Forest School

Our forest school training

The benefits of forest school are becoming more understood and appreciated along with the value of nature in developing resilient, adventurous and confident people who care about their environment. Forest school compliments careers as play therapists, youth workers, support workers, teachers and environmental managers. It combines immersion in the outdoors with engagement with crafts and activities and supports us to become risk aware not averse. As you would expect our training grows from providing firm roots in the foundation of forest school principles and ethos, to securing your own practical skills, before learning how to apply them to support social and emotional development of your client group.

The training takes a holistic approach, building a firm foundation of the theory and benefit risk assessment process before applying it to practical skills learning. Exploration and experimentation are encouraged towards the end of the course allowing trainees to experience the learner-centered approach.

The training days are the building blocks of the qualification. In addition, there is further guided learning through a bank of resources specific to each learning outcome. There is an expectation for the trainees to carry out further reading and research to complete their portfolio of evidence.

Including the training days and portfolio completion trainees on average take around 180 hours to complete the qualification.

Children and Teacher in Forest on camping chairs

Successfully embedding forest school into your setting

All forest schools must be led by a qualified Level 3 Leader, who holds an enhanced DBS and a two day outdoor paediatric first aid qualification. To support social and emotional develop with tools and firecraft, forest school demands high ratio of adults to children. Our best practice is 1:6 as we work in open woodlands.

Children need to be adequately clothed so they stay warm and dry and are able to enjoy being at forest school. They will also need somewhere to get changed, store and dry outdoor clothes.Now is the time to get the cleaning team on board!

You will need some basic equipment including hand tools, fire kit, rope and tarpaulins.  And a natural site to operate from.  Established trees and a wooded area are optimum – the sooner an area is dedicated for forest school, the quicker nature can take over and work its magic.  Organisations such as Woodland Trust and Natural England can help with accessing woods for free on farmland.

Beyond the training and choosing the right training

Networking to share skills and support is key beyond the training. We offer biannual skills shares and workshops with guest leaders. We work closely with the national Forest School Association and encourage best practice, collaboration and quality forest school for all.

Please get touch to discuss any additional or special learning needs so the tutor can support you effectively through your forest school qualification.

Training Dates


55    £850 £2 


 &25th &25th

Forest School


Level 1 Introduction to Forest School Principles and Ethos £212.50

6th, 7th October 2023


9th, 23rd March 2024

Level 2 Forest School Assistant £425

6th, 7th, 13th, 21st October 2023


9th, 23rd March, 12th, 13th 2024

Level 3 Forest School Leader £850

6th, 7th, 13th, 21st, 27th, 28th Oct, 4th, 5th &11th  November 2023


9th, 23rd March, 12th, 13th, 27th April, 11th, 25th May, 1st &15th June 2024

Click to book on to any course


Outdoor Learning
Leaf Painting
Pebbles piled on up a beach with sunshine in background

Beach Teach (£250)

April 2024 dates TBC

Our Courses

Level 1 Award in Forest school Ethos and Principles

Level 2 Award in Forest school assistants

Level 3 Certificate for Forest school leaders

Our Forest School course is run by a registered Forest School Association trainer. Training days take place at our base in Cerne Abbas. This is an ideal location to practice how to use fire and tools safely and to discover how to care for the woodland environment.


What others say about our courses:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, and learnt so much.

S. Pugh

Chesil Bank Pre-school

I thoroughly enjoyed this course – I loved the use of tools and it’s really developed my confidence. I particularly liked your anecodotes and the folklore that you brought into the course.

E. Sanderson

Manor Park First School

It has been a great experience and I am so glad I did it with Dorset Forest School. The children are thriving and growing all the time.

N. Moss

Bradpole Pre-school

Get in touch:

Our key aim here at Dorset Forest School is for all children in Dorset to access Forest School, which is why we are passionate about training others. There are a number of options for how we can take you through training, some of which are subsidised.

You first need to decide which training is most appropriate for you: Please contact Maddy using the link below or complete our contact form to explore your options.