Meet the team

Our Passionate Team

We pride ourselves in our team ethic to learn and develop new skills. Our team meet regularly to discuss our practise and experiences. Coming from a variety of different backgrounds; it is vitally important that we share our successes and build on challenges that we meet along the way. Forest School is always developing and we will never be complacent that our knowledge is complete!

Ellen Blackwood


Learn more about Ellen

Ellen is the director of Primary Forest School & Outdoor Education. Having completed her Level 3 Forest School Leader qualification she is very passionate about providing forest school experiences for primary school children across south west England. 

Ellen has graduated with a Sport, Physical Activity and Exercise degree from Durham University and has also completed a Masters by research at Exeter University having investigated the benefits of dinghy sailing for young people. 

Alongside Primary Forest School Ellen runs the Dorset Franchise for sports. Ellen’s sporting qualifications include Level 2 Basketball Coach, Level 1 Netball and Volleyball, and also a fully qualified sailing instructor as well as holding the Forest Schools qualification. Ellen has several years of coaching experience and led sessions in a variety of sports including multi-skills, athletics, dodgeball and rocket ball. She has spent 6 weeks in Zambia coaching netball, basketball and volleyball and 2 months in America working in an underprivileged camp as a lifeguard and swim teacher. Ellen’s own sporting background consists of playing in the National League basketball, and playing locally in netball and basketball whilst taking a leisurely approach to sail when she can.

Ellen enjoys the challenge of teaching in diverse environments which makes her suited to delivering forest schools. Her strengths are being adaptable within her sessions and ensuring the participants are having fun whilst learning. 

Becky Holman


Learn more about Becky

Becky has been a self-motivated instructor for most of her working career. It has been of the utmost importance to be able to encourage people to move and keep their minds as well as their bodies active.

After initially qualifying in basic exercise to music, she decided to explore other avenues where she could use her qualifications. She took her skills to many nursery and school settings within Bristol and set up regular fitness sessions within the nurseries for the children.

The children’s classes led Becky to work for an independent school in Bristol, as a Physical Development specialist. This role required her to plan classes, risk assess sessions and write reports on the progress of the children. Becky has always worked in holiday clubs, providing outdoor education and fitness activities throughout the summer holidays.

In her role as a Personal Trainer, Becky works with some physically limited clients, as well as people wanting to train for sports specific aims. Becky qualified for this role at the grand old age of 44, helping people who would never have the confidence to attend group classes or the gym. She visits clients in their homes and trains them in their own environments, where they are comfortable. As Becky progressed through her career, she worked extensively outdoors, using parks and woodlands to teach PE classes, PT sessions and explorers groups. The opportunity arose to shadow a fellow colleague who was running forest school sessions at one of the nurseries. When her colleague moved on Becky seized the opportunity to run the outdoor education programme.

After completing her Level 3 Forest School qualification she went on to launch an additional outdoor education programme at the beach, only one of two Beach schools in Bristol.

In her part time role as an adult fitness instructor, Becky teaches people of all ages and abilities, classes being as much about community and friendship as well as fitness.

In her spare time, Becky is a keen painter and enjoys long cycle rides as well as long walks. She has two boys and two cats and lives with her partner in the Victorian town of Clevedon, North Somerset.

Becky teaches in our somerset schools.

Annika Groombridge


Learn more about Annika

Annika has previous experience working as a BHS riding instructor working with all age groups and skill levels. She has worked for 19 years as a veterinary nurse caring for animals and helping clients in their time of need as well as teaching animal care to 16-18 year olds. 

Annika loves the outdoors and in her spare time she enjoys the countryside with family, or wild swimming at her local beaches, rivers and lakes. 

She keeps horses, ponies, goats, sheep and a few chickens who keep her busy when she is not working! Her love of forest school started when her children were young and they attended many forest school groups, bringing her to where she is today with Primary Forest School.

Annika teaches in our West Dorset schools.

Claire Nelson


Learn more about Claire

Claire has always loved working with children. While primarily working in School's and Nursery’s, Claire has also worked with teenagers for many years, leading youth groups and weekly sessions at the local youth club. In the last few years, after having children, she has found herself involved with her local playgroup, always getting stuck in and organising various outdoor fundraising events.

Claire completed her Level 3 Forest School Leader Qualification, She loves that Forest School promotes learning through exploration and wonder. It provides a space for children to breathe, take risk, problem solve and grow in confidence. She loves that every day is a learning day as much for her as it is the children!

Claire loves to be outdoors, whether it’s walking, a family bike ride or camping in her camper van with her hubby and two boys. Beach days are always a joy come rain or shine and a favourite for their dog Fin too.Claire moved from Gloucestershire to Somerset and joined Primary Forest School, working in our Somerset and Devon schools. 

