Tool bank to raise interest in outdoor education

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6 MARCH 2013NEWS RELEASE No: 15871

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Teachers from all over Newport visited a bank with a difference recently when they tried their hand at a range of tools for use in the outdoors.

The teachers and other educators who are involved in the Newport Forest Education Initiative (FEI) group launched their Tool Bank project which aims to help Forest School leaders deliver exciting sessions using a wide variety of implements.

Schools from across Newport joined forces for the project, which was made possible by Monmouthshire Building Society charitable foundation and the FEI partnership fund, and supported by the Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning team.

Educators gathered at Glan Usk Primary School to try out some of the equipment, which can be borrowed by any member of the group who is Forest School trained for sessions with their students.

Among the items held in the tool banks are potato peelers, bow saws and secateurs, as well as fire woks for cooking, tarpaulins and much more.

“Children from Glan Usk school demonstrated how to create a musical instrument called a guiro using bow saws and rasps and also set up a small fire before showing how to peel a hazel stick and toast marshmallows over the fire safely,” said Cathy Velmans, of the Woodlands for Learning team.

Martin Cook from Cardiff Metropolitan University was on hand to show the teachers how to sharpen and maintain the tools, and the group Out to Learn Willow demonstrated how to create small willow hearts.

The Newport FEI cluster group has around 35 members who worked together to produce three sets of tool banks, which are held at Glan Usk Primary School, Ringland Primary School and Ysgol Ifor Hael. 

As part of the project, bilingual tool cards highlighting the correct use and health and safety points were produced, with bilingual learning activity cards to provide teachers with some ideas on how to use the tools.

These resources are available from the FEI website at:

Caption: Teachers try their hand at willow weaving during the tool bank launch.


A total of 14.3% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

The Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

For more information contact Cathy Velmans on 02920 886 842, email