Dear RP Forest School Parents and Carers,
Please accept our apologies for the confusion over our summer Holiday Activity Days the past few days. This has been because of new information we have received, and which we have needed to clarify. As a result I can confirm that we have temporarily closed down bookings for Forest School Holiday Activity Days for children aged 5-7 years.
Currently, we can only take bookings for children aged 8 – 12 years via our Forest Explorers Holiday Activity Days.
The situation has arisen because the Local Authority have had questions about our status in terms of Ofsted registration. Our independent school is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, and we meet all the rigorous standards required for this accreditation; however, Forest School is not directly included in the main school inspection. We have been able to operate up until now because of exemption permissions; the Local Authority has praised our ‘unique and valuable service’, but has now made clear to us that the exemptions are not applicable to our service, nor to any Forest School provision which offers sessions of more than 2 hours in length to children under 8 years.
We are in the process of making an application to join the Ofsted Childcare Register, which we have requested is fast tracked, but it is not clear when this will be achieved. We intend to be able to offer Forest School for children aged 5 and up as soon as possible and will be communicating with you when this is available to book. We may be able to offer summer holiday dates to children aged 5-7 years for this summer, but this is only likely to be clear with very short notice. Consequently, we have taken the decision to contact parents and carers to cancel places and refund monies for bookings for children under 8 years old.
We are obviously very disappointed to find ourselves in this position, particularly as we are aware of the inconvenience it will cause to our loyal customers, we hope you will see that it is due to circumstances beyond our control. Please be assured of our ongoing commitment to provide excellent programmes which your children can enjoy.
We would like to make it clear that the requirement to register with Ofsted is compulsory for any provision which works with children under 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day. Any unregistered Forest Schools offering childcare to under 8s are doing so against statutory regulations as explained on the Ofsted website:
Many apologies again.