Forest School training

Forest School training

Currently, FEI recognised Training/Qualifications include BTEC and Open College Network (OCN), or in Wales, Agored Cymru Forest School units. In Scotland, those supporting Forest School are seeking to have the Forest School qualification credit rated and recognised on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Forest School Association is seeking to establish the Forest School on the national qualifications framework.

Forest School Training levels

It is possible to train at different levels with Forest School. Whether you choose to train at Level 1, 2 or 3 will depend on your prior experience, time, resources, and whether you want to understand, assist or lead a Forest School programme.

Open College Network (OCN) Forest School Training is a formal recognised training route for adults wishing to set up or support a Forest School. All Forest School training providers have to deliver courses that meet the required OCN/ BTEC/ Agored Cymru Forest School syllabus and contact hours, although styles and method of training delivery and support may differ between providers.All courses require attendance of taught course time and setting aside time for self-study.The different levels of FS training within the OCN accreditation framework are:

  1. Introduction to Forest School OCN Level 1: This is an introduction to Forest School for practitioners wanting to support an existing Forest School or gain confidence and skills in working outdoors with children within their own setting (Approx. 1 contact day, 30 hourstaught/ self-study time total).
  2. Assistant Forest School Practitioner OCN Level 2: This award is for adults assisting a Forest School Leader on a regular basis. It involves submitting a portfolio of evidence based on a mix of theory and practice. This qualification takes at least 3 months to complete on a part-time basis. It is designed for people who want to work as assistants only, supporting an existing L3 qualified leader. (Approx. 6 contact days, 62 hours taught/ self-study time total).
  3. Forest School Practitioners Award OCN Level 3: This is the qualification to become a Forest School Leader and run a Forest School over a period of intensive training and assessment. Some providers can offer this over weekends. There are practical assignments and a portfolio to submit. This covers tasks such as safe tool use, lighting fires, den building and other skills. It also includes child development and how children learn. Part of the course involves identifying a suitable site, establishing and running 6 Forest School sessions. This includes creating a specific Forest School handbook for the site. It takes a minimum of 9 months to complete on a part-time basis. Level 3 training is available to teachers, support assistants, nurses, nursery nurses, etc., with relevant experience and is the minimum recognised level of training for Forest School leaders. Trainees will also require a paediatric first aid certificate with outdoor element. (Approx. 10 contact days, 182 hours taught/ self-study time total).

Why train as a Level 3 Forest School Leader?

  • There is uniformity of philosophy & approach to Forest Schools and Forest Kindergarten within the UK.
  • The courses are generally well run and feedback is often enthusiastic and positive.
  • Practitioners develop a broad set of skills including training in ‘higher risk’ activities such as tool use, fire lighting and cooking. Outdoor first aid is also required for completing the course.
  • Participants have to plan, deliver and evaluate a series of woodland sessions with children as part of the coursework. It is very hands-on.
  • A person who achieves Level 3 certification may organise and deliver training sessions at Levels 1 & Levels 2, if they have additional teaching or equivalent qualifications and are registered with the relevant awarding bodies to deliver accredited FS courses. Detailed advice on this is available from the GB Forest School Trainers Network [link to be added].

Please note however:

  • The Level 3 training is intensive and a significant time commitment. Some training providers offer a modular approach in their courses to allow progression across levels of training.
  • The training is aimed at working with children of all ages, which may not suit Early Years practitioners unless they attend a bespoke course. This group may prefer to explore Forest Kindergarten or other training models [link to be added].
  • The cost of training a person to Level 3 can be high especially if supply cover is required for class committed teachers, unless training is offered over weekend days. You need to have relevant experience of working with children to take the Level 3 training.

First Aid training for Forest School

Before you can lead Forest Schools, you need a first aid qualification. A Paediatric First Aid in Outdoor Settings course (16 hours) is suitable for anyone who may encounter a medical emergency in a non-traditional setting such as Forest School, where improvisational first aid skills are crucial to a successful outcome. Such a course should equip participants with skills and strategies to care for the infants, children and adults involved both in indoor and outdoor activities.

Those embarking on the Level Three Forest School Practitioner course will need to ensure that they have appropriate and adequate First Aid training.  This may be organised by your Forest School training provider. This training will need to be updated every three years and, as recommended by the HSE, refreshed on an annual basis.

The Paediatric First Aid in Outdoor Settings course should meet the recommendations of the HSE Health and Safety First Aid at Work Regulations for Appointed Persons in the Workplace. Also refer to your local Education authority guidance.

In Scotland, further guidance is also provided by Education Scotland in Planning Outdoor Learning.

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Forest School Facilitator in BARCELONA spain

Deadline: 15th September 2014 – Forest School Facilitator

Position being advertised (Job Title): Forest School Facilitator

Salary (per week, month, year OR negociable, not applicable): Based on experience

Location (where is this job based?): Barcelona, Spain

Job description: We are looking for a Forest and/or Beach School facilitator that would like to join a small group of families to continue a home-schooling project being run for the last 12 months by a Forest School Assistant.

We’re looking for an energetic facilitator who can balance the delivery of the national curriculum in a creative way and delivering the best outdoors experience for the children.

