Otterhead Forest School's well trained staff team offer a wealth of experience from a varitety of backgrounds which include mainstream teaching, Outdoor education, Environmental studies and Tree Surgery. It could be argued that Otterhead Forest School employ some of the most experienced practitioners in the country. This wealth of knowledge allows Forest School students to benefit from a high quality, deep level learning experience.
Joe - Forest school manager
On return from an overseas teaching placement, Joe completed an honours degree from Loughborough University in 2009. Joe approached Otterhead Forest School as a volunteer. Since 2010 Joe has shared his passion for music production and performance with a variety of Forest School students. Joe has established and develops Otterhead Forest Schools music provision as well as working with a range of students in a woodland setting. Joe has completed his level 3 Forest School and progressed to the role of forest school manager. In 2019 he completed mental health first aid training.
Josh-Forest school leader
Josh qualified with a level 3 national diploma in outdoor leisure in 2011 from bicton college. He then attended Bath Spa University and studied developmental geography for two years. Josh found Forest School through a private company based near bath. He worked there in the kindergarten department and ran holiday clubs for young people aged 3 to 14 for two years. Josh grew up in the Blackdown hills, a mile from Otterhead, and became aware of our Forest School through its locality. Josh joined our team in January 2016 and works with a variety of young people, including groups and one to one programmes. Since then Josh has progressed to be a member of the senior leadership team.
Ali - Forest school trainer
Ali achieved a degree in Archaeology and Environmental Studies before going on to complete a masters in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy. After working as an archaeologist throughout the UK Ali undertook a career in secondary Teaching spanning over twenty years. Her specialism was Geography. She took on Curriculum Lead before becoming a Head of Year. Her most recent post in school was the Every Child Matters Co-ordinator which included Careers, Work Experience, PSHE and Sex & Relationship Education. Whilst completing the Level 3 Forest School training course Ali decided this was were her future lay, gave up teaching and became a Forest School Leader. She transferred her teaching skills into Forest School and developed a range of educational qualifications for young people, which were tailored to coincide with the Forest School ethos. Ali spent a year working towards becoming a Bushcraft Instructor which helped to enhance her forest School Practice. Since 2010 Ali has been successfully running Forest School training. She has developed the current programme of training offered at Otterhead, which includes Forest School Level 2 and 3 as well as Agored Cymru’s Outdoor Learning suite of qualifications. Ali is an Associate Trainer with Cambium Sustainable.
In the coming year Ali is going to be trialing a new qualification in ‘Challenging Behaviour Using the Outdoors’, with a view to delivery in the Summer.
Pete - Forest school leader
Before becoming part of the Otterhead Forest School team, Pete travelled extensively through Central America and participated in a TrekForce conservation project in the Belizean rainforest. On his return to the UK, Pete completed a degree in Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University. He trained as a Primary School teacher and completed his PGCE at St. Lukes College (Exeter University) specialising in Art before achieving his level 3 forest school certificate. He has worked at Otterhead Forest School since 2010 and has run the Forest school of Wellsprings primary since 2014.
Rach - Forest school Practitioner
Rachael completed three years training in Outdoor Education at Bicton College before working in an outdoor centre for four years. Rachael has also been employed within the care industry working with autistic young adults, some with sensory impairment. In 2010 Rachael joined the Forest School team and now specializes in engaging vulnerable young females in a forest school setting.
Kirsty - Forest school Practitioner
Kirsty has spent years working with young people with various needs before joining the team in 2018. She is a level 3 forest school practitioner who is currently leading the team in play therapy to better enable the holistic development of the students at Otterhead Forest School. Alongside her other qualifications, Kirsty is specially trained to help students with attachment issues. Recently she has been offering outreach programmes to schools to give some of the experience of forest school in a mainstream setting.
Kay- Forest school Practitioner
After starting her professional life in public facing roles, Kay decided that she would like to put her skills to use helping young people. Kay started working at Otterhead in 2017 and since then has gained formal qualification in first aid, team teach and is working on her level 3 forest school award. She specialises in meeting the SEMH's needs of 1:1 students through her child centred Forest School approach.
Harvey- Forest school Practitioner
After growing up in rural somerset, Harvey graduated from Plymouth university with a degree in physical geography and geology in 2017. He wanted to pass on his love of the outdoors and came to volunteer at Otterhead in 2018. From there he has worked in mainstream secondary education before becoming full time at Otterhead. He is working on his level 3 qualification in forest school currently.