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Outdoor Learning

The Great Outdoors

Outdoor Learning at Akeley Wood is experiential learning at its best. It allows children time away from the confines of a classroom, helps to increase engagement and develops a wide range of skills such as team building, communication and problem solving. We are incredibly lucky to have fantastic Outdoor Learning facilities within the grounds of each school campus.

The natural environment outdoors at Akeley Wood School is an exciting place that children of all ages can enjoy and be inspired to investigate and learn, helping to develop their soft skills while contributing hugely to their wellbeing.

Our Junior students explore learning through Forest School sessions, while Senior students up to Year 9 benefit from an Outdoor Learning Curriculum, which you can read more about below.


Forest School.

The way in which young children learn and grow in the Forest School environment is unique, and the skills they gain transfer into all aspects of the school environment and progress their own development. All children learn and develop through play and exploring with nature, and play is right at the heart of Forest School where all activities are child-led.

The accredited Forest School Leader may provide the children with resources, but the pace is set by the children, and they are given the freedom to create and choose their own play opportunities, following their imagination without any pressure to achieve. They thrive in this setting, and, as they become more used to the environment through weekly visits, the confidence and scope of their ideas, activity and teamwork grows.

This holistic approach reaches the physical, intellectual, emotional, communicative and social aspects of child development. Children will communicate with each other to overcome challenges such as ‘den building’ and assist their peers when tree climbing - showing empathy, for example, when a child is hesitant. They problem solve, take turns, negotiate, listen and praise each other and try again when things don’t go according to plan.

Children are continuously encouraged to take and manage risks under close supervision. These skills develop in a low-pressure environment, facilitated by our trained Forest School Practitioner. As part of the learning experience, children love to care for our Akeley animals, chickens and guinea pigs, giving them a sense of responsibility. We have a beautiful Forest School area within the wide open grounds of Wicken Park and each year group is timetabled to visit the setting at least once a week.

Room to explore.

We have a beautiful Forest School area within the wide open grounds of Wicken Park and each year group is timetabled to visit the setting at least once a week.


Children love to care for our Akeley animals, chickens and guinea pigs, giving them a sense of responsibility.

Outdoor learning is high on the agenda and the Junior school has a Forest School in the woods where the lessons are child-led and informal. The children get fresh air and learn about the nature around them.

 – Pippa, parent of Akeley Wood Pupils, Archie and Oli

Senior School

Outdoor Learning.

Outdoor Learning is valued equally highly at the Senior School for the benefits it brings to our students. Sessions are timetabled into the week for Years 7-9, to continue the learning that begins in Forest School at our Junior School and Nursery. Lessons go ahead in all weathers and students have their own waterproof Akeley Outdoor Learning uniform.

We have an established Outdoor Learning area in the woods with a spacious wooden cabin which serves as our classroom, a large sand-filled fire circle with seating and a parachuted canopy, an assortment of garden beds, a small pond and a low ropes course. Students build dens, learn how to erect tents and are taught how to use fire responsibly. They delight in growing their own vegetables and cooking over the fire.

Orienteering, basket weaving, cord-making, knot-tying, making natural dyes and working with clay are just some of the activities that give the children freedom to explore while learning new skills. Plant and tree identification are also taught, and how to develop and care for our pond, including the safe use of tools. These skills aren’t as common among children as they used to be, but we place value in their ability to help us connect with the natural world.

Our Senior students favourites

Tomahawk Axe throwing

A fun way to test calculated risk taking and hand-eye coordination in a safe setting.

Low ropes course

Encourages perseverance and team work skills.

Basket weaving

Skills that connect students with the natural world.

Tool safety

Exploring less abundant skills and encouraging hands-on activities.

Unique experiences.

Tomahawk axe throwing, catapult shooting and horseshoe throwing are also enjoyed, and the low ropes course helps to build resilience, team work, communication and listening skills and allow students to test their physical limits in a safe setting.

Notwithstanding all the above, we believe that simply being outside in nature and in the fresh air is vitally important for the general health and wellbeing of our students. Pupils are encouraged to embrace the outdoors and to gain a better understanding of what nature has to offer. Above all we aim to have fun.