Forest School training
Forest School practitioners must undertake training to deliver quality, child-led outdoor provision for Early Years, Primary school children and more.
This page offers tips for choosing a trainer - things to consider, what it's like to undertake Forest School training - and a list of training providers.
Things to consider to when choosing a FS trainer
In the UK there are many Forest School training providers, running training programmes under different awarding bodies – OCN, BTEC, NCFE to name a few. We recommend that you research potential training providers thoroughly.
If you do not know of anyone personally who has done Forest School Training, go onto some forums and ask about training providers: maybe ask about some of the things outlined below…
For many the training is the easy bit; completing the portfolio is more difficult – whether that be due to time constraints or, for some, lack of support from trainers, it can be a problem.
How will you be supported after training to complete your portfolio?
- Finding a local trainer with local students is good for this as you can get together now and then, and work on bits of the portfolio.
- There is a portfolio support Facebook page: Level 3 Forest School Portfolio Building and Essay Writing Support Group
- Ask if the trainer comes out to your site to carry out assessments.
Contact the training company and ask how many people pass their course as a percentage, and what support they offer to help with completion. What is the support in addition to contact time with the trainer?
Is the course local? Are the people attending local to you? This can be a great support when trying to complete your portfolio as you can meet up. Also, after the course is finished, you’ll have created a local support network as you develop your Forest School. How well tied-in is the course provider to local support networks?
What experience does the trainer running the course have of delivering Forest School to a variety of groups over a sustained period of time? How long ago did they last deliver a full programme to children?
How to create a Forest School Portfolio
"Anyone going for Level 3 Forest School training needs to submit a portfolio. The exact requirements for submission will depend on your awarding body, but the contents will be broadly the same.
Your portfolio is a collection of evidence that demonstrates you understand what’s been covered on your training. It’s your chance to showcase your skills and experience, and show that you can reflect on them to improve your practice."
Forest School Association: how to choose a trainer
"Forest School training can be a deeply reflective and transformative process, so it is worth identifying a trainer with whom you gel well. It is also important to acknowledge that the quality of the training you receive, the type of qualification you end up with, and the level of ongoing support that is available all vary hugely in the UK.
The following checklist includes a variety of questions that you may wish to ask about a potential trainer..."
Forest School Leader Training video
The BBC's One Show presenter Mike Dilger goes to the woods to talk to Forest School students about what they have learnt on the Leaders training course and how they will apply this with their groups. (6mins 46)
Becoming a Forest School trainer
There are a few different routes available to become a trainer and you will need to satisfy the requirements of the awarding body to set up independently or do a Level 4 qualification, which should also require that candidates have the correct experience and qualifications. (Be aware that different companies have different tie-ins once you have completed the Level 4 qualification).
Forest School training providers
The providers listed below are ones that Muddy Faces has an active relationship with, sharing resources and information. There are many more trainers available and we recommend you do your own research and checks as mentioned above.
Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Peterborough/Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire
London & South East
Surrey Wildlife Trust
Courses at the nature reserve in Guildford & Education Centres in Leatherhead and Godstone