Level 4 | Outdoor Learning and Forest School Trainer


Our Accredited Level 4 – Certificate in Leading Forest School and Outdoor Learning Training course is a bespoke programme of individualised training and mentoring available for those wishing to become lead trainers for Forest School and Outdoor Learning courses.  To our current knowledge, the above course is the only fully independent Accredited and nationally recognised Level 4 course that is not part of a franchise now available in the UK.

Through all the Stages of Learning that we offer at Level 4, our aim is to support and build confidence in new trainers through an agreed individualised learning and mentoring programme that facilitates building of specific skills and gaining experience in all aspects of running Accredited FS and OL training.  Level 4 students will be given access to all the course resources and materials that we have developed over 13 years of training experience as well as gaining all the benefits of becoming a part of our Cambium Outdoor Learning Trainers Network.

Developed by Cambium and Natural Resources Wales from a pilot run in 2009 this course has been revised and updated for 2017 to include enhanced practical skills training and embeds a Licence to deliver all levels of Outdoor Learning Training that form part of the nationally recognised Agored Cymru suite of Outdoor Learning Qualifications.  This Suite of Units are on the QCF framework and are delivered across the UK by trainers that recognise the value of having a range of Outdoor Learning, Forest School, Coastal School and Outdoor Curriculum Coordinator Units available, adding value and flexibility to the learning pathways that their students can take.

Our Level 4 Training programme comprises the following stages:

Stage 1 – Cambium License to Deliver Outdoor Learning Training at Levels 1 and 2

Stage 2 – Advanced Practical Skills and assessment of training practical skills

Stage 3 – Accredited Level 4 training

Each stage must be achieved before progression to the next stage is possible. Once accepted on to the course students attend part or all of the five days of initial training that deliver the Stages consecutively.  This makes possible a modular approach over a period of time or to fast track the course for those wishing to gain the full Level 4 Accredited programme.

Students who would like to be able to deliver the Level 1 – Award in Outdoor Learning  and the Level 2 – Award in Outdoor Learning Practice / Outdoor Play Practice courses need only complete Stage 1.

Candidates entering on to Stage 1 only must have accomplished the following:-

  • Track record of two years or more of delivering curriculum / outcome linked outdoor learning
  • Recognised Level 3 (or above) qualification in education / training / teaching
  • Experience of leading or assisting adult training is desirable but not essential before starting the course.

Completion of Stage 1 leads to the Cambium Certificate in delivering Outdoor Learning at Level 1 and 2.  This programme of learning and practical experience opportunities usually takes 9 – 12 months to complete and covers all aspects of establishment of training at Level 1 and 2 in your own area.  These courses can be aimed at young people 14+ through to educational professionals who would like to expand and improve their outdoor learning practice.  A summary of the course content can be found here and an application form for this course here

Students who would like to be able to deliver practical skills training at Level 2 as part of their Cambium License will need to complete Stages 1 and 2

Candidates entering on to Stage 2 must have accomplished the following:

  • Completion of Stage 1 (see above)

Completion of Stage 2 leads to the  L4 – Advanced practical skills for OL Training.  This Unit takes 1.5 days to complete and involves an assessment in a wide variety of practical FS / OL skills.  A summary of the course content can be found here.  Completion of this L4 course element does not entitle the holder to deliver Level 3 FS or OL training until all three Stages have been completed.  Application form for Stages 1 & 2 here.

Students who would like to be able to deliver all Levels of Outdoor Learning and Forest School Training will need to complete all three Stages

Candidates entering on to the Accredited L4 course must have accomplished the following:-

  • Recognised Level 3 Forest School qualification
  • At least two years experience of running FS programmes designed for a minimum of two different age / client groups.  Ideally the candidate would also have experience of delivering at least one longer FS programme eg. 12 weeks duration or more with one client group.
  • Experience of FS training (apart from your own training course that enabled you to become a FS practitioner) is desirable but shadowing of a L3 training course can be arranged by Cambium once an expression of interest has been made by a potential candidate.

Completion of all 3 Stages as listed above leads to the Accredited L4 Certificate in Leading Outdoor Learning and Forest School Training.  This programme of  learning and practical experience opportunities usually takes between 18 and 24 months to complete and covers all aspects of establishment of training in your own area, preparing for and delivering a L3 training course as well as looking at the context of OL / FS training, its recent history and background.  A summary of the course content can be found here and an application form for all three Stages can be found hereFollowing successful completion of the L4 training course, candidates are required to work with Cambium in the delivery of their first few training courses at any Level of FS Training to ensure consistency in best practice training delivery.  Following this probationary period new trainers are free to choose to stay registering their courses with Cambium or make other arrangements.  We are very pleased to say that 95% of our Level 4 trained students have chosen to stay with us.

Once accepted on to any of the above courses, candidates must achieve the following (if not already accomplished)

  • Current suitable 1stAid qualification
  • Continuing practice of running OL sessions / FS programmes (including a long programme if not already accomplished)
  • Public liability insurance suitable for training adult groups as dictated by organisational requirements / free lance operation

Please note– the above bulleted points are achieved by the candidate in their own time and do not form part of the course content.

Becoming a Trainer with Cambium will benefit you in the following ways:-
  • Have full use of all our course training materials and our experience of delivering FS Training at all levels
  • Experienced and assessible help and advice at all stages of training and beyond
  • Having access to on-line learning modules for  students
  • Be able to deliver high quality Accredited Training for both Forest School and our Outdoor Learning Units that is modular and offers opportunities for continuing professional development for students
  • Receive mentoring, guidance and advice from experienced members of training team (Anney Thornton Wood and her colleague Carol Travers have both been involved with development and delivery of all Levels of FS Training since 2004)
  • Become an Associate Trainer with Cambium and be entitled to join our network of trainers across the UK, attending standardisation meetings and other events that further your training expertise
  • Yearly programme of CPD for trainers available at cost
  • Benefit from being associated with the internationally recognised Cambium brand and its sister organisations
  • Competitive rates for student registrations and expert Quality Review services provided as part of our registration services
  • Advertising your FS & Outdoor Learning courses through our website
  • The learning Units we use and the associated materials are updated on a regular basis
  • A discount on purchases from www.outdoorlearningresources.co.uk  for trainers and their students

Cambium Trainer courses may contain elements of group work but are largely  bespoke programmes aimed at building training that meets your needs and equips new trainers to deliver best practice  training in future.

Course Costs:

Stage 1 – £750 + VAT

Stage 2 – £350 + VAT

Stage 3 – £1,400 + VAT

Cost of signing up for all three stages £ 2,350.00 + VAT

Please download our OL and FS Trainer fees to see information on the agreement we make with new trainers here

Level 4 courses are run every term from our main office in Herefordshire, we have a maximum of 5 students per course. In the first instance, please contact Anney or Carol by phone or e mail for an informal chat about your training needs and to find out the dates of the next course. An application/ expression of interest  form can be found by clicking on the link below.  Please read the terms and conditions on the application form carefully and keep a copy of this form for future reference.

Please Note – Our experience of delivering Outdoor Learning and Forest School training since 2004 has led to our belief that striving for  best practice delivery, attention to detail, personal relationship building and ethical practices in business are keys to success.  We expect our Associate Trainers to develop similar threads in their training and we reserve the right to refuse admission on to these courses or to cease working with organisations that we feel do not reflect this outlook.