Woodland Learning provides Forest School courses.  Ruth Parsons achieved her Level 4 Forest School Trainers award with Archimedes. She is a member of the Forest School Association and the Forest School Trainers Network.  The qualification courses are Open College Network West Midlands accredited.  For more information see: http://www.opencollnet.org.uk/documents/Guides/ForestSchoolGuide.pdf

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.

Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond.  Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.

Woodland Learning delivers 8 Forest School sessions in 4 schools weekly during term time for children aged 2 to 11, some in mainstream and some in special education. Woodland Learning has done this, holiday clubs, birthday parties and more for over 10 years. Some of the Forest School takes place in school grounds and some in the beautiful National Trust woodland at Coleshill where some training takes place.  Ruth has seen so many children blossom and has seen so many children have fun and learn so much.  As an active practitioner she is able to bring the Forest School training for adults to life with examples and experience.

Adults can benefit from Forest School themselves and can also share the amazing experience with their own children and those they work with once they have been trained.  They can make the most of their school grounds or local woodland or park.

Swindon Borough Council and Woodland Learning are working in partnership to offer Swindon early years practitioners and childminders Early Years Learning with Nature workshops on Saturday mornings in May and June 2018.  For further information please see Course timetable and bookings page.

Introduction to Forest School Principles - Level 1 Award

Level 1 Award is designed to meet the needs of school and college students, young people, offender learners, teachers, head teachers, helpers at Forest School and others with an interest in working in the outdoors. Participants will need to be able to visit a Forest School for a session in order to be able to complete their portfolio. 

This award gives an introduction to Forest School, giving an insight for those providing a supporting role in the workplace. It also prepares learners to progress to a higher qualification to gain further skills, knowledge and understanding.  Most of the course will take place outside with opportunities for learning through practical examples and developing practical skills.

The total qualification time for the course is 30 hours with 25 of those as guided learning hours.

The course takes place over 3 days or 8 mornings.  Cost £250.00

Training for Adults - Forest School level 3 – Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership

 The Open College Network West Midlands Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership (QCF) enables learners to gain the skills and knowledge to:

  • develop an understanding of the principles and ethos of Forest School learning
  • gain skills and learning of life in the outdoors
  • plan and lead groups in forest school programmes and activities
  • prepare learners for further study and employment in the outdoors
  • gain continuing professional development in outdoor learning
  • become a forest school programme leader

To be awarded the Open College Network West Midlands Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership (QCF), learners must achieve a total of 18 credits. Learners will cover a variety of units that cover areas such as:

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

This course is an opportunity to explore to a higher level, different approach to using the outdoor environment in a Forest School setting and is for those who and wish to coordinate, manage and lead Forest School Sessions with children, young people or adults.

You will investigate how best to design and run a Forest School programme and look at how to approach and apply it safely and effectively. This Level 3 course is aimed at individuals who have a minimum Level 2 qualification in Youth Work, Child Care, Teaching OR relevant experience in working with children.  To complete their portfolio participants will need to run at least 6 Forest School sessions. The course does include lots of relevant theory and research so some indoor learning is essential.  This will be brought to life by outdoor learning experiences where ideas can be developed, theories demonstrated and skills practiced.  As much of the course as possible will be by immersion in the Forest School experience.

The total qualification time for this course is 180 hours, 96 of which are guided learning hours.  This is a considerable amount of self-guided learning. It is interesting and useful, enabling participants to put everything in place for their own safe and inspirational Forest School.  Achieving the qualification is only the start of an exciting journey!

Course time plan

  • 5 days of training, either over one week or a day a week for 5 weeks.
  • Portfolio work – Participants will spend up to 84 hours developing a portfolio demonstrating their skills, knowledge and understanding.  This will include planning, running and reflecting on at least 6 Forest School Sessions.  The time allowed to complete this is around 6 months.
  • First Aid - Candidates complete a 2 day ITC First Aid for Forest Schools Practitioners course.
  • Further training and assessment - Consisting of 5 days, either over one week or a day a week for 5 weeks,  of preparation assessment and feedback.
  • You must return your completed portfolio to Woodland Learning within 2 months from your assessment week. Most people hand in their completed portfolio on the last of the second block of 5 days. 
  • The qualification should be complete within a year.

Course Costs

£600.00 per person for Training and Assessment. £150.00 for First Aid.


"I can honestly say in 18 years of childminding it is the most enjoyable course I have been on."

"Thank you for a fantastic day yesterday. It was truly stunning – weather, people and of course yourself. You make it all so enjoyable and I find myself doing things I have never had the opportunity to do before. I really have appreciated the course and one of the best I have ever attended."

ITC Forest Schools First Aid Award


The outdoor environment nearly always means that the injured have to be looked after for a longer timescale than is typical in a more urban or indoor setting. In your journey in how to become a Forest School Practitioner, being able to provide a good standard of care is an important foundation in developing any programmes. 

The Forest Schools First Aid course looks at how to manage the situation when ambulances may take longer than 10 minutes to arrive or get access to the injured person.

Silver Fox Training, in association with Archimedes and Forest Schools Education, has developed a course that follows the ITC modular framework. It covers first aid for children and adults in a Forest Schools setting so that in when you become a Forest School Practitioner, you have the skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to respond effectively.

Woodland Learning highly recommends that its Forest Schools students gain the ITC First Aid qualification.  Providing appropriate first aid is an essential part of being a Forest School leader.

The course take place over two days, 9am to 6pm each day.  It is a practical course with lots of outside sessions and is useful and great fun. Cost £150.00.

People say…

“After already attending 3 first aid courses this year I was a little less than eager to attend yet another at the other side of the country. After driving for 8 hours to Guildford I arrived at a beautiful woodland and sighed and felt simply happy to be there.”

“Yes it was tiring, yes it was long days, yes it was intense and yes it was FUN! What’s more I feel like I have learned a lot more on this course than previous courses.”    read more

For more information about ITC First Aid please contact Andy Forsyth:

e: andy_forsyth@hotmail.co.uk

t: 0114 28 34 060