Challenging days

for 11-16s

A programme of outdoor skills courses and activity days specifically designed to challenge older children across Key Stages 3 and 4.

Wild Learning programmes develop practical and social skills, including problem solving, resilience, planning and preparation, communication, risk assessment and teamwork.

Courses can be run as whole or half days. Half-day courses can be combined into one-day programmes.

We tailor the content of these courses to be appropriate for the age group of the children. 

We also work with schools to create bespoke plans linked to specific learning objectives and curriculum areas if required. Contact us if you would like us to develop a bespoke package for your school.

Everything was so well planned and ran smoothly. Having all the resources provided made the process very easy for us as class teachers. (St Mary's School, Hampstead)

It was an excellent one day course which kept them busy and engaged throughout. Your staff were professional, friendly and very efficient. The boys really enjoyed it!

Our outdoor skills courses include:


These days children grow up relying on mobile navigation technology as second nature. Most will have smartphones from a young age and it is their default source of any and all information. But with such reliance on mobile technology, what can they do when it fails (poor signal, low battery, dropped and broken, or lost)?

Being able to use a map with confidence is a crucial life skill and can give young people confidence to explore their world. It also develops spatial reasoning, communication and team skills. Our navigation training is delivered by qualified Mountain Leaders and covers a complete range of navigational skills.

Course content

During the course we look at:

• Understanding maps – scales, rights of way, grid references
• Measuring distances – timing and pacing
• Using a compass – map orientation, taking and walking a bearing
• Following a bearing in poor visibility
• Contour recognition – understanding the shape of the land
• Route-finding skills – using natural features, hazard avoidance
• Route planning, as well as
• An overview of how to best use smartphone GPS/maps when available!

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day


Most people are fascinated by fire, and for young people in particular it can be enticing, exciting and frightening. 

Starting, using and extinguishing a fire safely is one of the most fundamental human skills, yet it is one with which most of us are unfamiliar. Developing an understanding of how to start and manage fire safely requires the development of specific skills, fine motor ability, risk management and self-reliance. It can also require persistence!

Course content

During the course we look at:

• What is fire?
• How it works: the combustion triangle
• Fire safety
• Methods of ignition, ancient and modern
• Building a fire: types of fuel and fire structure
• Using fire
• Extinguishing a fire and responsible use

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day

Shelter building

Finding or making a shelter is one of the three elements of the basic Survival Triangle. Almost everyone has made a den in the woods, so how hard can it be to make a shelter that will keep you warm and dry, potentially overnight?

Course content

During the course we look at:

• The function of shelter
• L
ocation choice
• Designs of shelter
• Building materials
• Tool use
• Safe construction methods
• Simple knots and fastenings

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day

Tool skills

Tool use is one of the characteristics we use to define intelligence, but can you use the simple tools that our ancestors mastered?

We will learn the basics of using cutting and striking tools safely and effectively to make simple useful objects such as a tent peg and a mallet.

Course content

During the course we look at:

• Principles of safety
• Choice of tool
• Choice of material
• Cutting techniques
• Working cooperatively
• Using a bill-hook, hand axe, knife and mallet

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day


String is one of the most useful basic survival materials, as well as securing shelters it can be used as a fishing line, a bowstring, or even a belt! Learn how to make cordage from natural materials, using different techniques.

Course content

During the course we look at:

• Foraging for and preparing materials
• Making nettle cordage
• Hand spinning woollen yarn (drop spinning)
• Using made cordage in other projects: bowstrings, Viking cog braiding

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day

First Aid

Designed specifically for secondary school children, this course covers the basics of First Aid (that the government has stated will be mandatory for secondary schools to teach by 2020), but also focuses on scenarios that pupils could encounter outdoors and the specific skills and techniques they would need. The course is delivered by a professional First Aid trainer, using active participation methods, and concentrates on being challenging but fun, with role-play scenarios and lots of hands-on practice.

We can also run the course to fulfil the requirements of the first aid element of the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) expedition syllabus. It is suitable for the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

Course content

The course can include the following topics:

• What is First Aid?
• Triage
• Communication and casualty care
• Coping in an emergency
• Primary survey
• Resuscitation
• Recovery position
• Bleeding
• Shock (medical and emotional)
• Bites and stings
• Burns and scalds
• Heat exhaustion
• Hypothermia
• Bone, muscle and joint injuries

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day

Knife skills

Knife skills are the archetypal bushcraft skills. But although everyone will be familiar with what a knife is and what it does, learning effective and safe knife skills takes time and patience. This course provides a basic introduction to safe and effective knife use.

Course content

During the course we look at:

• Principles of safety
• Basic first aid
• Knife grips and techniques
• Choice of material
• Whittling, stop cuts and batoning
• Knife care
• Using a crook knife

Course duration: 1 day or 1/2 day

Why use Wild Learning?

Experienced and qualified professionals

Wild Learning only use qualified professionals (Forest School Level 3 or equivalent) to lead our school activity days. Our leaders also have enhanced DBS certification and REC2 Specialist Outdoor First Aid qualification. They are all experienced in leading groups of children in the outdoor environment and make sure all children participate, are engaged and are having fun.

We have spent years working with teachers to develop sessions for school groups, as well as running adventure programmes for children in school holidays, welcoming over 8,000 children a year.

Robust risk assessment, procedures and policies

We have licenses to operate in multiple sites across London and the South East (we can also site-check school grounds if you would like us to visit you instead).

We carry out an annual risk assessment of every site where we operate, as well as conducting a daily risk assessment of the site before every session we run. We have comprehensive policies and procedures in place that include Risk Assessment, Health and Safety, Confidentiality, Child Protection and Safeguarding.

We also have Public Liability insurance.

My staff came back buzzing about the whole experience.

Thank you once again for a fantastic day.

Why take your class
into the woods?

Engaging children with the natural environment stimulates their senses, emotions and imagination. It develops confidence, resilience and independence. But today only 21% of children regularly play outside – compared to 71% of their parents when they were children.

Research from around the world shows that regular time spent outdoors has significant positive benefits to mental health (reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing self-esteem); physical health (bone and muscle strength, flexibility, maintaining a healthy weight); and to personal behaviour (concentration, creativity, learning ability, teamwork and social skills).

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Schools booking

We are happy to provide more information and discuss your particular requirements.

Please email us at

or call us on 01483 424400

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