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AIBU to want to pop my friend's bubble?

(32 Posts)
RealityBump Thu 03-Apr-14 20:11:18

Or WIBU not to? Genuine dilemma. A friend of mine has suddenly jacked in her job in insurance (worked for the same company for 15 years) and has decided to set up a children's forest school. She went to a forest school birthday party (one of her DC's friends) a while ago and came back thinking "I can do that." Great to feel inspired, but she has no training nor intends to get any, is not CRB checked, has no public liability insurance, no previous experience with children other than her own, no business plan, nothing. She just intends to go for it. I dont know what is the right thing for me to say or do. As a good friend I want to support her, but I really think she needs to look into this more realistically and get some training etc. I really dont want to be the one that pops the dream, but nor do I want to support her in being unrealistic. What do I do?

OriginofSymmetry Thu 03-Apr-14 20:13:09

Can you not just ask her, quite casually, what her business plan is?

cakeymccakington Thu 03-Apr-14 20:14:56

i probably wouldn't do anything really. maybe ask her what setting up a forest school involves?
how do you know she hasn't thought it through and isn't getting started on all the things she needs to do?

MonstrousPippin Thu 03-Apr-14 20:15:22

Why not offer to help by saying, "It's great that you want to go for it. Right, these are the first things you need to get sorted"

There must be a positive way you can approach it.

RealityBump Thu 03-Apr-14 20:15:34

She would scoff at the idea of needing a business plan!

blanchedeveraux Thu 03-Apr-14 20:15:37

She'll find out soon enough when she doesn't get any business, specifically due to no CRB check or insurance she's screwed.

That said, if she follows it through and rectifies all the lacking points, it's a growth market. Outdoor Learning is HUGE at the moment and Forest Schools and "Grounds for Learning" are "the new black" round our way.

RealityBump Thu 03-Apr-14 20:18:14

cakey we have chatted at length, I really do know she sees no need for crb or insurance etc. I do try to advise but she tends to know best! I mean that in the nicest possible way..I love her to bits, but she can be headstrong!

RealityBump Thu 03-Apr-14 20:19:20

I think you are right blanche. It could so work if she was a bit more rigorous in her approach!

OriginofSymmetry Thu 03-Apr-14 20:20:50

She's going to fail then. It's a simple as that. Would she learn from it when it happens?

RealityBump Thu 03-Apr-14 20:22:42

She would learn origin, but Im worried she might have run out of money by then. Gah! What to say! I dont want to be the baddy that scuppers the plans!

OriginofSymmetry Thu 03-Apr-14 20:24:23

I think you're just going to have to step back tbh.

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 03-Apr-14 20:24:50

She may see no need for insurance of DBS checks, but nobody will actually let their kids step on site without them.

Interestingly; although we don't call it Forest Schools, that is exactly what myself and my business partner do. It took us 2 years just to find the right place to host the activities; another year to make it safe for people to access, 5 years of contacts to get the business in, 10 years each in specialist knowledge and 5 in teaching...before we even had one session on site.

I take it she has a forest of her own to start off with?

blanchedeveraux Thu 03-Apr-14 20:25:38

Ask her how she'd cope with a child sustaining a serious injury in her charge. If she has no liability insurance she can say goodbye to her house, any actions resulting in a death could mean corporate homicide or whatever the English equivalent is.

cakeymccakington Thu 03-Apr-14 20:25:41

in that case i'd let her get on with it!

i don't think she'll get very far tbh. aside from anything else she will need land to use, and no landowner is likely to allow her to go ahead with anything unless she can show she has a proper business

thebody Thu 03-Apr-14 20:28:26

just be there to help pick up the pieces.

makes me a bit cross working in child care and early years when people think the rules don't apply to them.

like the unregistered cm I used to see at school while I was paying tax, keeping to the rules and trying to run a successful business.

she sounds daft/high maintenance.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 03-Apr-14 20:28:44

There is a fab Forest School near to me, ds had his birthday party there & he Goes to holiday clubs there. I'm a big fan

I also run children's drama classes myself

The reason ds started going us they ran an after school activities thing at his school. Ds school wouldn't have touched them without DBS checks, training , h& s policies etc

It is a legal requirement to have insurance & it's classed as a risky activity.

They are also successful because schools run day trips there. Any school running a day trip anywhere has to have a mountain of paperwork & risk assessments in place.

Forgettable Thu 03-Apr-14 20:31:23

What age bracket would she be looking at?

All you can do really is point her at some info (maybe there is an Association of Forest Schools body or summat?) and leave her to it.

nancy75 Thu 03-Apr-14 20:31:42

Interesting that you are all saying nobody would come if she doesn't have CRB or insurance.

I work for kids sports coaching company (after school & holiday type thing) in 4 years I have never once had a parent ask about insurance or CRB (we do have them!)

Op you need to get across how important the insurance is; that is the main issue. She will probably be told by the insurance that she needs a DBS/CRB and various health & safety before the insurance will touch her

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 03-Apr-14 20:35:19

After schools is the parent's concern - Forest Schools is normally done by the schools contracting you to run sessions in school time. They won't consider taking students somewhere without DBS or insurance.

blanchedeveraux Thu 03-Apr-14 20:37:12

Most Forest Schools business will come from schools, not parents as an extra curricular, so the need for visible CRB and liability insurance is mandatory, otherwise they wouldn't be able to complete a risk assessment and they wouldn't use the service you were providing.

RealityBump Thu 03-Apr-14 21:00:13

Thanks for the input. Having thought it through she won't listen to me anyway so I guess I do just need to let her get on with it. I will try to drop in a relevant question or two, but I guess she learns by doing!

MsAspreyDiamonds Thu 03-Apr-14 21:03:54

I just googled "how to run a forest school! & a whole load of links to training courses & regulations came up. Your friend is in for a rude awakening & I'm surprised at her attitude with regards to crb & insurance considering her background.

Nomama Thu 03-Apr-14 21:09:05

nancy - you may not have been asked but I bet school and other parents have been, your website (if you have one) will have been closely scrutinised, local council questioned.

I used to run similar activity classes and I was never asked. But the company that owned the facilities I hired were asked, regularly.

nancy75 Thu 03-Apr-14 21:27:22

Nomama, obviously schools and organisations we work with require certs for everything, but parents never ask (parents book in with us not through a school, groups are run on our site and are mostly not connected to a school)
we are a small company if anyone was asking about a DBS or anything else it would be me getting the questions, people just presume you have this stuff. BTW i'm not suggesting that the ops friend should go ahead with her plan, just pointing out that parents don't question this stuff as much as you would expect.

If ops friend set up a good enough website i would be willing to bet she would get bookings for birthday parties and not get asked about H&S, DBS or insurance

Nomama Thu 03-Apr-14 21:28:46

That's scary, nancy. I've been in schools for too long, obviously smile

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