What has happened?

The FSA has worked with Forest School Trainers and ‘Open College Network West Midlands’ to revise the suite of Forest School qualifications. Indicative content for Trainers has been produced. All Forest School Trainers are advised to move over to the revised qualifications before February 2018, at which point the current/old qualifications will be deleted from the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Why has this happened now?

The current/old units were published in 2013 and placed on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The qualifications were adopted by members of the GB Forest School Trainers Network (GB FSTN) and formally endorsed by the FSA in 2014.

Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, has now replaced the QCF with a new single framework called the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). All qualifications must sit within the RQF by 2018.

The qualifications need to be reviewed every 5 years. The need to move to the RQF made this a sensible time to review the qualifications.

Who revised the qualifications?

In late 2015 the GB FSTN agreed to start the process of revising the qualifications. This consultation process was led by Forest School Trainers, with many rounds of consultation. The final documents were produced by a core working group comprising Clair Hobson, Sarah Lawful, Lily Horseman, Jon Cree, and Linda McDonnell. The main review was a big task and took 1 year to complete with many hours of meetings and contributions. Following another round of consultation with members of the GB FSTN the FSA approved the new qualifications. They have been added to the RQF.

The FSA would like to thank the working group for their time and effort in conducting this review. Particular thanks go to Clair Hobson for steering this work through to completion.

How have the qualifications changed?

The qualifications are still worth the same number of units (e.g. Level 3 is still worth 18 units). However …

  • The revised qualifications place more emphasis on the Forest School principles.
  • They make the relationship between woodland, people and wellbeing much clearer.
  • The transition between level 2, for Forest School Assistants and level 3, for Forest School Leaders is easier.
  • They include guidance and indicative content for trainers.

The indicative content is being housed by the FSA. It has been made available to members of the GB FSTN. Awarding Organisations should refer their centres to the FSA if they want access to this material. All FSA Endorsed Forest School Trainers can access this material through the Trainers Basecamp Group.

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