Home Education FAQs

We’ve created some Q&As to give you a better idea of what our Home Education groups are all about

If we haven’t answered your question please email [email protected]. There is a wonderful, supportive home educating community in Devon. We wanted to give this community an opportunity to get together each week and inspire their children to learn outdoors, following the Forest School ethos. Our groups aren’t heavily structured or formulaic but they do offer children the chance to get outside, use their imaginations and learn about working together in groups. We hope the groups offer variety, inspiration and friendship – plus fun and fresh air – for families home educating their children in Devon.


All our Home Education sessions can be booked on our bookings page

Children can attend from the September after their 5th birthday, depending on which day you are interested in. (The upper age limit is dependent on the child and whether they would enjoy and gain skills from spending time with younger children).

We also have a Home Education family group on Monday afternoons at our Okehampton site, for 4-7 year olds (younger siblings welcome when accompanying older siblings) and a family group on Friday mornings at our Exeter site for families and children of all ages to attend.

You can drop off children at all our groups for children aged 5 years and over (from the September after their 5th birthday) in Exeter, Exmouth, Ilfracombe, Totnes and Okehampton.

Children need to be accompanied at the family sessions on Thursday mornings at Escot.

We run a number of different home education groups which aim to provide children with an environment in which they are free to be themselves, meet new friends and socialise whilst engaging in fun forest school activities. We aim to be as inclusive as possible, and strive to provide all children with the right to engage in a session that promotes success and happiness through exploration and play. If your child struggles socially, emotionally or behaviourally and requires a level of supervision beyond typical, then please include all relevant information so we can do all we can to allocate them a place within the most suitable group.

They will need a packed lunch and a bottle of water or juice.

The right clothing is very important at Forest School, especially in winter. They will need:

  • 3 x pairs of warm socks, plus spares

  • Wellies and a spare pair of shoes

  • Warm trousers, plus spare pair

  • 3 to 4 layers of t-shirts, jumpers and waterproof coat, plus spares

  • Hat, gloves and scarf

In summer, a good set of outdoor clothes will suffice, with some spares in case things get muddy!

It’s difficult to answer this in a simple way because it will depend on the site they are attending, who the leader is and what the group is like.

Our aim is to provide a fun, safe and innovative learning experience, with special attention paid to building relationships and confidence in the children.

It may be that a particular group will spend a term or two working solidly on team-building, laying the foundations to move on to more intricate projects.

Another group might have a long term project, for example building a tree house.

We also encourage leadership by having a student forest school leader who chooses activities and is responsible for organising the group for part of the session.


Thursdays (for 9 year olds upwards): full days only (9am-3.30pm).

Fridays (for 5 year olds upwards): morning (9am-12pm), afternoon (12.30pm-3.30pm) or full day (9am-3.30pm).


Mondays (for 5 year olds upwards): morning (9am-12pm), afternoon (12.30pm-3.30pm) or full day (9am-3.30pm)

Tuesdays (for 5 year olds upwards): full days only (9am-3.30pm).


Wednesdays (for 5 year olds upwards): morning (9am-12pm), afternoon (12.30pm-3.30pm) or full day (9am-3.30pm)

Combe Martin

Tuesdays (for 5 year olds upwards): morning (9am-12pm), afternoon (12.30pm-3.30pm) or full day (9am-3.30pm)


Wednesdays (for 5 year olds upwards): morning (9am-12pm), afternoon (12.30pm-3.30pm) or full day (9am-3.30pm)

Sessions are run by fully trained and experienced Forest School Practitioners who have gained accredited certification in Forest School Leadership. They are also qualified first aiders and have many years experience working with children. All our staff are DBS checked. You can find out more about our staff on our Meet the team page. Look out for Rachel in Exmouth, Debbie in Okehampton, Chris and Debbie at Escot, Sarah in Combe Martin and Sarah in Totnes.

Our attendee capacity for all groups is currently 20 children, never exceeding a 1-10 ratio.

Yes. If there is space in a group, we would love you to come and try us out before you commit.

This group is for children (age 6-13) who have some lagging gaps in social and emotional skills and would benefit from calm time in the woods in a small group to boost their self-esteem and confidence.

We know that children develop their play skills at different rates, some may be autistic or have other learning differences (sometimes called Neuro-diversity) requiring a slightly more tailored approach to forest school. Being part of a large established group may present anxieties that make our standard group unsuitable. The Woodlanders runs alongside our Home Education group on a Monday in Exmouth but with the presence of our Inclusion Lead to help make our provision accessible to those children who may need some extra support.

