AIM Qualifications

Forest School Qualifications

Make it Count with AIM's Forest School Qualifications.

Forest School activities are intended to complement traditional learning, and typically take place in woodlands or a natural environment. 

Of 200 UK schools surveyed by the Forest School Association (FSA) in 2021, as many as two-thirds reported an increase in demand for places since March 2020. Some said they are booked solid for the foreseeable future, and many expect the boom to continue.

Many state schools are now arranging Forest School sessions for pupils within the school day because they are considered to be beneficial to mental and physical health, behaviour and academic attainment.

Centre Lead, Sue Benton gives her thoughts on how swapping traditional classroom delivery for the outdoors might offer a new, therapeutic kind of classroom education for teachers and learners.

AIM qualifications are the nationally accepted qualification at level 1, 2 and 3 in England. 

Whilst Forest School qualifications are developed with a group of awarding organisations, Open College Network West Midlands (now part of the AIM Group) was the founding AO working with the Forest School Association and GB Forest School Trainers Network (GBFSTN).

Forest School Qualifications

Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders
Qualification no:
TQT: 180 hours
Credit value: 18
This popular qualification will enable your learners to become a Forest School Leader, able to design, set up and run a Forest School programme. Level 3 covers how to facilitate groups in a learner-centred way, and how to manage a Forest School site sustainably. It also covers the practical skills required of a Forest School Leader.

Level 3 Award in Forest Kindergarten: Local Nature Play
Qualification no:
TQT: 56 hours
Credit value: 6
This qualification is ideal for centres who already deliver Early Years provision as it will give your learners the opportunity to gain additional skills and an understanding of the importance of play and the outdoors for children's health and wellbeing and their capacity to learn.

Level 2 Award for Forest School Assistants
Qualification no:
TQT: 70 hours
Credit value: 7
This qualification is designed for learners who want to become a Forest School assistant. It will enable your learners to take a proactive role in helping a Forest School practitioner plan and deliver a Forest School programme.

Level 1 Award in Forest School Ethos and Principles
Qualification no:
TQT: 30 hours
Credit value: 3
This qualification introduces the principles and practices of Forest School delivery and is particularly suited to volunteer helpers and managers who need to understand the principles but not necessarily become practitioners. As this is a short course, AIM Centres could use this qualification to attract learners who are new to the Forest School concept or considering  a new career in Forest School practice.

Related Qualifications

Level 3 Award in Outdoor Curriculum Co-ordination
Level 3 Certificate in Teaching in the Supplementary Education Sector
Level 2 Award in Teaching in Supplementary Schools and Other Out of School Settings
Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
Level 4 Certificate for Higher Level Teaching Assistants
Youth Work qualifications
L1 Award in Forestry in the Community

Access to HE Diplomas
Access to Higher Education Diploma (Teaching)
Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education)

Deliver these Qualifications

Current AIM/Open College Network West Midlands centres can apply to deliver these qualification through their MIA portal or through the website.

If you are new to AIM and would like to deliver these qualifications, find out more about becoming an AIM centre, see our webpage: Join Us or contact our business engagement team on: 

Complete the form below to download our leaflet.


If you are interested in studying for any of these qualifications, please check out the government’s National Careers Service for details of providers near you. 

Forest School Taster Event

Experience a taste of the outdoors at our free Forest School Taster event for AIM Centres, in June 2023. Learn more here.

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