Forest School Leader Training (Level 3)

We offer three types of training schedules:

  • A block of consecutive days
  • A one-day-per-week schedule
  • A bespoke schedule, based around your needs (for groups of 8 or more)

Upcoming Training Dates

Course starting on 16.10.2020
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Course starting on 01.02.2021
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Course starting on 23.04.2021
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Course starting on 21.06.2021
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Course starting on 20.08.2021
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Course starting on 18.10.2021
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Course Overview 

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Remember that you will also need a valid Outdoor First Aid training certificate to become a Level 3 FS Leader. The Hive doesn't provide Outdoor First Aid training but we can recommend providers.


Our OCNWM accredited course consists of 5 units:

Unit 1 - Forest School programme: delivery
Unit 2 - Forest School programme: learning and development
Unit 3 - Forest School programme: planning and preparation
Unit 4 - Forest School programme: practical skills
Unit 5 - Forest School programme: the woodland environment

Course content for each unit is listed below.


This unit follows on from the previous one and applies the theory to practice. It involves the practitioner leading their own Forest School programme and is a culmination of all prior work.

Topics covered include:

  • Delivering and evaluating a minimum of 6 Forest School sessions
  • Showing how observations have informed future plans and taken account of learners needs and interests
  • Observing individual learners over time and evaluating impact


The philosophy of Forest School is rooted in learning theories, psychology and neural development. Its ethos is formed through a combination of the natural physical environment and a safe, open and trusting community created by the supporting adults. This unit covers some of the theoretical components that underpin the Forest School ethos.

Topics covered include:

  • Understanding the Forest School approach to learning: considering its benefits to participants and the role of the leader in facilitating this ethos
  • Learning theories: considering relevant learning theories and how they support the Forest School philosophy
  • The importance of holistic development and how it can be promoted at Forest School
  • The role and benefits of play at Forest School
  • The role and benefits of risk taking at Forest School
  • Self esteem and emotional intelligence: how these can be developed at Forest School and considering the role of the leader in this
  • Understanding factors which effect behaviour: considering neural development, self esteem and emotional development


This unit draws together the skills and understanding of the previous 3 units and combines them to consider how Forest School programmes are planned.

Topics covered include:

  • Forest School history and research – considering Forest School in the UK and locally and reviewing current research about it
  • Creating a Forest School handbook – containing all relevant policies and procedures required for the operating of the Forest School
  • Creating a communication strategy – to share aims and inform stakeholders
  • Monitoring & managing Ecological Impact – consider methods to observe the ongoing impact that Forest School has on the natural environment and how we can minimise our effects through proper management
  • Plan an initial programme of 6 Forest School sessions – based on learners needs and interests


This unit focuses on the safe application of outdoor learning skills. It also covers safe processes for using natural materials for crafts and building within a Forest School context.

Topics covered include:

  • Tool use at Forest School: personal skills, tool procedures, storage and maintenance, protective equipment, learner centred processes for teaching safe tool use
  • Teaching and using appropriate knots and lashings
  • Shelter building: applying skills to construct temporary shelters
  • Fire lighting, safety and management: understanding fire preparation, safety procedures, campfire cooking techniques and fire extinguishing
  • Using natural resources – applying practical skills to make craft items from natural materials


This unit focuses on the skills needed to use the potential of woodlands effectively, safely and sensitively to support learning and development within a Forest School context.

Topics covered include:

  • Woodland ecology: understanding the history and ecosystems of woodlands
  • Woodland species identification and observation: considering the importance of understanding natural history for Forest School leaders
  • Sustainable management of woodland: considering historical and current management practices and how these may be relevant to Forest School

Entry Requirements

Please be aware that there are several entry requirements for this course. These are listed below:

  • You have to be at least 21 years old
  • You need at least 2 years experience of working with groups (children, young people, adults) in a leadership capacity and/or a recognised qualification to level 2 at least in teaching, Forest School, childcare, play work, youth work or support work

Before you run your own programme you will also need:

  • Access to a group of children/young people/adults to run your 6 FS sessions with
  • Access to an appropriate site and permission to run a Forest School programme on it
  • A valid Outdoor First Aid training certificate. We can recommend providers
  • A valid DBS Certificate

The Training Journey

Training Journey

Resources & Course Materials

As part of the training programme, you will receive course materials, ongoing tutor support and online examples. The resources will be accessible through the Student Hub on The Hive website and will include:

  • A reading list and electronic copies of all resources used during the training course
  • ‘Tutor on call’ days where our team will be available for catch-ups and to answer any question
  • Tips and advice drawn from our own practice

How To Prepare For The Training

We recommend that before you commit to the level 3 training you make sure you understand the Forest School ethos to ensure it is the right approach for you. It may also be worthwhile to arrange to talk to or visit an existing Level 3 Forest School Practitioner to find out more about how Forest School can work in practice.

Once you've booked your course with us, The Hive will provide you with a short list of suggested reads and activities to get you started!

Cost & Payment Options

The cost of the Forest School Leader training course is £820.
Our Taster Sessions cost £35.

We offer 3 payment options:

    1. You can pay the full amount for the course by booking online below, or over the phone by calling 020 3435 6848. 
    2. You can pay in 2 instalments: the first instalment is due at the time of booking, the second is due 4 weeks before the start of the course. Just call us to pay this way.
    3. If you receive childcare vouchers, you are able to use them to pay for your course. Just call us to pay this way.

You can also save 5% on the cost of your course by signing up to our newsletter.

    Contact Us

    To register your interest for one of our courses, request more information or ask a question, you can call 020 3435 6848 or email You can also save 5% on the cost of the course by signing up to receive our newsletter.