Certificate for Forest School Leaders

Course Outline

This rich and rewarding qualification is designed provide students with the practical skills, learning and development theory as well as essential woodland ecology and management understanding needed to plan and deliver Forest School programmes. The qualification prepares students to plan and deliver Forest School activities for children, young people or adults in an outdoor learning environment.  Successful completion of this course will provide students with the qualification required to gain employment as Forest School Leader, in a school environment, with outdoor education providers or as independent practitioner.

Course Aim

To provide learners with an understanding of the principles of Forest School and the skills required for facilitating outdoor activities using a Forest School approach. Develop the knowledge, understanding and theories required to plan and deliver a Forest School programme, be able to monitor and support students’ progress and maintain an ecologically sustainable environment. 

Course Content

The assessment is via completion of practical and written tasks including a portfolio of evidence.

The topics covered include:

  • Planning a Forest School Programme
    • Policies, procedures and theories underpinning a Forest School programme
  • Delivery of a Forest School Programme
    • Structure, planning and delivery of practical Forest School sessions
  • Learning and Development at a Forest School Programme
    • Learning, development, observation and progression of Forest School learners
  • Forest School Programmes and the Woodland Environment
    • Understanding of woodland ecology, woodland management and environmental impact of Forest School activities
  • Practical Skills for a Forest School Programme
    • Basic hand tool use, environment based activities and crafts, games, survival and bush craft skills

Independent practical course work requirements

As part of the assessment for this qualification students are required to plan and deliver a six consecutive session Forest School programme. Students will additionally be require to observe and report on the learning and development of three participants during these sessions.  This component of the course is undertaken as independent work by the students.  Support and guidance will be provided by the course tutor.

This is an 18 credit unit course. 

Additional Qualifications

You can also choose to study your Forest School First Aid course with us. 

Please do not delay your booking – to guarantee your place, please book 2 weeks in advance of course date

Course details

Dates & Location

We will be releasing the dates for the new 23/24 Part Time Programme in the coming weeks for a August/September start.  If you wish to receive the latest dates regarding this course when they are released then please click on this link and register your interest


One Garden - Stanmer Park Campus

If you are unable to attend the above dates or the date you would like to attend is full please register your interest here.


10 days per course (see exact dates above), plus tutorials.



Entry Requirements

There are no specific entry requirements however learners must be 21+ 

Plumpton College recommend students have prior experience in the education or wildlife sector, for example Qualified Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Youth workers, Forest School Volunteers, Outdoor Educators, Education/Wildlife Officers, Rangers or Ecologists.


Facilities at Plumpton are pretty impressive if you are planning to undertake your Forest School qualifications. The estate covers over 800 hectares of stunning countryside including four inspiring Ancient Woodland sites, an area of coniferous woodland and beautiful SSSI grasslands of the South Downs. In fact you’ll get to experience one of the finest natural locations in the country, perfect for skill, knowledge and creativity.

To top this all off we have the expertise, experience and enthusiasm of the Forest School training staff, all of whom continue to deliver programs year round to children and young people, maintaining a strong connection to hands on practice. Most unique of all is the support of the colleges Forestry, Countryside, Game Keeping and Adventure Education departments, providing expertise in many areas and we believe the highest quality of Forest School training in the area. Can there be any better place to study Forest School qualifications? 

Future Opportunities

The Level 2 Award in Introduction to Forest School Programme Support (QCF) enables progression into employment as a Forest School Leader, further learning opportunities within employment, or further study. The qualification can provide a first step onto a career path within the Forest School or other Outdoor Education sector.  Students can progress their knowledge and learning areas through progression to further training or studies in  Environmental, Educational and Forestry related course.  

Progression routes to further study include:

  • Foundation Degree in Environmental Conservation Management
  • BSC Rural Land Management
  • Forestry and Arboriculture Courses.

Ready to take the next step?

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