Cardiff Metropolitan University
The perception, management and performance of risk amongst Forest School educators.pdf (241.07 kB)

The perception, management and performance of risk amongst Forest School educators

Download (241.07 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-28, 15:06 authored by Mark Connolly, Chantelle Haughton
This article investigates how risk perception amongst teachers within an outdoor educational initiative, Forest School, both shape and are shaped by their understandings of childhood, pedagogy and their own professional identity. Drawing on a social constructionist perspective in theorising risk and childhood, the article argues that contemporary, hyper-sensitised concerns regarding children’s vulnerability emanate from both fears of the modern world, and the proclivity towards over-protection which these fears precipitate. Rather than treating this hyper-sensitivity as irrational or paranoid, the paper draws on socio-cultural theories and qualitative methods to interrogate how risk is perceived, managed and performed by teachers within an initiative which aims to reintroduce risk into children’s lives. The research found that while these teachers’ motivations to participate in Forest School were derived from a desire to expose children to formative risk-taking in the outdoors, the hegemonic cultural and institutional risk aversion which they were attempting to counter, aligned with their contested occupational identity, created tensions in how they managed and performed risk which militated against the full realisation of a Forest School pedagogy.


Published in

British Journal of Sociology of Education


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Connolly, M. and Haughton, C. (2015) 'The perception, management and performance of risk amongst Forest School educators', British Journal of Sociology of Education 38 (2) , pp. 105-124

Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

Cardiff Met Authors

Chantelle Haughton

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en

Usage metrics

    Education - Journal Articles


    Ref. manager