Forest School and Outdoor Learning training courses

Essex Wildlife Trust Outdoor Learning team offer a suite of Outdoor Learning Qualifications including Forest School training and Award in Outdoor Learning to equip staff with skills to lead learning outdoors.

The courses are all accredited by Agored Cymru (Wales OCN). In addition Essex Wildlife Trust offers Forest School skills days to provide ongoing professional career development for trained adults.

All courses take place at Essex Wildlife Trust Headquarters, Abbotts Hall Farm, Gt Wigborough, Essex CO5 7RZ

Forest School

Forest Schools - Den Building

Forest School and Coastal School programmes and training are offered by Essex Wildlife Trust. They take place weekly for small groups of children and are led by a trained leader who allows children to manage risk and develop skills through specialised learning processes designed to increase self- esteem through real life experiences.

It is a progressive, child-led and play-based programme set in a natural environment, using tools, natural resources and ropes to make fires and cook on fires; improve the area for the benefit of wildlife; learn to use tools and ropes safely and green woodwork. It has been shown to particularly benefit children who are disengaged with school, increasing their focus and behaviour, self-esteem and collaboration.

Essex Wildlife Trust Outdoor Learning team have been delivering Forest School sessions and adult courses since 2008 and Forest School training since 2014.

Our Forest School service:

  • Forest School sessions delivered at your setting or at Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserves.
  • Training to become a Forest School Leader or assistant. More details
  • Forest Skills building day courses. More details
  • Mentoring for newly qualified Forest School leaders

A Forest School programme with us includes:

  • Planning with staff to meet learning objectives.
  • Delivery of Forest School sessions
  • Experienced Level 3 trained Essex Wildlife Trust staff
  • Risk assessments and safety checks
  • Tools, equipment and resources.
  • Choose from six week, term or school year programme
  • Forest School after school clubs

Children participating in Essex Wildlife Trust Forest School sessions will develop the following skills:

  • Experimentation, mistakes, repetition and improvements.
  • Risk management.
  • Improved speaking, listening and vocabulary.
  • Physical mobility and agility
  • Increased self-confidence and awareness of the needs of others.
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the natural world.
  • New skills e.g. knots, weaving, tool use, fire lighting and working with wood, plants and soil.
  • Problem solving and collaboration
  • Increased focus and interest in learning.

Forest School Afterschool Clubs

  • Suitable for KS1/2 children.
  • Up to 17 children per programme.
  • One programme runs for a minimum of five weeks with the same children each week.
  • Time: End of school – 5pm throughout the ear.
  • We will assess your grounds for suitability.
  • We will deliver an assembly to promote the club and provide promotional leaflets for each child.
  • We will Provide trained adult leaders to run it and all equipment and risk assessments.
  • Cost to parents £6 per child per week

Forest School for KS3/4

We offer a KS3/4 Forest School programme that particularly benefits pupils with social and emotional needs. This is a termly programme and includes the option of an Outdoor Learning accredited course.

Outdoor Learning Practical Skills QCF 
Credit value 2

This is a course for students aged 14+ who benefit from an outdoor practical skills course, learning about the woodland environment and undertaking individual and group projects to create a range of items through different skills.

The course includes:

  • Lighting fires and cooking
  • Crafting from wood e.g. bow and arrows, weaving, whistles etc.
  • Using knives for carving e.g. making butter knives, spatulas etc.
  • Using a range of tools and understanding their safe use
  • Knots, den building and zip wire
  • Hazards of a woodland and how to develop a risk assessment
  • Biodiversity of a woodland and our impact upon this

This project is best undertaken over a series of consecutive weeks. We would look at the numbers of weeks required based on the needs of the children. Additional costs for accreditation £45 per child.


To contribute towards the funding of the Forest School provision from Essex Wildlife Trust we request the following donations:

Half day £100 - £150 (dependant on length of programme and number of sessions)
Full day £200 - £250 (dependant on length of programme and number of sessions)
Set of six half day sessions £850
Set of six full day sessions £1300
Site advisory service from £75

Contact us:

For more information or to make a booking contact:
Outdoor Learning Manager - Email: Tel: 01621 862992

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Forest School can also meet the needs of family or community groups - please contact us to discuss your requirements.