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Down the Woods is an Open College Network training Centre for Forest Level 3.

Please note this is a 8 day course split into day blocks, starting in March ending in October.

Dates for 2024 will be:

March 21st and 22nd,

May 2nd and 3rd,

June 27th and 28th,

October 10th and 11th.


The cost for the course £850 The location is near Hitchin and directions will be given on booking.


Please see the information below. To book click here

Who is the course for?


The West Midlands Open college Network Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership (QCF) is designed to meet the needs of teachers and teaching assistants, adults and professionals in training as a Forest School Leader in order to progress to employment or further study.

Green Forest


  • Age 21 years or over

  • Have a relevant level 3 or above qualification (NNEB, Teacher, Play Worker, Youth Worker) OR at least 2 years' experience of working with children / young people in a leadership capacity.

  • Have considerable experience of working with young people.

  • Before leading sessions, participants must ensure that they have a valid DBS check, and appropriate insurance and site permission

  • To complete the course you will need to hold or gain a 2 day certificate in outdoor first aid, relevant to the role of a Forest School practitioner. This is not included in the price of the course but reputable first-aid training providers can be recommended


The West Midlands Open college Network Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership (QCF) enables learners to gain the skills and knowledge required to plan and lead groups in Forest School Programmes and activities.

The  The West Midlands Open college Network suite of Forest School qualifications have been developed with the support of the Forest School Association.

These qualifications are also supported

by LANTRA, the UK's Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental


The qualifications are designed to enable learners to:

  • Develop an understanding of the principles and ethos of Forest School;

  • Prepare learners for further study and employment in the outdoors;

  • Become a Forest School Programme Leader.



6 days spilt into 2 days blocks of practical and theory.

2 days skills assessment, you will be assessed both on the written work in your portfolio and through observation (skills-based and during a session with your group on-site).

In between which learners run their own 6 sessions and put together their portfolio.

It is expected that learner take 96 hour of self-guided learning, this can include formal learning activities such as classes, lectures, teaching or training sessions, coaching, seminars, individual or group tutorials; individual e-mail, telephone or face to face supervision, support and advice related to achieving the qualifications supervised assessment activities in the woods or in the workplace.

Some learners will be able to achieve units and qualifications in a shorter time than indicated.

Others, for example those with additional support requirements, may need longer


As we are a local training provider, we are able to support new leaders on a personal level throughout their training and in the establishment of your own Forest Schools by using mentoring observation which help with the development of your Forest School.


We also coordinate the Herts Forest School cluster group which enables Forest School leaders to meet together and share ideas and experiences.

We also provide courses to which Forest school trained leaders can update their skills.


Please make sure you bring the following with you each day:

  • Packed lunch and snacks

  • Suitable outdoor clothing for the weather conditions

  • Stout shoes or boots

We will provide:

  • Tea, coffee and biscuits

  • All required portfolio paperwork

  • All tools and equipment

Who will be training me?

Qualified staff who have experience in leading Forest School sessions. Our team has been described as passionate and inspirational. We are dedicated to getting as many people as possible out to the woods.

Click here to read what our trainees think

Click here for Booking Form 

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