Jo Childs


Learn more about Jo

Jo is equipped with a wealth of knowledge and skills gained from 20 years as a primary school teacher. She understands the needs of schools and can match outdoor learning to the curriculum as well as understanding the need for child-led exploration. She is passionate to develop curiosity, self-belief and confidence in all her sessions.

Growing up in the fields of Suffolk, Jo enjoyed making mud pies and dens in ditches. A lover of camping and relaxing in hammocks, Jo is always looking an excuse to be outdoors. She can often be found exploring with her family, walking her dog Otto around the Dorset woodlands, or foraging the coast on a paddleboard.

Jo loves to travel and has had several global adventures. This summer she is off to Costa Rica to explore the rainforest and no doubt bring back some tasty recipes.

Jo works in our West Dorset schools.

Sophie Boyes


Learn more about Sophie

Sophie has recently moved to Somerset and joined Primary Forest School as a Forest School Leader.

Sophie’s career background includes working in the education sector as well as being a professional photographer. She has worked as a teaching assistant in a primary school as well as leading photography workshops for secondary school students.

With the knowledge gained during her Level 3 Forest School Leader training and her strong beliefs in forest school ethos, Sophie is keen to develop children’s wellbeing within the natural world around them.

In her spare time Sophie enjoys outside activities such as fossil hunting and landscape photography at the beach. 

Sophie will be working in our Somerset and Devon Schools

Meg Robinson


Learn more about Meg

Meg lives in East Devon and works in schools in and around Devon and Dorset, Meg's family moved to East Devon in 2018 and her love for exploring and making fires has only grown since. 

"Hello! My name is Meg I grew up in Winchester and enjoyed activities such as dancing, sailing, camping and rock climbing for much of my childhood/teenage years. I went to university in 2016 to study to become a Primary School Teacher, where I initially found out about Forest Schools and continued my love for lighting fires and adventuring into the woods. I joined the company in early 2023 I really enjoy being a forest school leader and working for Primary Forest School has been one of best decisions I have made!"

Hannah Costello


Learn more about Hannah

Hannah grew up in South Shields and recently relocated to Somerset after living in Cardiff for a few years. Hannah began her career wanting to be a primary school teacher and completed her undergraduate degree to do this in Primary Education with QTS.

Hannah became curious about exploring outdoor learning. This realisation came after working for 2 months in America at an outdoor summer camp and loved it. After this, Hannah completed a master’s degree in Outdoor and Experiential Learning, living in the heart of The Lake District, which allowed Hannah to investigate the therapeutic, adventurous, theoretical, and reflective aspects of outdoor learning.  

Hannah specialises in SEND education; Hannah has worked as a teacher in a disability school in Wales and an Outdoor Education Lead for a special need and trauma-based school. Hannah completed her training as a multi-skilled instructor in several outdoor education activities, those qualifications/training included: British Canoe Paddle Sport Instructor (Canoe specialism with Kayak and SUP training), Archery GB Instructor, ERCA Ropes Instructor, Tomahawk Training, Air Rifle Training, Zip Line Training, and Introduction to Bushcraft Training.

"I love the outdoors and the freedom that comes with it. Working in forest school allows me to see the curiosity and growth that it brings for the students in new ways. In my spare time I incorporate the outdoors through regular walks, wild swimming, camping and water sport activities."

"My other hobbies involve being creative with different forms of art, up-cycling/creating furniture, writing and watching as many movies as possible! Since I have recently moved, I also spend time exploring the local area with my partner while our two cats explore the area too!”

Kelly Osborne


Learn more about Kelly

Kelly was Born and Bred in the West Country, Kelly has always been an explorer of the outdoors. Whether discovering new local footpaths with her partner and dogs, spending time in the garden looking for wildlife or visiting natural trusts sites to see what unusual trees can be found. 

Kelly is very passionate about protecting our earth and aims to be as eco-friendly as possible, making her own natural cleaning products, using charity shops and reducing single use plastic. She also loves to sew, altering garments and furnishings, extending the life of them. 

Kelly has work within many of the local primary schools in Axminster and surrounding areas, where she gained experience as a T.A , 1:1 support and a music leader.

Kelly is excited to share these skills, alongside her love for the outdoors in her role as a Forest school leader. Kelly would like to encourage children to look after the environment and each other. Kelly is passionate to share her Forest school skills, teaching and learning with children to help them grow. 

Rachel Allen


Learn more about Rachel

Rachel is the adminstrator for Primary Forest School & Outdoor Education. She previously worked in a further education college and is our hub for all our enquires and administration needs.

Rachel's skills stretch across many sectors from working in the hairdressing industry, management, delivering further education courses, mentoring young people through apprenticeships and has a keen eye for detail makes her a perfect fit for our company.

Rachel is our key contact for all schools and parent enquiries, she manages the holiday club and after school bookings and is also staff at our Holiday Clubs.

Rachel enjoy's long walks, reading and swimming, her two boys love coming to forest school!

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