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About Forest Schools


At Sussex Forest School, we are committed to ‘nurturing through nature’, by providing a stimulating, natural and supportive environment for all children to develop and grow, in a truly holistic way.

Sussex Forest School is a family-run business, delivering Forest School into education environments such as mainstream and independent schools, special needs schools and home educated groups, in a variety of woodland settings, in Sussex.

Steve Tilling

Steve is a qualified primary school teacher and was a class teacher for 10 years in the High Wycombe area, during which time he was also Sports Coordinator and the lead teacher in numerous residential and non-residential school trips, as well as running many extra curricula sports and music clubs. He is a trained Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and a member of The Forest School Association. For the last few years he has been heavily involved with outdoor education and has delivered many hundreds of Forest School sessions in a wide range of educational settings.  He holds an Outdoor Pediatric First Aid qualification, is DBS checked and is a Level 3 qualified Bushcraft instructor.

Steve has a strong love and respect for the natural environment and is an avid supporter of Outdoor Education and Forest School in particular. He has four children and spends much time in the outdoors – working, walking, camping and just being, and enjoys watching and playing a variety of sports (mostly watching these days!).

Petra Tilling

Petra has lived and worked in the High Wycombe area since 2001. She holds a NVQ2 qualification in Social & Health Care and has worked for many years in the provision of care for children, including those with Special Educational Needs and disabilities. She has assisted in many forest school sessions, and is DBS checked. In addition, Petra both practices 'mindful parenting' as well as  helps parents with their relationships with their children and themselves.

As a young adult, Petra worked in outdoor activity camps for children, organising and running activities where the emphasis was fun rather than fear. Being outdoors, for Petra, is a necessity not a privilege, for healthy and balanced living in today’s world and she likes nothing better than wandering through the woods and just breathing it all in, with some children at her heels. Petra and Steve have a six-year old boy, who has ‘grown-up‘ in the outdoors and loves it.

Maya Tilling-Thrane

Maya, Steve’s daughter, has a Level 2 Qualification in Supporting Teaching and Learning and is currently completing the Level 3 qualification in the same discipline. She is working as a Teaching Assistant in the High Wycombe area with a specialism of working with children with Special Educational Needs. Maya has assisted in many forest school sessions, is working towards the Level 1 qualification and is DBS checked.

Maya was born in Scotland, lived in South Bucks for a while and then spent most of her childhood in Denmark, where Forest School came to the UK from and where ‘friluftsliv’, literally ‘free air life’ is a way of being. As a result, she fully appreciates the benefits to children from the Forest School ethos and is an avid supporter of the ‘freedom to learn’ that Forest School provides for children.