Haverhill school’s Forest School blighted by vandalism

St Felix Primary School  children from receptio nand teaching assistant Debbie Boreham look at the damage to the Forest School area.
Picture; Mark Westley
St Felix Primary School children from receptio nand teaching assistant Debbie Boreham look at the damage to the Forest School area. Picture; Mark Westley

Vandals are repeatedly damaging a wooded area used for Forest School activities by a Haverhill primary school.

On numerous occasions over the last two years trees have been cut down, fires and barbecues started, branches thrown into a brook to block it and items,including saws, tools, knives, cans, bottles and even a tent left behind.

Now staff at St Felix RC Primary School in School Lane have had enough and want it to stop, saying it is impacting on the education of children who use the Forest School.

Headteacher Chris Grey said: “Literally everything in our curriculum you can find in Forest School (such as teamwork, improving self-esteem, independence, communication and decision making).

“It’s the damage, that’s the main thing, and the impact on the children.”

Once every week reception class children use the Forest School site next to the school, but over recent months it has gradually been reduced in size, moved ever-nearer the school from its original location and the number of trees decimated.

Teaching assistant Debbie Boreham, who helps with the Forest School classes, said: “It’s all been cut way. It’s quite devastating.

“When the children go outside, you just feel as if they are flourishing. They are opened up like a flower.

“They are growing and reconnecting with the ground and the earth. It’s lovely.”

Mr Grey added: “One of the long term ideas is to open it up as a Forest School club for other schools, but if we can’t keep the site safe there’s no way we could open it up.”

He also said the ‘ideal solution’ would be to put up a boundary of some sort.

He also is considering visits to secondary schools to explain what the four and five year-olds do in Forest School to raise awareness of the ‘devastation’ that is going on at the site and the impact it has on the children.