The industry standard for Forest School Leadership

This nationally recognised training qualifies and enables you to set up and run Forest School activities in your own setting and is the benchmark award for Forest School leadership. There is no wasted work, all units compile to produce a portfolio which will then provide the foundation for all future practice. As part of this you will be developing your own risk assessments, producing relevant policies as well as developing communication strategies with which to advertise your sessions and ensure that everything runs smoothly.


The course is divided up into two parts:

1. Training

(either 6 day intensive training or 9 day weekly training course)

The course is front loaded with comprehensive training in the following areas:

Safe fire lighting and outdoor cooking

Tool safety (including knives, saws and axes)

Rope work and shelter building

Species identification, animal tracking and woodland/site management

Activity development for Forest School

Theories of learning and bringing the best out in your learners

Managing risks and staying safe in the woods

The course also includes a one day Beach School module which enables you to transfer what you have learnt in the woods to a coastal environment.

The goal of this training period is to build the skills and confidence needed to be able to start delivering Forest School sessions. It is a great opportunity to forge strong links with other students who will be on the journey with you.

2. Practical experience and assignment completion

(12* months from start of the course)

During this phase you will be expected to start to piece your portfolios together and you will also need to gain experience assisting on and running Forest School sessions. This is something we can help with if we have space or we can point you in the direction of some other Forest Schools who would be happy for you to come and work with their groups. You will need a consistent group which you can run with for at least six individually planned sessions.

The portfolio is all online and so you can edit it at any time and also have your work looked at by an assessor to let you know if you are on the right track before you throw your all into it! We try and make the paperwork as straight forward as possible and encourage you to use a range of different ways of presenting your work. This includes video, audio recordings, sketches and drawings and making use of other qualifications you may hold where applicable.

* Timescale for portfolio work set at 12 months (extensions can be applied for)

Continued support...

Our aim is to train the best Forest School practitioners in the country and as such we recognise a great importance to ensure that you keep on growing in your knowledge and skills as you go forward. We provide monthly skill share workshops and other training workshops to all our students which is included in the price of the course. These workshops are run at monthly intervals throughout the year and so long as places allow you are always welcome as part of the Newquay Forest School family to come and learn and grow with us. For more information on the next skill share click on the link here

Where is the course run from?

Our course is run from our 10 acre wood which is situated 15 minutes outside of Newquay (details on booking). We have a couple of large shelters suitable to keep the best of the Cornish weather off for classroom sessions and for the rest of the time we will be out and about! We have a compost loo (a nice one) and a small kitchen where we keep tea, coffee on tap (though as the course goes on the hot water is up to you) and usually some really nice biscuits!

Our wood is a mixed broad leaf woodland with loads to explore and learn from!

One of the days will be run from one of our local beaches.

Who is the course run by?

Our head trainer is Jonathan Burfoot (Jo) who has worked in outdoor education for the last 18 years. Beginning by studying a degree in Outdoor and Environmental Education he then went on to work in a number of settings, teaching and training children, young people and adults which included seven years as an Outdoor Education teacher with Cornwall College. Jo set up Newquay Forest School in 2013 with his wife Anna and together they have a heart for empowering people to be the best they can be using the outdoors as a vehicle for change. 

What are the entry requirements?

The minimum age requirement for the level 3 qualification is 19. Applicants should also have substantial background experience in children and young people’s work and most importantly the drive and desire to see the process through. While we will help out every step of the way and do our best to make the work as straightforward as possible, the level 3 is a leadership qualification and the remit of this certificate is substantial. As a result you will be not only responsible for the children in your care, you will also have to manage and ensure the safety of staff, parents and adult helpers on your sessions. You will be qualified to work in relatively remote environments and as such you will need to demonstrate competency.

If you think that the demands of the level 3 are not for you then you might consider the level 2 as a springboard. Our level 2 runs alongside our level 3 program, with the same training elements, however with a significantly reduced workload and expectancy. Top ups to level 3 are straightforward and cost effective.

Speaking of cost... how much is it?

The level 3 costs £1,155 all in, with no hidden fees. Payment plans available*

Other benefits include:

Our New online portfolio system which enables you to complete your course from anywhere in the world.

Access to FS library holding over 70 forest school books and resources

Online resource network

15% discount on all items in our shop

Free access to monthly skills workshops with NFS

Discounted membership to the Forest School Association

Discount on Forest School First Aid courses with Forest School First Aid

*Payment options:

There is a £100 non refundable deposit to reserve your place on the training which will be taken off the final figure unless choosing to pay monthly.

There are two ways to pay.

Option 1 - Upfront payment of by BACS or cheque.

Option 2 - One year plan - £100 non refundable deposit + 12 Monthly payments of £100 per month.

How do I apply?

The first thing to do is to check that the course is the right one for you. It will be worth talking it over with us either over the phone or we would be happy to arrange a meeting.  For course enquiries please call 07543 885 008 or email us at

Once you have confirmed that this course is the best fit for you then you need to decide how you would like to study, we offer 2 options:

Term time training - Runs 9 Wednesdays 09:30 - 14:30 with availability to stay until 16:30 to consolidate your learning.

Summer intensive training course - Runs Monday-Saturday 09:30 - 18:30 and includes the option to camp out to save transport costs and travel time.

For details of when the next course is running click here

To book your place on the course please read the above information carefully and click on the link below:

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Certificate for Forest School Leaders

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