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The Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Leaders


The qualification is the only recognised qualification you can do to deliver Forest School sessions according to the Forest School Association (FSA). The qualification we delivery is certified by the Open College Network West Midlands and now also with ITC First, with a total qualification time of 180 hours. The FSA state that this is amount of time necessary to endorse the qualification. Not all courses are endorsed by the FSA.


This qualification offers learners the chance to carry out practical skills in a woodland environment. Learners will increase their skills to support children and young people to develop emotional literacy and team work skills while working in an outdoor environment. On achievement of this qualification, learners will become a Forest School Leader, within which students will:  

•develop an understanding of the principles and ethos of Forest School

•gain skills and learning of life in the outdoors

•plan and lead groups in Forest School programmes and activities

•prepare learners for further study and employment in the outdoors

•gain continuing professional development in outdoor learning


The course is  a mixture of theory and practical skills that will be the basis of your practice when you are a Forest School Leader. Learners will cover a variety of units that cover areas such as:

•Delivery of a Forest School Programme

•Learning and Development in a Forest School Programme

•Planning and preparation of a Forest School Programme

•Forest School Programmes and the Woodland Environment

•Practical Skills for a Forest School Programme


Frequently asked questions

What is the entry requirement for the Level 3 course?

To be considered for Forest School Leaders Training you will first need:
to be aged 21 or over

  • to hold a Level 2 certificate in child care or youth work (or to have at least two years experience of working with children and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, playleader or nursery manager), or Qualified Teacher Status or Early Years Professional Status.

  • a current DBS certificate

Please note you do not need to have completed the level 1 or 2 Forest School course to do the level 3 course.


How long does the course take?

The course consists of 18 credits (180 hours Total Qualification Time) and equates to min of 75 hours of formal taught time (over a period 9 days) and requires on average a further 105 hours of self directed study time.   

You will also need to attend 100% of the planned training programme dates, create your own Forest School Handbook, run your own 6 session `Introduction to Forest School Pilot Programme`, and submit your coursework for marking and verification within 12 months of starting the programme.

What will I have to do other than the face to face training?

As part of the course learners will need to carry out background reading and research and complete a Forest School handbook which includes all aspects of the study programme. This includes all your policies and risk assessment. You will have time to practice the skills and write up your learning

The course also includes a Forest School project of at least six weeks which you will plan, deliver, and evaluate providing evidence of observation, reflection and assessment.  We will be availible to support you through the duration of the course and will visit you during one of your pilot sessions to offer supportive feedback.

Students also need to complete a two day outdoor (Paediatric) First Aid course which is usually facilitated as part of the course. It will need to be paid for in addition to the cost of the course and complies with the requirements of the Institute for Outdoor Learning Band 3 for Forest School Leaders.

Will the course be just focused on working with school children?

No we will be drawing on our array of experience of working outside with children, young people and families. We have worked with babies, toddlers, children all the way up. Children and young people with special education needs, disabled children and young people, young offenders, parents with a multitude of life experiences, young carers.

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

You will have to provide a portfolio of evidence to show that you understand what you have learned on the course and that you're putting it into practice. Usually this is in the form of essay-style writing but we encourage learners to use as many innovative methods, such as videos and physical creations, if that makes it more interesting for you (and us!.) We also have a workbook for you to use if you would like to follow a structure.

A trainer will come along to a Forest School session that you run so that we can see you in Forest School practice. That's how we know you've really got it and we can always offer advice and guidance once we've seen you in the field (or woods!) We usually do this at the end of your face-to-face training. As learners we found this one of the most valuable parts of the course.

We have calculated that this amounts to about 3 hours per week for 6 months to complete all of the above. Please be mindful of this before commiting to the course.

Do you support learners outside of the face-to-face training?


Between training days we are available for tutorial support and also offer zoom meet ups. We will also supplement your learning by offering free online resources, links to best practice, current research and inspiring ideas all of which will help you to complete your portfolio. There may opportunities to see our work in practice, and a network of other Forest School staff to connect with.


We are enthusiastic about the Forest School ethos and sees it as a positive antidote to modern life. We have a clear vision having witnessed the benefits of Forest School across so many varied areas, hoping that this will lead to a more sustainable future, and a more cared for natural environment. We look forward to sharing our experiences, knowledge and skills with you.


How do I submit my portfolio?

You will submit your portfolio within 12/18 months of starting the programme. We usually ask for it in month 9 and will ask you to submit it via google drive, which is a safe and environmentally effective way to send written work. If you use other means of evidencing your work, we will agree the best way to submit it.                                                 


The cost of the course

The course costs £895 for 9 days of training and support over the year. We will facilitate the 2 days a two day outdoor (Paediatric) First Aid course but this needs to be paid for in addition to the course

Courses are delivered by Wild about our woods do not charge VAT.

What are the next dates of the course

The course takes place in a Woodland based venue in Haringey, Herfordshire and Barnet woodlands

the course starts on Monday April 29th 2024.


Full dates are:

Monday 29th, Tueday 30th April & Wednesday 1st May, then
Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th May


The 3 days ‘practical assessment’ dates will be on Monday 8th  & Tuesday 9th July. then Monday 15th July

There is a final, day 9 that takes place in September 2024 (date TBC)

How do I find out more or sign up?

Please get in touch with us for more information via or to apply for the next course follow the link  here

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