School of the Week: The Forest School, Knaresborough

The Forest School, Knaresborough, provides for children aged between three and 16 with a wide range of learning challenges in their lives. These include moderate and severe learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, physical challenges and language and communication difficulties.

Staff and children at The Forest School, Knaresborough (1701091AM1)
Staff and children at The Forest School, Knaresborough (1701091AM1)

The school is a Specialist College for Communication and Interaction and this is a key aspect of the work we do as 92 per cent of the 105 pupils have difficulties in communicating. We offer a Total Communication approach which incorporates the use of both speech and sign as well as a variety of communication aids.

The school goes across both the primary and secondary phase with the older pupils following a typical secondary style timetable moving around the school to be taught by subject specialists.

Head teacher Peter Hewitt said: “We have created a family type atmosphere in which everyone knows, respects and is tolerant of others.

“Our philosophy is very simple in that we accept the young people for the way that they are. However, we invite them to come on a learning journey with us towards a place where they are more comfortable with themselves, parents/carers are happier with them at home and society has an understanding of their needs.

“The pursuit of excellence in academic, personal and social development and having fun whilst learning are at the heart of all that we do.

“We encourage all of our pupils to respect themselves and others as they strive for excellence in all that they do, both academically and personally.

“The school does all that it can to enable pupils to reach their full potential and become as independent as they can be.

“The Forest is a thriving and successful school, as evidenced by the latest Ofsted report which described it as being outstanding in every single category.

“Undoubtedly this is because of the commitment, dedication and skills of a fantastic team of staff who work alongside wonderful children with the total support of brilliant parents.”

l Next week: St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Harrogate