Take a leaf out of their books: RFS Schools Excellence winners set the bar for outdoor learning

Date Issued: 31 July 2012
RFS Excellence in Forestry Schools Award winners

Three outstanding school woodland projects in the South West have received awards in the Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) Schools Excellence Awards 2012. Teachers and educationalists everywhere should be looking to take several leaves out their books, say the judges.

The RFS Schools Excellence Awards, sponsored by PEFC and ECL Howard Watson Smith, are held annually, travelling around the country on a seven year cycle. In 2012 educational organisations from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire were invited to enter projects that increase young people's understanding and appreciation of the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests and of the link between trees and everyday wood products.

Eight schools made it on to the shortlist and the eventual winners ranged from a nursery in Somerset to a secondary school in Wiltshire.

  • 1st: Welton Free Rangers Forest School Nursery, Midsomer Norton, Somerset
  • 2nd: Okehampton Primary School, Devon
  • Commended: The John Of Gaunt School, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

RFS Education Officer Debbie Cotton and Richard Pain, Forestry Commission Woodland Officer, judged the event and said: “We were extremely impressed by the range and quality of our entrants this year. The winning projects, however, truly demonstrated excellence throughout all they did. Their commitment and enthusiasm towards the projects and their extraordinary creativity in how they engaged children with trees and woods was inspirational. We really hope the winning schools will be very proud of their achievement and encouraged by the award to keep up the good work!”

Read more, and see photos of the runners up on our Awards page.

In 2013 the Awards move to the North West of England and the Midlands. Schools and other educational organisations from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man will be able to take part. Entry is free, with a £1000 first prize and a £500 second prize. Details and application forms can be downloaded from this website.