Subjects Taught

English
Students who are with the Centre on a permanent basis work towards the requirements of the Edexcel International GCSE English Language Specification A. This work has to be combined with short-term students who are following the requirements of the GCSE English Language and English Literature courses at their mainstream schools. In practice, as over 95% of Hertfordshire schools follow the AQA GCSE course, this means complying with the AQA specification in these subjects, with the updated focus on 'Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing' and examining 'Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives'.

To broaden the approach and allow for extra accreditation for long term students and free-standing accreditation for short term students, there is an opportunity (where appropriate) to achieve Level 1 or Level 2 qualifications in AQA Functional English. This gives students the opportunity to improve and be accredited for Speaking, Listening and Communication Skills, in addition to improving reading and writing skills in the context of a range of relevant, real-life texts, contexts and scenarios.

Maths
The Centre's core curriculum for maths up to GCSE level is based on the requirements of the Edexcel (9-1) Maths GCSE specification. Again, however, individual students will have their work differentiated according to individual needs and the exam requirements of their mainstream school. Many students (both pre- and post-GCSE) also work towards Level 1 and/or 2 qualifications in Edexcel Functional Skills Maths, preparation work for which is dovetailed into the broader maths curriculum.

Science
The Centre's current core curriculum for science up to GCSE level is derived from the requirements of the biology, chemistry and physics single-award components of the AQA International GCSE Science Suite of qualifications. As with maths and English, however, individual students will have their work differentiated according to individual needs and the exam requirements of their mainstream school (very often, for Hertfordshire schools, the AQA GCSE specifications). Many students, for whom single-award science study may be too demanding or restrictive in content, work instead towards L1/L2 or Edexcel Entry Level qualifications in science instead of proceeding to GCSE, and the curriculum is differentiated accordingly.

The FHEC science curriculum, where possible (and often in non-classroom contexts such as assemblies) also references the calendar and seasons, as well as work-related learning themes and events occurring in the outside world.

Drama
Drama is taught as an 'enrichment' element of the Centre curriculum, supporting the 'Mental Health Functioning in Education' (MHFiE) priorities of the Centre, with the focus upon participation, collaboration, creativity and confidence-building - although these are structured into flexible, long-term schemes of work with themes such as 'Drama Over Time' and 'Drama Across Cultures'. Work in drama supports work in English, through its promotion of literacy and presentational skills.

Art
Art is also taught as an 'enrichment' element of the Centre curriculum, with the focus upon creativity, building self-esteem, promoting self-awareness, developing dexterity and improving core skills. Schemes of work usually focus on the in-depth exploration of a particular artist, style or genre, but with outcomes centred on the process and production of pupil artwork. For long-term pupils, study to GCSE is sometimes possible, at which point additional tuition is given, directed towards meeting the requirements of the Edexcel Art and Design GCSE specification.

Work-Related Learning
Work-related learning occupies a fixed, two-period slot on a Friday morning and is a core element of the 'enrichment' curriculum. The focus of lessons is diverse in nature, from team-building games and exercises (focused on exploring alternative modes of learning, while cultivating community-, work- and life-relevant personal attributes and skills) to the pragmatic business of job searching, application and interview practice.

Music
The focus of the Centre's music curriculum is cohort-dependent, and planned in short-term schemes of work to meet the needs, abilities and interests of both individuals and groups of pupils using the Centre. In all instances, the guiding principle is one of access, inclusion and confidence-building (no matter the skill level or experience of participants), meaning that (for instance) those with no conventional musical education can take part in 'pop-up bands' (using technology such as Kaossilators) alongside more experienced musicians. Participation takes priority over performance, although when cohorts can access more demanding work, broader themes (music history, theory, culture and aesthetics) are also explored.

Humanities/General Studies
As with music, pupil aspirations and needs (particularly the wish, or otherwise, to obtain formal accreditation at GCSE level) also influence the focus of these areas of the curriculum; core schemes of work seek to support the 'enrichment' priorities of the Centre's work (challenging the 'introversion' of many mental health conditions, and affording pupils a wider awareness and appreciation of history, culture, social diversity, geography, the arts, religion and belief), while key strands are sometimes developed further in order to meet the requirements of qualifications such as AQA GCSE General Studies or AQA Short-Course in Religious Studies (Unit 6: Worship and Key Beliefs).

PE/Games/Yoga/Gym Physical education in Forest House Education Centre is intended fully to support the Mental Health Functioning in Education (MHFiE) priorities which are are the core of the Centre's work; students are encouraged to build their self-confidence, self-esteem and resilience through activities which allow access and inclusion for those most challenged (including those with physical disabilities), while building skills and physical fitness in more able, enthusiastic and motivated pupils. Fortnightly yoga (delivered by a highly experienced visiting tutor) compliments more overtly competitive 'in-house' activities such as table tennis (usually undertaken as a team activity), while regular gym visits serve a dual function of improving physical fitness while exposing students to the challenge of using public, off-site facilities.

'Carousel' Subjects - Money Management, Citizenship, ICT, E-Safety, Media Studies, Current Affairs
Additional subjects are timetabled, on a loose 'carousel' basis, according to accrediation needs, the identification of 'gaps' in a cohort's skills or knowledge profile, and in response to the student voice/opinions ('Current Affairs', for instance, was introduced as a response to a frequent observation by in-patient pupils that life on the hospital Unit severely isolated them from awareness of the world outside). The focus of schemes of work is generally with progression back into community life in mind (and thus supports the MHFiE priorities), although students are encouraged to obtain accrediation where possible (by obtaining a Level 1 or 2 award in NOCN Money Management for instance.)

Day Pupils

The centre's small cohort of day pupils (whose mental health needs are being met within the community rather than within Forest House Adolescent Unit) often have historical issues of school refusal and chronic social anxiety. In order to address these issues, and improve their chances of successfully transitioning to a mainstream post-16 educational provision, Independence, life skills and food technology lessons are provided to give opportunities to develop and practice skills beyond the conventional classroom. Travel skills, shopping, cooking, pursuing leisure activities and so on are tailored to the individual's and the cohort's requirements, with the curriculum specifics evolving from areas of interest, need and opportunity.

GCSEs On Offer

English Lang - AQA
English Lit - AQA
Maths - Edexcel
Science - Single Award Edexcel spec
Art - AQA
Citizenship - AQA

Other qualifications include:
Level 1 FS English and Maths