Forest school FAQs 

Choosing the right course

Q: Do I need to complete the level 1 & 2 training before being able to do the level 3 course?

A: The three levels of training are not sequential, so you do not need to do a level 1 or level 2 to be able to attend a level 3 course. What is important is to have the right entry criteria for the level 3, including having experience of leading activities with groups of children."
For details on each of the training levels please see our training

Safety Boots

Q: Do I really need safety boots?

A: Yes, for all three levels of training students will need to have a pair of safety boots to be able to do the practical work which forms part of the course. Safety boots come with a sewn in badge stating "Safety Approved Footwear" and either have a steel-toe cap or kevlar reinforced toe area. Good website to visit is as they also include safety boots for women.

First Aid

Q: What is the First Aid qualification I need for the level 3 training?

A: We recommend the 2-day ITC First Aid for Outdoors which includes Paediatrics. There is normally a First Aid training element incorporated in the level 3 and this would be the 2-day ITC course. The 4-day at Work certificate does not normally include outdoors nor paediatrics and would not suffice for the level 3 training.

Course Books

Q: Are there any books which would be interesting to read?

A: The following books are just a few which are well worth reading:

"How Children Learn: from Montessori to Vygotsky", by Linda Pound
"Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv
"Toxic Childhood" by Sue Palmer
"Sharing Nature with Children" by Joseph Cornell
"What Every Parent Needs to Know" by Dr Margot Sunderland


Q: How will my coursework be marked?

A: Unlike GCSE's or 'A' Levels where students are awarded a grade for their work, with OCN (Open College Network) students have to complete 100% of the work to the required standard for the level of training they are doing. Only when the work is 100% complete will the student's work be put forward to the moderator and then if successful for certification.
When a student sends in their coursework we mark it and note any questions which are not answered to the right depth or have parts missing. We then email the student with the list of additional work we require. Students can then send in this additional work which again will be marked to see if it is enough and to the right level. Students can be asked several times to put in additional work and only when we are satisfied that all the work is up to the required standard and complete will the coursework move on to the moderation process.

Insurance for Forest School

Q: Where can I get insurance for Forest School?

A: Once you have qualified as a Forest School Leader/ Practitioner (level 3 qualification) the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) offer a special insurance for Forest School
During the level 3 training, when students are planning to run their 6 sessions of Forest School, students will need to work within the insurance cover from the schools/organisations they are working with and this may involve being restricted on what can be done during those FS sessions.

Q. what tools are needed for forest school delivery?

A. Generally you can run forest school using no tools whatsoever but experience has show us that tool use in FS enables a wide range of practical tasks to be undertaken.

An average Complete FS tool kit contains the following:

2 x Bahco 12 Bow Saw
2 x Bahco 21 Bow Saw
2 x Bahco 24 Bow Saw
4 x Bulldog Bill Hooks
1 x Draper Loppers (with telescopic handle)
1 x Cigar scythe stone
5 x secateurs
5 x Stockshop knives (large orange handle)
1 x Tool Bag
2 x bales of sisal twine
6 x fixed balde knives
2 x Axe's (small forest axe and wildlife hatchet)
1 x Fire Extinguisher and first aid kit
1 x Kelly Kettle