Level 3 Forest School Leader:

To lead Forest School sessions

·         10 days of tutor time

·         One day mentoring/observation visit to your setting during your pilot sessions

·         16 hour Outdoor specific First Aid training

·         Home study

 A total of 180 hours of study – equivalent to an A level.

Who is it for?

The Level 3 qualification is designed for practitioners who have experience working with children/young people or adult groups and who wish to plan, coordinate and deliver Forest School programmes. People come from a range of backgrounds into Forest School; environmental, scouting, teaching, rangers, early year’s practitioners, ecologists, child minders, artists etc.

The coursework will take at least 12 -18 months to complete. The Level 3 qualification is equivalent to an A-Level and you should be prepared for a very full and intense experience.

Approximately one-third of the course consists of contact time with other students and the Tutors. The remaining hours are for students to undertake self-directed and independent study.

Entry requirements:

To be at least 19 - Whilst you need to be 21 to practice as a Forest School leader, as the training takes around 2 years to complete you can begin your training when you are 19.

To have at least 2 years’ experience working with groups in a leadership capacity and /or a recognised qualification at Level 2 at least in teaching, childcare, play work, youth work or support work.

Before you run your programme you will need:

Access to site with permission to run Forest School at the location

Outdoor First Aid training (16 hour)

Safeguarding checks: DBS

Access to a group of children, young people or adults to work with.

If you have little experience of Forest School then we highly recommend volunteering at a local Forest School setting - either at a school, nursery or local Outdoor Forest School setting.  Also we advise beginning the process of looking for a placement to run your 6 pilot sessions.  If you attend the Spring training with GLT for example, then you should be aiming to run your pilot sessions in the Autumn term.

Breakdown of training programme:

AIM Formally Open College Network West Midlands Level 3 Certificate carries 18 credits at Level 3 delivered over 12-18 months. Level 3 is equivalent to an A level, 18 credits is 180 hours of learning time. Approximately 96 hours are guided learning hours and the rest is self-directed learning.

The course content covers 5 units:

Unit 1: Learning and development at a Forest School programme

Essays will be required on child development, learning and behaviour as well as the Forest School ethos

Unit 2: Practical Skills for a Forest School programme

A whole range of practical sessions on fire, tools, rope and woodland ecology

Unit 3: Forest School programme and the Woodland Environment

Includes producing a 3 year management plan and an Environmental impact assessment plan

Unit 4: Planning and preparation for a Forest School programme - Create a Forest School handbook

Once all of the above elements are complete, you will then plan a Forest School programme and deliver 6 pilot sessions which will have to be documented in detail, with your group of children at your chosen site.

A member of Green Light Trust's Tutor team will attend one of these 6 sessions to assess your practice and delivery.

Unit 5: Forest School delivery case study - Final piece of work

On successful completion of the coursework, students should receive certification and be qualified as a Forest School Practitioner within 12-18 months of starting the course. All our courses are accredited by the Open College Network West Midlands and Green Light Trust is an Open College Network Recognised Centre.

Your hand in dates for each workbook will be staggered across the year.

Course delivery process:

 There are two different ways you can attend the training:

10 days over 4 weekends: 2 x 3 day and 2 x 2 day (only our Spring course at the Foundry is across weekends)

One week intensive, plus a further 5 days over 2 weekends: 1 x 3 day and 1 x 2 day, or a further intensive 5 day week.

Your training journey at Green Light Trust:

From the moment our students arrive we are modelling the Forest School ethos, and possibly one of the most important elements of Forest School; How to hold a space, create a sense of belonging and community, making people feel safe, welcomed and comfortable.

Over your training you will be spending some time indoors and lots of time outdoors - there will be a balance of both. We will be having small group and whole group discussions on topics such as play, holistic development, learning theories etc. Outside we will be building dens, playing games, learning lots of practical skills, fire, cooking, ropes, swinging etc. You will experience what Forest School looks like, what it feels like and be held in a space where everyone is offered unconditional positive regard. Each person will be celebrated for their uniqueness in an atmosphere of community, kindness and respect.

Assessment methods:

You will either gain a pass for your assignment, or be asked to submit additional work in order to pass.

You will be assessed during your training on your practical skills, such as tool use and fire lighting.

Student support:

Contact with tutors: Contact can be made at any point by email via Lindsay in the office - [email protected]

FAQ’s page on the website.

Student only login pages on the website for access to coursework, handouts, links etc.

Venues and facilities:

The Foundry is a beautiful ecologically built building, warm and welcoming. This is our base during training. Tea making facilities and snacks available throughout the day.

Golden Woods was planted with love by volunteers and is an inspiring place just outside The Foundry. We will be spending time there during training.

Frithy-wood is our ‘working’ coppiced hazel, ancient SSSI woodland where groups are led every day of the week on different Green Light Trust programmes. It is a beautiful place, with badger sets, rare butterflies and flowers and is truly magical. It is a 10 minute minibus drive from The Foundry, and we will spend a lot of time there too during the training.

How to prepare:

Acquire an understanding of the Forest School ethos. You could visit an existing Forest School setting in your locality and/or check out the Forest School Association website:


 Acquire appropriate clothing and footwear

 Check out our recommended pre-course reading list which you will receive with your joining pack.

Application process:

Book Online .

You can purchase a Full Price ticket at the checkout or a DEPOSIT ticket for £100 to secure your place and we will invoice you for the balance separately.

Check out our Book a course page for full list of events and how to book

Some feedback from our students:

 “Thankyou. It’s been a ‘once in a lifetime’ kind of course. We will all look back at this time with fond memories

Inspiring, relaxed, accessible, supportive, non- judgemental

It’s been amazing. I have loved taking time to be still and wonder at the world – so the more the better

Fabulous, inspiring, hilarious, knowledgeable. Mell and Eloise – the best course ever!

Community feel straight away, welcoming/acceptance all the time

I have loved the sense of community you have helped us to build in such a short time

A fantastic setting and wonderful place to begin our Forest School journey

Couldn’t have asked for two kinder, warmer, accepting ladies to deliver the course

Such a magical experience - loved it all

Just had an amazing time, so much laughter and learning

Absolutely fabulous, don’t change a thing!