Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership

Ofqual Code 601/1727/8
Qualification Level 3
Guided Learning Hours 96
Enrolment will be valid for 2 years
Credits 18
Study mode Online theory, plus gathering of own practical evidence in a forest school setting
Start Date Anytime
Entry Criteria This qualification is suitable for learners aged 19+. Please note, the minimum age for Forest School leaders is 21. This is a Forest School Association and Department for Education requirement.
Assessment Method Assessment will take the form of a range of in-depth theory assessments for each individual unit. Students must provide sufficient evidence that they have the required knowledge, skills and understanding of the assessment criteria.
Award type Certificate

Course fees £750

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Course Description

This Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership is an Ofqual regulated qualification studied online from home with full tutor support. This Forest School qualification has been designed to equip individuals, teachers, and youth workers with the necessary skills to run a Forest School Programme within a school, playgroup, nursery, youth group or similar.

The qualification is designed to qualify the trainee to become a Forest School Leader. Upon successful completion, you will be able to set up and run a Forest School programme, facilitate groups in a learner-centred way and manage a Forest School site sustainably.

This Level 3 Certificate focuses on Forest School skills with learner engagement and equips learners with the relevant knowledge to deliver, plan and implement a modern Forest school programme to a range of students and adapt to their individual learning needs.

Students will learn the necessary theory on five core topics which include:

  • Forest School Programmes and the Woodland Environment
  • Delivery of a Forest School Programme
  • Learning and Development at a Forest School Programme
  • Planning a Forest School Programme
  • Practical Skills for a Forest School Programme
Unit # 1

Forest School Programmes and the Woodland Environment

This unit will teach learners about the structures of woodlands, the identification of a range of flora and fauna, and the importance of identification for the Forest School Programme Leader.
Learners will also study the importance of sustainable woodland techniques and how to involve students in woodland management.

Unit # 2

Delivery of a Forest School Programme

This unit covers how to deliver, assess, and evaluate a Forest School Programme.
Learners will be tasked to lead a Forest school session, observe, and assess the impact of a group of student’s behaviours. Learners will be tasked to demonstrate flexible teaching methods to adapt to students’ individuals learning needs.

Unit # 3

Learning and Development at a Forest School Programme

Learners will discover the relevant theories of learning and development and the importance of a Forrest School Programme. This unit will explore how leaders of a Forest School Programme can support student’s holistic development, and how the educator can reflect on the student’s behaviour and training experience.

Unit # 4

Planning a Forest School Programme

This unit covers the principles of planning and development of a Forest School including the history, ethos, ecological impact and relevancy of policies and procedures. Learners are then required to plan six Forest School programme sessions with a communication strategy and evidence of adaptation to individuals and groups developmental needs.

Unit # 5

Practical Skills for a Forest School Programme

In this unit, learners will be required to facilitate a range of woodland skills appropriate to a Forest School programme. Learners will understand how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) tools and equipment, knots, woodland materials and how to build temporary outdoor woodland shelters. Learners will discover how to facilitate, manage, and cook on a campfire suitable for a Forest School programme.

What is Forest School?

The concept for Forest School began in Scandinavia, where appreciation for the great outdoors is a way of life. Forest School UK launched in 1996 and has been growing in popularity since then.

According to the Forest School Association (the professional UK body for Forest School), “Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk-taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.” FSA UK.

Forest Schools take place outdoors, usually in a wooded environment, and they promote more than simply gathering knowledge and developing intellectually, they also help students to develop:

  • Socially
  • Emotionally
  • Physically
  • Creatively
  • An appreciation for the natural environment
  • Self-belief
  • Resilience
  • Problem-solving abilities

At its heart, Forest School creates a non-judgemental and nurturing environment, this enables learners to learn safely through risk-taking. The aim of Forest School is to support learners to become healthy, independent learners.

Each Local authority has a forest school coordinator who will be able to tell you which schools in the area provide forest school facilities.

Forest School Activities

The ethos of Forest School education includes being learner-led, with the learner guiding the programme of activities. Some learners may spend the majority of their time looking for insects and finding out more about insect identification, whilst others may focus their time and energy on shelter building out of natural materials instead.

It is up to the Forest School leaders to identify the interests of their particular group and support the students learning. Typical Forest School activities can include:

  • Shelter building and knot tying
  • Exploring the natural environment
  • Insect and wildlife detecting and identification
  • Fire lighting and camp cooking
  • Arts & Crafts using natural material
  • Bush-craft
  • Imaginative game playing

Enquire about this Course

Globally, we are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of our natural environment and of looking for ways that we can encourage the next generation to appreciate the outdoors and protect our ecosystem. Alongside this, there is also an increasing awareness of the importance of supporting our health and wellbeing and encouraging creative problem solving, ideally from a young age.

The development and uptake of Forest Schools is increasing. More and more people have become interested in, and are seeing the benefit of, this learning style.


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