What you’ll be doing

•     support a small group of children between the ages of 7-11 with their social and emotional development

•     build team spirit and develop individual relationships with the children

•     enjoy collaborating and being part of a group of families who are open to an alternative form of education and who are currently home schooling

Person specification :

•      experience of working in an innovative way with primary school children drawing on your playfulness, energy, and imagination.

•     self-starter, able to work on their own initiative

•     a native English speaker

•     Level 3 Forest or Beach School Practitioner Qualification

•     a strong interest in learning through play and experiential education

•     good communicator with empathetic approach

Desirable Knowledge, Experience and skills

•     Understanding of the national curriculum

•     Understanding of the principles of Health and Safety

•     Outdoor pediatric first aid qualification

Any other information: Location and working hours

•     The group is based in Sitges, a beautiful coastal town 40 minutes south of Barcelona.

•     Session hours: Monday to Friday between 9am and 1pm.

•     There is an opportunity for the facilitator to do their own private work outside of these sessions.


•     This role is currently a freelance opportunity

•     Remuneration is based on experience

•     Before being appointed, the successful candidate will need to have a DBS check

Further Information

We have been a group of 4 families with 5 children since September 2013 working with Karen Boswell under her Project Owls Education. See her Facebook: Owls Education and webpage: It has been Karen that has brought us together this year. We have for various reasons found ourselves in search for a different model of education that neither the local public school or Private British schools offer here in the area; and Karen offered a great opportunity that we couldn´t deny our children (or ourselves).

In the past school year, our children have blossomed and we have become as parents more comfortable with our alternative vision of education. We are saddened that Karen is leaving us at the end of the summer term to continue her Forest School certification, however we support her decision. Now we look to continue this model of education which had forest education principles at its core of values, not as an add-on.

We look for a Forest School Leader that has experience with children and that is looking for an opportunity to set up and lead their own Forest School project in Sitges. The Leader has an opportunity to create their school name, as “Owls Education” belongs to Karen Boswell. We offer the Leader, the families and children, a location to setup your premises and any other support you may need.

We believe we can have 8 children to start in September 2014. Taking into consideration the cost of the premises we can offer you 1400€ in hand and the cost of social security as an “Autonomous” (Freelance). The premises will be of exclusive use to the Forest School Leader and can be used for extracurricular activities.

Explain how applicants should contact you / apply: applicant´s should apply by email with their curriculum and a brief explanation of their life experience.  We would like to know why you got interested in Forest Education and why you would like to join us – Marly Hawkes –

Closing date for applications :  15th September 2014

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*****LOOK HERE****** Article about changes to legislation for Forest Kindergartens in Czech Rep

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Nature Club at Kingfisher Pre School

Due to the participation in the SEIN project, through KC English, and the participation of staff from the Kingfisher Pre School in transnational mobilities; nature club Forest School sessions held for 2 hours twice a week for 3-4 yr olds have continued to develop and are extremely successful with staff, parents, volunteers and the children; more staff have now completed Forest School leader training and an increasing number of activities are taking place outside of the Pre School walls.

photo forest kingfishers

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Some articles that describe the activities for children and young people in the BAGATUR – The Bulgarian School for Surviving in the Nature – a place, where in the meeting in Bulgaria our partners had a possibilities to participate in different activities!

Bagatur-1 Bagatur-2

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SEIN HANDBOOK now available as Ebook; please click on the link

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News from our Czech partner

Výměna vzájemných zkušeností a shrnutí poznatků ze setkání v Maďarsku


ČR a Maďarsko jsou na tom obdobně ve vztahu k přírodě a snaze o zachování tradic. Dále vyplynulo, že Španělsko je na tom možná hůře, protože tu není snaha udělat něco navíc (např. Španělé žasli, že je tu ochota udělat něco navíc ve svém volném čase, u nich to tak nefunguje). Také poukazovali na fakt, proč se v jejich zemi např. postupně zrušila všechna pískoviště – před 20-ti lety si děti normálně mohly hrát na pískovištích a nikdo neumřel, teď již žádná pískoviště nemají, z důvodu hygieny je zrušili….. (obdivovali pískoviště v MŠ a to, že děti si hrály, kde chtěly). V Rakousku  se naopak snaží vrátit o krok zpět a ČR i Maďarsko ukazují jako příklad ve své zemi, kde se všichni snaží o absolutní čistotu, luxus, stále mít vše nové a drahé – není to správná cesta, velmi zatěžuje přírodu. Nejsou u nich již malí farmáři, ale vše je ve velkém, používá se hodně chemie atd.

Všichni „nadšenci“, se kterými jsme se setkali, mají snahu o zachování přírody pro další generace – nejlepší způsob je začít výchovou nejmladší generace, naučit děti tento životní styl.

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SEIN; Czech Rep

Burza nápadů SEIN_poster

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Forest School activities with local Pre School KC English UK

photo 1

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3rd Day meeting Spain SEIN

The third day we went to visit the urban Garden in Elche (Huerto de la Cuerna) where they explain the things that they do there with the community, university and the school, how they connect the urban area with the nature with this urban garden, after that we join a school group and we saw how the monitors teacher work with them, practical activities, how the kids are involve in all the process all the garden and the vegetables and how they learn by practicing.

After this visit we have a presentations about Good practice in Forest school or outdoor education in the partner countries and different aspects in forest school and the benefits.

In the afternoon to close the project we had the different evaluation with the participants, the diplomas and the final dinner together.


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