Nell Seal is a Secondary Geography trained teacher who has worked in Primary environmental and outdoor learning for 20 years in both the charitable and the public sector. Nell is now a freelance consultant specialising in facilitating CPD training in the areas of learning for sustainability, outdoor learning and primary Geography. Nell is also a Forest School Practitioner and undertakes consultancy work focused upon quality assurance systems for the Forest School Association.
Nell graduated in 1998 with an Ecology degree from the University of East Anglia (UEA), packed all of her belongings into her mini (and her bike onto the roof) and headed to Flatford Mill deep in Constable Country on the Suffolk/Essex border to become a centre assistant at a residential field study centre. Nell’s career with the Field Studies Council saw her move into a Graduate Assistant Tutor role where she undertook an NVQ in Outdoor Education and the seed was set! Nell became their Ecology Tutor not long after and enjoyed teaching Primary and A level groups.
A Masters degree back at UEA in Applied Ecology and Conservation gave Nell the chance to develop her interest in the conflict between healthy ecological systems and human needs (and wants). Upon graduating Nell worked in the charitable sector again, this time for EnCams working with Local Authorities on Local Environmental Quality. After a couple of years Nell realised she missed working with children so took a new role coordinating a four year Learning for Sustainability Project for a field study centre in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads: How Hill.
It was at How Hill, and via partnership working, that Nell met Susan Falch-Lovesey whose dynamism and dedication continue to be an inspiration. Sue enabled Nell to obtain a PGCE with the Open University alongside her work. In 2007 Nell’s dream job became vacant and she was lucky enough to be appointed to oversee Wells Field Study Centre on the North Norfolk Coast in a role that combined management with contact time with children. Nell spent three of the happiest years of her life playing on the salt marshes and beach with Key Stage 2 children from Norfolk and further embedding sustainability into the ethos of the centre.
Nell’s next challenge was to become Adviser for Sustainable Schools for Norfolk County Council with a cross-phase responsibility across all Norfolk schools. It was during that three year period as an Advisory Teacher that saw Nell experience bereavement, marriage, a house move, motherhood and her husband’s relocation for work. That heady mix forced a re-evaluation and Nell now enjoys balance, both working freelance under the banner of Salix Education and having outdoor adventures with her daughter.
Nell worked with fellow cool and groovy person Louise Ambrose to write ‘Step Outside’ and ‘Beside the Sea’. She has also written articles for Primary Geography Magazine and facilitated sessions at the annual Geographical Association Conference. Thanks to friendly mentoring by Primary Geography Goddess Dr Paula Owens, Nell is also a consultant to the Geographical Association, a Primary Geography Quality Mark Moderator and is proud to be a Primary Geography Champion.
Thanks to a long friendship with aforementioned wise woman Louise Ambrose, and a weakness for saying yes to crazy stuff, Nell fell into the warm embrace of the Forest School Association several years ago and is now a Forest School Practitioner. Nell undertakes regular consultancy work for the Forest School Association, managing day-to-day the Recognised Provider and Endorsed Trainer schemes on their behalf.
Nell migrated from Norfolk to as far from the sea as you can get and now lives in Clophill, Bedfordshire with her husband Terry and daughter Primrose who gets to learn by stealth outdoors every day of the year. Nell likes running cross-country slowly and learning (slowly) from her 80 year old allotment neighbour Eric.