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Our Staff & Jobs at Hideaway Forest School

Hideaway Forest School Founder
Vicki Patton The Hideaway Forest School Bristol
Camp building at forest school
Vicki Paton

I am the founder of The Hideaway. I am originally from Fife in Scotland and moved to beautiful Bristol in 2002. I was a teacher in South Bristol for 15 years. Within this time I taught Year 2 children before becoming deputy head and specialising in early years education. I trained and achieved my level 3 Forest School leader qualification and began to see the benefits it brought to the children who regularly participated. Having been a teacher and having two children of my own I am all too aware of the pressure we put our young children under within the education system. I want my children and others to enjoy getting muddy, learn first hand about the seasons and above all learn about themselves and their capabilities in the beautiful outdoors.

I decided to form The original Henleaze Hideaway in 2017 whilst still looking after my youngest daughter, and it has been the best decision I have made for my well being and that of my family. Being outdoors everyday has many magical qualities.


I hope my children and the little explorers who visit The Hideaway create happy memories about being outdoors and with nature and in years to come will remember the time they talked with new friends around the fire.

I love my job because...
Me in hammock 2.jpg


I have been passionate about nature and the outdoors from an early age exploring the rock pools in Pembrokeshire where I grew up, and going on camping trips in all weathers with my family. I’m always looking to improve my knowledge and understanding of the natural world and have undertaken monitoring surveys of butterflies and reptiles for the Wildlife Trust.


I have a background in art and design, so I love making with tools and thinking up creative ways to combine my interests through nature based crafts.        


The best parts of Forest School for me are when the children are completely engrossed in an experience, fascinated by a bug, or having a chat with each other while eating a snack cooked on the campfire!

I am level 3 forest school trained 

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Helen has lived in Bristol for 20 years, after moving here for university. She lives with her husband and son. Helen holds a Master's Degree in the Psychology of Education and has worked in a secondary school for deaf children for the past 13 years, but the call of the forest was strong, and last year she completed her Early Years Educator Level 3 Diploma alongside her Forest School Level 3 training, and now joins The Hideaway as a Dedicated Practitioner.


Helen enjoys running, particularly with This Mum Runs, and spending time with friends and family.



Simon has worked in the field of outdoor education for several years and has taught water-sports, archery and Forest School programs. He is an OCN Level 3 Forest School Leader and holds the Advanced Bushcraft Award NCFE IIQ Level 3 giving him the skills to take full responsibility for setting up, running and evaluating woodland programmes.


As an outdoor instructor he has worked with a diverse range of groups from varied backgrounds, including mainstream education and excluded children.

Each group brings its own challenges and rewards and Simon believes everyone can benefit from the positive experiences to be had at Forest School.

Simon is never happier when out in the woods but does enjoy his creature comforts when at home!

Staff at The Hideaway Bristol


My love and interest of nature and the outdoors comes from a childhood growing up in Kenya, where I would spend hours in my garden den making, foraging and climbing trees.

I want to use my love and passion for nature to help encourage the younger generation to reconnect with nature; through play and exploring their natural surroundings, because to me there is nothing more magical then playing under trees in dappled sunlight and exploring the undergrowth for bugs!

I have just completed my level 3 forest school leader qualification and look forward to sharing all I have learned with the children.



Emma is well known at Henleaze Infant school for supporting the children as a teaching assistant within the classroom. Emma also enjoys working for The Hideaway After school Club and holiday clubs. She says being outside is as good for the staffs well-being as well as the children's. 

Emma loves to go for walks in nature with friends and loves developing her knowledge of flora and fauna alongside the children. 

Forest School Job Vacancies 

We are always actively looking for qualified level 3 Forest School practitioners to help extend the services we offer. If you already hold a level 3 Forest School qualification and have experience of working with young children, we would love to hear from you. We enjoy sharing our practise and learning from others so if you are in training or have an interest in Forest School and would like to volunteer at one of our settings then please do use our contact form to tell us a bit about you. We would love to welcome you into The Hideaway.


Current vacancies

Role: After school forest club assistant (Horfield and Henleaze, Bristol)

Required: Term time only, Monday - Wednesday: 3.15pm - 6pm. Commence Tuesday 5th September 2023

Details: Salary dependant on experience and age £10.00 - £11.50ph

Job description: To enable children to engage in a range of play opportunities outdoors in a natural environment and to participate in the day to day running of the scheme.

Desirable: Love of working outdoors and experience working with children aged 4 - 11years, can drive,

hold an enhanced DBS certification

Role: Forest school club manager 

Required: 32 hours a week spread across 4 days,

Term time: Monday – Thursday: 9am – 6pm (1hr lunch) Holiday club: 8.15 – 4.15pm

Holidays: 20 days & Bank Holiday’s – Holidays to be taken during Bristol school Christmas holidays, February half term and summer holidays.

Details: Salary dependant on experience FTE £24,960- Pro rata £19,968

Job description: To be responsible for the day to day organisation of young explorers, after school club and holiday club.  To develop and maintain a safe and stimulating play setting and to encourage child centred play. 

Essential: Forest school leader Level 3 and/or childcare level 3 qualification, hold current paediatric first aid certificate, hold an enhanced DBS certification, experience working with children aged 4 - 11years.

Desirable: Owns a vehicle and can drive to sites

Please email for full job description and application form 

Forest school assistant job description
and person specification
Forest school leader job description
and person specification
Forest school manager job description
and person specification

"I love being outdoors facilitating families to connect with nature, our sessions are filled with wonder, discovery and adventure." Vicki P.

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