Level 3 Forest School training is what many consider the final stage of training before you can run your own forest school sessions. It’s the most expensive of the three levels and takes the longest to complete.
What does Level forest school training involve?
Level 3 training is specifically designed to help candidates qualify to become a Forest School leader/practitioner. These Forest School leaders will be able to set up and run their own Forest School programmes using the knowledge they have gained over the three levels of qualifications.
This final level covers how to facilitate groups in a way that is centred on the children attending your programme, and how to manage the site of your Forest School. Level 3 also introduces the practical skills needed to be a Forest School leader.
Duration and cost
Level 3 is approximately 180 hours of work, and worth 18 credits once completed.
The course is between £500 and £900 on average.
Learners should typically be 19 years of age, though they may not act as a Forest School leader until they are 21 years old. They should already hold a both a Level 1 and Level 2 Forest School qualification and have some experience assisting in Forest School programmes.
Some schools will offer this qualification without any prior experience, but they will still expect that you have access to a Forest School while you are on the course.
The standard Level 3 Forest School training qualification will have several elements. You will be expected to complete modules that outline the delivery of Forest School programmes, as well as how to plan and prepare for your activities.
You will be educated on the woodland environment, as well as taught practical skills you will need to be a competent Forest School leader. You will also be taught how to assist the attendees of your programme in their learning and development.
Many Level 3 Forest School qualifications will require that the student works towards a First Aid certification during their course, as well.
Finding a trainer
The Forest School Association is ever looking for new Forest Schools to endorse as providers of the Forest School ethos and Forest School programmes. However, you should still look at the qualifications of any trainer you’re in contact with and ask questions before paying for a course. It is not recommended to attend a course that isn’t officially linked to one of the national Forest School associate companies.
Questions you could ask a trainer are as follows:
1. What does the training cover?
2. Will I achieve a recognised qualification?
3. Which awarding body is responsible for that qualification?
4. How much experience do you have as a trainer?
5. How long have you been working as a Forest School trainer?
6. Are you connected to any of the national Forest School support contacts? (Such as the Forest School Association, Forest Education Network, Forest School Wales, or the Forest Education Initiative.)
The Forest School Association supports the following Awarding Bodies for Level 3 Forest School training:
- Open College Network West Midlands
- AIM Awards
- ITC First
- LASER Awards
- Newbattle Abbey College (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
There are, of course, other trainers available that are linked to other Forest School associations. The Forest School Association has a list of registered trainers on their website.
To give a few examples of possible locations, Sussex Wildlife Trust offers the qualification, as does Woodland Adventures in Bath, and Forest Schools in Sheffield who run training at a number of locations across the UK.