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Forest School and outdoor learning

Our Early Years Team can offer a range of training and accredited courses to empower and equip you to:

  • explore a range of activities or experiences to support learning and play
  • develop or enhance your setting/school grounds to its full potential
  • motivate staff through a whole setting approach using your outside
  • gain confidence in linking the curriculum to Outdoor Learning and Forest School
  • maximise learning opportunities for children with SEN
  • run a nurture group to support children’s personal social and emotional wellbeing and behaviour
  • gain ideas to motivate reading and writing outside
  • set up a project in your school/setting grounds such as a mud kitchen, maths areas or ponds
  • gain confidence in providing risk to understanding the benefits

Forest School and outdoor learning helps create lifelong learners who are confident, capable, interested, motivated, inspired, resilient, creative and respectful.


Forest School is

  • an inspirational process offering learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning and sensory experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
  • a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits. It offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

Outdoor learning happens in a natural environment where participants can see, hear, touch and smell the real thing, It provides a real contrast to the indoor classroom. Through skilled teaching, interpretation or facilitation, outdoor experiences readily become a stimulating source of fascination, self-esteem and supports individuals’ style of learning.

These courses are aimed at teachers and practitioners working in education who want to embed outdoor learning as a whole school approach.

They include:

  • curriculum focused learning
  • outdoor play in the early years
  • school grounds projects
  • environmental education
  • recreational and adventure activities
  • personal and social development programmes
  • team building
  • management development or education for sustainability

  • Level 1 Award in Outdoor Learning (QCF)
  • Level 2 Award in Outdoor Learning Practice (QCF)
  • Level 3 Award in Coordinating an Outdoor Curriculum (QCF)
  • Level 2 Award in Assisting Forest School (QCF)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Leading Forest School (QCF)

·        Developing your Knowledge and Use of Tools

·        Developing your fire practice and using kelly kettles

·        Developing your Flora and Fauna Identification skills Outdoors

·        Learning through the Seasons

·        On the journey with Maths outside

·        Supporting Inclusion through risk and challenges outside

·        Mindfulness, Meditation and Wellbeing Outdoors

·        Provocations to Promote Curiosity in the Outdoors

This course includes:

  • QCF Certificate in Leading Forest School
  • Five days face to face training and teaching with five units of study at Level 3 including theory of play, coordination and delivery of Forest School programme, holistic development, impact of Forest School on behaviour, play and development, observation and assessment, historical use of woodlands and sustainability and management of natural resources, emotional intelligence, identification and ecology, risk benefit and management, fire, tool use and cooking
  • Two days skills assessment
  • Complete a portfolio of work for assessment
  • Tutorial
  • Practical work based assessment
  • Email and phone support available

  • two experienced qualified Forest School trainers
  • local authority endorsed training
  • easy transport access from M5/M4
  • specialisms in SEND, curriculum, Makaton, behaviour and communication
  • seven days face to face training and development
  • tutorial and practical work based assessment
  • access to a library of books and resources
  • access to e-learning
  • 5% discount at the Cambium Sustainable shop (for L3 Forest Leaders Award)
  • opportunity to shadow or assist a Forest School Leader in the delivery or a session or visit a Forest School session in action (for L3 Forest Leaders Award)
    start-up gift package (for L3 Forest Leaders Award)
  • further CPD opportunities
  • access to the South Gloucestershire Skills Share Network
  • We are linked to an established partner, Cambium Sustainable is an Approved Qualifications Centre and Accredited Training Provider delivering nationally recognised QCF courses
  • Training courses are endorsed by the Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL)

Here is just some of the feedback we’ve received about our course:

“I can’t thank you enough. This course has really inspired me and I can’t wait to start doing FS (Forest School) in my own setting.  You are both wonderful FS leaders and fabulous tutors and amazing people.  Thank you so much.”

“Amazing course – makes you think a lot more about outdoor environment and actually there is loads to do if you put your mind to it”

“It’s opened my eyes a lot, just be looking around at what’s around me. I’ve gained lots of knowledge and skills and I’ve really enjoyed learning about Forest School.”

“I have learnt a lot, especially practical skills and how to make more natural objects. Confidence and self-esteem has grown!”

” I can honestly say this has been the best training course I have attended. I have been relaxed and welcomed each session. Would highly recommend, I would do this course over and over!”

A recent local academy Ofsted report documented:

“In the primary phase, the well-organised forest school supplements the varied curriculum effectively. . . . The forest school adds considerably to children’s positive experiences in Reception. It is well resourced, and teachers make good use of it to give children rich learning activities. Children know and follow the expectations for this learning space and enjoy developing their sense of space and basic control when using apparatus. . . . Teachers in the primary phase make good use of the forest school, which provides a rich learning environment for pupils. Teachers develop a curiosity and enthusiasm in pupils about their environment.  They instil strong skills of self-control and risk awareness.”


To find out more about outdoor learning and Forest School contact our Early Years team on 01454 863355 or email


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