secondary agers interested in nature and conservation 10.00-12.00 at the Abriachan Forest Classroom - phone Jess Butler for details 01456415798

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We have been working with more 1:1 pupils and small groups of vulnerable adults over the past couple of years. This has meant sharing cramped indoor workshop space and meeting employability skills / IT use has had to be dovetailed quite precisely. To ensure we continue to provide the successful service to, and well-received learning experience for our users, we are hoping to build an annexe to the classroom, incorporating WATER, an office, WATER, toilet, WATER, kitchen area and general purpose room.This will also hopefully end the five years of trundling dirty dishes to wash and sploshing leaky water containers up and down the bumpy Balchraggan road.

To this end we have been very fortunate in gaining 90% funding for the new building from Highland LEADER and expect the works to be completed in time for the autumn term.

See link below for plan details.
Contact us on 01463 861236 - weekdays or
01463 861259 -evenings if you want further information.

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We have had some groups arriving without confirming with us beforehand. This can mean too many children in the play area at once and leads to disgruntled adults...definitely not what we want on our fun-filled trips!
Drop us an e-mail to check dates first please.

Cycle Training - CPD

Trail Cycle Leader course

Contact : jbarrabr@aol.com or simon.harry@forest-education.co.uk

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Forest School Introduction
[ edit ] [ delete ] Forest School at Abriachan Forest Trust
Abriachan Forest Trust (AFT) is the first and longest running Forest School provider in the Highlands. Since 2004, AFT has been delivering Forest School programmes to schools, colleges, youth and adult groups coupled with health and well being programmes. These have provided groups with the opportunity to experience an outdoor / forest environment through focused and structured learning ,
developing self-esteem, confidence and interpersonal skills in the process.

AFT has a purpose built forest classroom which offers year round teaching whatever the weather (there are only a few days when snow restricts access).

In addition to the forest classroom, AFT also has a number of sites throughout the forest specifically built to offer exciting teaching and learning opportunities for all groups. We have an outdoor all weather Forest School site, shelter building area, a versatile round house/bronze age dwelling/Celtic home/Gruffalo shelter/Hagrid's hut, a wildlife hide, two tree houses, an all weather adventure play park and hidden on the hill a shieling, whisky still, peat path and a Celtic calendar.

What is Forest school?:

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.

The Forest School ethos focuses on an approach to learning that maximises the emotional, social and developmental beneifts of education.

Forest School works with children and young people in the outdoors over a period of time, working with a higher than normal staffing ratio, introducing responsible risk-taking and setting participants up to achieve. Forest School is run by a qualified Forest Leader (level 3), together with other staff who are well versed in the Forest School process

Forest School:

Provides child initiated and self directed learning
Takes place in a safe and supportive environment
Is run by trained staff
Has small groups and high staff:participant ratio
Recognises individuals' learning needs
Takes into account different learning styles
Enables learning how to take appropriate risks safely
Uses small achievable tasks which become increasingly challenging
Involves freely chosen play
Improves social skills
Improves knowledge and understanding of the natural environment
Activities can include exploring, bush craft, campfires and cooking, den building, green play, woodwork, foraging, using tools, woodland management, environmental education games, art and music, mathematics, science, history, sustainability...

Forest School is suitable for anyone. It is particularly beneficial for Early Years children, local community groups, young people not succeeding in school for whatever reason, adults and children with physical disabilities, challenging behaviour, learning difficulties and many others

What does Forest school aim to achieve?

A recent study carried out by the Forestry Commission in Wales measured the beneficial effects of Forest School with a group of children from Pentre Primary School in N.Wales. The areas of benefit they identified reflect the outcomes which time and again, are associated with Forest School. These are:

Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
Improved social skills
The development of language and communication skills
Improved physical motor skills
Improved motivation and concentration
Increased knowledge and understanding of the environment

Worcestershire council have also undertaken research into the benefits of Forest School the results of which can be found at

http://worcestershire.whub.org.uk/home/ ... arch-2.pdf

What are the different levels of training?

To be a Forest School Leader it is important to undertake the necessary training.

Level 3 training is available to teachers, support assistants, children's services workers, active schools co-ordinators, community youth workers, nursery nurses, etc, with relevant experience.

Level 2 training is shorter, and designed for people with less previous experience of working with children and young people, or those who only want to work as assistants.

Level 1 training is available to people who only want to work on existing school/nursery/playwork sites alongside Level 3 practitioners.

Teacher training and INSET days:

AFT offers training to teacher requiring an insight to the forest school process. INSET days can be organised and run offering a mix of both throretical and practical activities designed to explore the benifits and practicalities of taking part in Forest school.

traing days will explore the ethos of FS and way in which the techniques learned through the various levels of trainig can be applied into everyday teaching practice

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