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All about our staff

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, we make sure our approach is child-centred. We will, at all times, consider what is in the best interest of the child.We have a rigorous recruitment process to safeguard the children in our care. All of our staff receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training at induction. The training is regularly updated. In addition, all of our staff receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins, and staff meetings), as required, and at least annually, to continue to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.

Stephen Simpson

Head of Forest School

Stephen Simpson is a fully qualified Forest School Leader and has worked for over twenty five years with 3-18 year olds in creative indoor and outdoor environments.

He is a passionate believer in using alternative learning methods with children who need help coping with the pressures of the modern curriculum and believes that environment plays a crucial part in being able to access successful learning. He has two adopted sons, one of whom is diagnosed with ASC, ADHD & ODD.

Stephen is a Governor of an SEMH school in South West London. He often talks at adoption events about children with SEMH and associated conditions. In addition he is a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for FSUK & St John's School.

Sam Taylor - Colls

Forest School Research Psychologist

Sam Taylor-Colls PhD is a Research Psychologist in Children and Families who has been working with vulnerable children and families for the last fifteen years.

Sam has successfully written and completed her PhD looking at the relationship between a child’s social environment and their emotional development. Before joining Forest Schooling UK Sam worked collaboratively with health care professionals, local authorities and educational establishments to nurture and protect children’s emotional well-being.

Mark Whitehouse

Business Director

Mark Whitehouse worked with a UK National Agency for over 30 years - managing large scale educational programmes for schools, universities, CIC's and youth groups within the UK and overseas.

Mark is a qualified Compliance professional with the International Compliance Association (ICA). As the Head of Compliance at a National Agency, he has worked with Community Interest Companies (CIC's) since their introduction to the UK in 2005. Mark led the National Agency's audits of organisations financial and operational activities - ensuring their compliance with the educational programme's criteria and with the UK regulatory legal context.

Mark joined Forest Schooling UK CIC in 2022 as Business Director.

Ann Hutchinson


Ann is a teacher at St John’s school and is passionate about young people having the best opportunities in life. She studied in Early Years to support children in having the best start in the school environment.

Ann specialises in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and is the school's SENCO. In 2007 she went to Sweden to study Forest schools in their education system and was stimulated by that experience to create Forest school in an English setting. Ann is a trustee of Creative Youth, organisers of the International Youth Arts Festival.

In addition Ann is a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) at St John's School.

Jack Dimes

Behaviour Support Manager

Jack has a keen interest in youth work. After working with young people at Creative Youth, Jack’s interest in mental well-being grew, leading him to become a personal trainer focussed in outdoor physical activity. Jack is an outdoor enthusiast and believes children can benefit emotionally from being in an outdoor environment.

Jack has worked as 1:1 support for SEMH children in school and within Forest School environments. Jack's passion for providing opportunities for children who need extra support in their environment stems from his own school experiences and his understanding that children can achieve their full potential when given the opportunity to do so.

Christina Turner

Behaviour Support Mentor

Christina is a Psychology graduate who has previous experience providing nurse-led care at home for children and young people with complex care needs.

Christina worked within mental health hospitals on medium secure wards with forensics patients. Her former work place was Springfield hospital where she was working under the OT team. This also included horticulture sessions, encouraging independence and self esteem.

Christina is an advocate in promoting the benefits that nature and the outdoors can provide. The outdoor environment can enhance children’s individual needs alongside catering for their mental well-being, development, resilience, confidence and creativity.

Kay Flissman

Forest School Leader (Clubs)

Following on from completing a Fine Art degree, Kay's background is as an artist working in video, performance and writing, through a process of group experiments and collaborative workshops.

Kay is passionate about creating group spaces that encourage self-led education and exploration. Excited to learn more about the forest school ethos, she started out volunteering with GreenWise Education back in 2018, before qualifying as a Forest School Leader in 2021.

Kay has always been committed to caring for the environment, and she spends her free time volunteering with local biodiversity projects. She is a committee member of The Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve, where she regularly co-leads conservation sessions.

Laura Korte

Forest School Leader (Clubs)

Born to a Finnish-Karelian family, Laura was brought up between Finland, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and Sweden. As the granddaughter of a Finnish guardian of a forest, she grew up hiking and camping across the Nordic moors.

Laura is a passionate environmentalist and humanitarian which led her to study human rights, international law and philosophy and, later on, to get a Master’s degree in International Law with a specialisation in Environmental Law.

She began working for Maria Sprostranova in 2017 as a Forest School Assistant and subsequently trained to be a leader in 2021-22. I enjoy being involved in grassroots projects to create a better world for everyone. Forest School is a place where she feels inspired and able to do so

Miles Easterbrook

Behaviour Mentor

Miles came to Forest School as a work experience student in 2022 and has stayed with us whilst he takes a well earned break from his studies. He is gaining experience and is an essential part of the team. He is especially good at communicating with the children, especially if they challenge his science or Pokémon knowledge! Miles is trained in Safeguarding & Prevent duties and is completing his first aid training.

Otterlie Feighan

Behaviour Support Mentor

Otterlie has been teaching and supporting neurodiverse children and teenagers for 20 years. She has worked across home, mainstream and specialist settings. She is an English & Psychology graduate with a MSc in Applied behaviour analysis.

Otterlie is also a Cub Scout Leader which she loves! She feels that being out in nature with children provides a level playing field for all, enabling children to find talents that may not shine within a classroom.

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