We work to the Devon County Council term dates with occasional changes which will be detailed here.

Autumn Term 2021:

Autumn 1: Monday 6th September – Friday 22nd October

Half Term: Monday 25th – Friday 29th October (no sessions this week)

Autumn 2: Monday 1st November – Thursday 16th December (please note we are finishing a day early as we have a Staff Development Day).

Spring Term 2022:

Spring 1: Friday 7th January – Friday 18th February*

* Ilfracombe Home Ed on Wednesdays running fortnightly only until Feb half term

Half Term: Monday 21st – Friday 25th February (no sessions this week)

Spring 2: Monday 28th February – Thursday 7th April (please note we are finishing a day early as we have a Staff Development Day).

Summer Term 2022:

Summer 1: Tuesday 26th April – Friday 27th May

Half Term: Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June (no sessions this week)

Summer 2: Monday 6th June – Thursday 28th July (please note we are finishing a day early as we have a Staff Development Day).

Family sessions at Okehampton and Exeter are £8 per family, per session – payment to be made in full for a half term at the time of booking.

Sessions for children attending by themselves cost £15 for half day provision and £30 for full day provision. We offer a 10% sibling discount or a 15% ‘double day’ discount for those booking onto two days. The sibling discount will be automatically applied at checkout or if you’d prefer to access the double day discount for one child, please use the promotional code BLOCKBOOKING.

We are set up to receive payment via a number of childcare voucher schemes (Edenred, Kiddivouchers, Care-4, Sodexo, Computershare, Busybees, MyBenefitsBundle, Apple Childcare, Reward Gateway and Enjoy Benefits), as well as the new government scheme – Tax Free Childcare

We are also pleased to say that parents claiming Working Tax Credits may be eligible to claim back some of the costs under the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. To do so, you will need to use the Ofsted registration number RP555172 and the category ‘registered club’. Costs needs to be paid directly as normal when invoiced but, if eligible, you will be reimbursed a set proportion via Tax Credits. You can find more here.

Please note that you can only use these schemes to pay for sessions your child attends without you.

Once you have booked your child into your desired session we will carry their place from term-to-term unless you cancel or change their space through our booking portal, Bookeo. You can either pay an entire term up front or use the Paypal ‘Pay in 3’ function to pay each month for your sessions. 

Once a child’s place has been confirmed the parent is expected to pay for all sessions scheduled, whether or not the child actually attends.

Each child’s place will be carried forward each term until a parent cancels through our booking system, Bookeo. gives notice of their intent to cancel the placement. 

In the event of a cancellation due to circumstances outside our control (eg bad weather), a 50% credit voucher refund will be issued which can applied to your current term, next term or a Holiday Club space.

In the event of a cancellation due to circumstances within our control a 100 % credit voucher will be issued.

We are set up to receive payment via a number of childcare voucher schemes, as well as the new government scheme – Tax Free Childcare. https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ Please note that you can only use these these schemes to pay for sessions your child attends without you.

You can find out more about the Tax Free Childcare scheme and see if you are eligible here.

If you wish to pay using childcare vouchers, please let us know and we’ll invoice you on a monthly basis so you can arrange payments as required.

We are registered with the following schemes: 

  • Apple Childcare: CA00011411 (The Outdoors Group)
  • Bravo Benefits: EY555175 (Ofsted number)
  • Busy Bees: EY555175 (Ofsted number)
  • Care-4: 40037798
  • Childcare Grant Payment (CCG): CCG3788935
  • Computershare: 0025737359
  • Edenred: P21044203
  • Enjoy Benefits: EX2 9QL (Parents just need this postcode)
  • Kiddivouchers: EX2 9QQ (Parents just need this postcode)
  • My Benefits Bundle: 05860
  • Reward Gateway: 18624395403 (RG Childcare ID)
  • Sodexo: 873404 & postcode EX2 9QQ


  • Tax-Free Childcare: Please select  Okehampton Forest School from the list.

We have some parent stories coming soon but also asked the children what they think:

‘You can make things like bows and arrows, dens and everyone gets along very well.’

‘We learn lots about wildlife and how the squirrels like to eat my lunchbox.’

‘Chris teaches us lessons about learning in a team and he’s funny.’


If you’d like to read more about our Home Education groups, take a look at our blogs: 

How our Home Education groups make a difference – Click here.

Home Education in the great outdoors – Click here.

A glance at the philosophy behind our groups – Click here.

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