Improving the accessibility of the forest school

Braunston Primary School in Northamptonshire

At Braunston Primary School in Northamptonshire, once a term the students take part in forest school days. During forest school, the children have the opportunity to spend time outside learning in and about nature, joining in with activities such as gardening, using tools, whittling, creating nature-based art, and tracking down bugs. However, the Braunston Primary found its forest school was not very accessible for wheelchair users – the vegetable and plant garden were all either too low to the ground or too high up without the ability to position a wheelchair underneath. Their outdoor picnic benches were also not accessible to wheelchair users.

The school applied to our Whizz Kidz Community Change Fund to improve the accessibility of the forest school, aiming to purchase an accessible outdoor planting tray in addition to a preparation/picnic table for wheelchair users. The school motto is ‘We Care’ and the students are taught to recognise the needs of others, the school council therefore wanted to make sure all children at the school are given the same opportunities. They felt the purchase of these pieces of equipment to ensure young wheelchair users can independently take part in forest school activities, are able to join the gardening club, and are able to be with their friends and not feel separated.

In their feedback form, the young wheelchair user involved in the project that they strongly agreed that …

  • They had enjoyed being part of the project.
  • They had engaged with the local community.
  • The project had a positive impact on the community.
  • The project had a positive impact on wheelchair users.
  • The project had a positive impact on non-wheelchair users.
  • The project has made a difference.

They also felt they had developed the following skills: evaluation, teamwork, communication, independence and listening to others. They enjoyed being involved in the project saying the planter is really good and they have planted radishes, spring onions and carrots which are already growing.

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A young wheelchair user waters a flower bed. He is with a group of three other young children who are watching on

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