Loughborough University is offering a PhD opportunity in a project titled “Forest School for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in secondary schools”.

Nature-based education initiatives, like Forest School, are growing in popularity in education settings in the United Kingdom and internationally. A growing evidence base suggests that these initiatives, which see young people taken out of the classroom and into green spaces to engage in child-led experiential learning can benefit physical skill development, enhance social and cognitive skills, and improve well-being (Coates & Pimlott-Wilson, 2019).

However, the majority of this research focuses on younger children either in early years settings or primary schools. Little research has examined what impact these types of initiatives might have on older children attending secondary schools. Anecdotally, among this population, initiatives like forest school are used as intervention opportunities for young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities (SEND) who may benefit from time outside of the classroom. However, little is understood about Forest Schools in secondary education, or what impact these types of opportunities might have for learners with SEND.

This project could use qualitative and/or quantitative methods to understand children’s engagement with forest school, the barriers within educational settings, and the impacts on family life. It might take a multi-stakeholder approach to understand how and when nature-based initiatives like forest schools are adopted in secondary schools. It might also investigate what impact these initiatives might have on children and young people with SEND attending secondary schools in the UK.

Application Deadline 31 July 2023.

To know more about entry requirements, fees, funding, and how to apply, access the following link: