Frequently Asked Questions
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: No you do not need to have done the level 1 or 2 first before starting the level 3 training course. You will need to have the right entry criteria for the level 3, including either being qualified as a teacher/nursery nurse/youth worker or having at least 2 years of experience of leading activities with groups of children.
Q: Do I really need safety boots?
A: Safety boots are only required for people doing the full level 3 FS Leader training 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 www.safetybootsuk.co.uk as they also include safety boots for women.
Q: What is the First Aid qualification I need for the level 3 training?
A: You need a 2-day (16 hr) Outdoor First Aid course, with a child element.
In Scotland, we recommend outdoor first aid for forest school and outdoor woodland learning training courses provided by the First Aid Training Co-operative. Trainers are experienced outdoor practitioners, and can present discussion, practice and outdoor scenarios suited to Forest School situations. Their courses are taught with an emphasis on practical application, and built up in small achievalbe chunks with lots of repetition. You can view their training dates here.
In England, we recommend the 2-day ITC First Aid for Outdoors which is particularly relevant to Forest School.
At a minimum you will need to have a Paediatric First Aid certificate, as this enables you to do First Aid on children.
The First Aid at Work certificate is not suitable for Forest School, as it does not include doing First Aid on children.
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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 all ( 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: For level 3 students, who as part of their training need to plan and run an initial 6-week Forest School Programme with a small group of children, insurance (if not provided by the school or organisation the student is working for) can be purchased from the two organisations listed below.
Both these organisations provide two types of insurance:
Insurance whilst students are still in training. This is a special 6 month insurance deal.
Insurance for the qualified FS practitioner, once they have fully completed their level 3 training and are certified
The companies who offer these insurance packages for Forest School now:
1) Birnbeck Finance Ltd offer both packages. The cost of the package once qualified is around £168 a year. Contact 01934 522252.
2) Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) also offer both packages. You do need to become a member of IOL first (around £30 a year) and then you can apply for the insurance deals, which cost around £192 a year. www.outdoor-learning.org