Forest School Training Frequently Asked Questions

What is Forest School?

Forest School has been defined as: ‘an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.’ Find out more about the principles of Forest School (pdf)

Who will be training me?

Our courses are lead by experienced staff who are active Forest School leaders and experienced trainers. We are passionate about the natural environment and the importance and value of group-based learning and development. Find out more about our Forest School training staff.

When does training take place and how much does it cost?

See our online training calendar for the latest course dates and fees.

Is assessment based on a written work, practical skills or observation?

You will be assessed both on the written work in your portfolio and through observation (skills-based and during a session with your group on-site).

Find more information about course content and assessement when you choose a course on the training calendar.

How will I be supported to complete the training?

We will provide you with lots of supporting information to complete your portfolio and we hope to have a sample folder for you to look at. We will also provide ongoing support in the future in terms of best practice and networking locally and nationally.

Where can I complete my Forest School practice sessions (part of the Level 3 qualification)? Can it be on the school grounds or a combination of locations? 

You can run your six Level 3 practice sessions on your site if it has trees in it and ideally in an area that the group does not use regularly. Alternatively you can use a number of different sites if that works better, this allows your group to experience different types of woodland.

Do the children in the Level 3 practice session group need to be the same each time?

You do need to work with the same group, ideally 10-15 children. The Level 3 training includes leading 6 sessions and completing a case study of the group over that time. A key principal of Forest School is that the same group should experience Forest School over a number of sessions (ideally more than 6) per term or even longer if practical.

See Forest School principles and criteria (pdf) for more information about the Forest School ethos.

What sorts of activities can I plan during the six Level 3 practice sessions?

Activities should be influenced by what the group is enjoying. We cover a range of tool, fire, shelter, sensory activities and games during the training. You should introduce activities as you feel it is appropriate for the group, considering when they are ready in terms of trust and safety.

Are there any entry requirements?

To complete the Level 3 course you need to:

  • Be 21 years old or over
  • Have experience or knowledge of Forest School
  • Have relevant experience related to leading the groups you work with or a minimum Level 2 child care or teaching qualification
  • Have access to a group that you can plan and run 6 Forest School sessions with
  • Have an up to date DBS (formerly CRB) check
  • Have a suitable outdoor First Aid Qualification – or be willing to get this before you start your 6 practice sessions.

How long does the training take?

Level 1 training:

  • 2 days of tuition in the woods
  • Self-study time in order to observe a Forest School session for a minimum of 2 hours and complete a short portfolio.

Level 3 training:

  • 8 days of tuition in the woods. This includes 2 assessments on the use of fires and tools and learning practical skills
  • 6 weekly practice sessions (and delivery of a case-study based on these sessions for your portfolio)
  • Self-study time to complete a written portfolio.

Find more information about course content when you choose a course on the training calendar.

What resources might I need to start Forest School sessions?

Most Forest School activities can be carried out with minimal kit but we provide guidance on what is essential. You will need a budget for this, probably about £100.

A significant other cost, but probably the best investment you can make, are waterproofs for your group. You need to know that the group will stay dry and happy in wet weather. Waterproofs also help keep the wind out and reduce wear and tear on clothes underneath.