Level 3 Leadership Training

Why do I need to train to become a Forest School Leader?

The Level 3 qualification you need to become fully qualified provides you with a broad-range of topics that come together to create top-quality Forest School Leaders. Becoming qualified means that you have obtained a professional standard.
Topics such as health and safety, risk assessment, tools use and campfire cooking sit comfortably alongside holistic learning and development, learning theories, play and woodland species identification to give you as a leader, a broad knowledge base.

What will I need to consider before I go on a training course?

  • You will need enthusiasm. Bags of this will go a long way! You do not need any specialist knowledge or previous skills to access this course. Your Forest School Adventure may start with your learning on a training course, but the learning will not end when you have your certificate…
  • Your school/setting/organisation will need to be behind you, as they will need to help you with organising and running your first project (which will happen during your training).
  • You will need to identify a site you can use and a group to work with (children of any age, young adults, adults).
  • This course has entry level requirements for existing qualifications; You will need a Level 2 Qualification in Education, Youth Work, Child care etc.
    OR Level 2 Qualification in Forest School, Countryside, Woodland Management etc. AND at least two years experience with client groups.
  • You ought to be 21 or over.
  • The qualification takes at least 8 months to complete (most people need a year) and in addition to the training days you will produce a portfolio of evidence. You’re going to need to have some time you can dedicate to getting your work completed.
  • You should hold a current First Aid Qualification which should ideally include some elements of dealing with outdoor situations and paediatrics (if this is your client group) This is strongly recommended. Please check with your managers and insurance company as to what they recommend.
  • You will need a current DBS check which is satisfactory with your employer/organisation. You will need to evidence confirmation of this in your portfolio when you hand it in for marking.


What does the training involve?

The Level 3 Certificate in Leading Forest School qualification requires you to spend 8.5 days training with us – this is usually broken down into blocks over a few weeks.
The training days are a healthy mix of indoor and outdoor sessions building your confidence and skills. We aim to guide you gently through the qualification and make the time to discuss your personal requirements and situation. We want you to be a fantastic Forest School Leader.
After the course dates, you will have 8 months to complete a portfolio of work, including setting-up and running your first Forest School programme (minimum of 6 sessions, ideally more). During one of your sessions, we will visit you in your work place and run an observation assessment.

Finally, your half day at the end of the course dates offers you the chance to re-connect with the Forest School ethos after your experiences in leading a Forest School programme. Also, it serves as a practical skills refresher and a great opportunity to renew connections to your course peers and meet other Forest School professionals.

The Level 3 Certificate of Leading Forest School qualification consists of five units of study:

    1. 1. Supporting Learning, Play and Development in the Outdoors; Covering the understanding of learning, play and development in the outdoors. Holistic learning, play, self esteem and emotional intelligence.
      2. Forest School Leader; Looking at the details involved with leadership of Forest School programmes linked to child development, including health and safety, risk assessment, programme planning and session delivery.
      3. Observation and Evaluation of Outdoor Learning; Enabling the group leader to use assessment and evaluation techniques linked to child development.
      4. Sustainable use of Natural Resources; Looking at understanding ecology and use of sustainable use of natural resources for learning. Identification of local species, simple site management, sustainability of natural resources and spaces.
      5. Teaching Outdoor Practical Skills; To enable the group leader to teach safe practical skills and campfire management. Teaching the safe use of small hand tools, using a campfire to cook on, using knots, building shelters.

Our Forest School accredited courses are accredited through the awarding body, Agored Cymru. These courses are approved by the Institute for Outdoor Learning.

How does the assessment work?

First of all, we assess you on an on-going basis during your course training days. Usually the last two days of your course are a practical skills assessment. During this time, we will be specifically looking at assessing your abilities to safely and effectively teach outdoor practical skills. Due to the fact this everything contained in your Teaching Outdoor Practical Skills unit as a result, we aim to have this unit of study completed with you during these days.
When you run your Forest School sessions in your work place, an assessor will visit one session to assess you whilst you are leading. After your session you will receive feedback from your visiting tutor. This is a great opportunity to get specific feedback on your session and programme also, your site, setting, logistics and anything else.
Your portfolio is marked when it is handed in. NOCN (National Open College Network) operate a pass/fail system so we cannot grade you. If there is work in your portfolio which needs re-doing to pass, you have the opportunity to re-do your work and for it to be re-marked, until it is completed. We then have a system of Internal and External Verification to ensure our marking is of a consistent standard and quality.

How much does it cost?

Forest School Leader Level 3 Training costs between £800 and £850 per person, (dependant on geography). This covers all training days, observation assessment, portfolio marking and certification. This also covers phone and e-mail support.
If you live a long way from our training base in South Northamptonshire, let us know when you book, as there may be a small additional charge to cover travel costs.

If you are in a position to book a whole course, we are happy to talk to you about this. Please contact us to discuss the details.