Specialist outdoor learning programmes to support students' social and emotional development.

Overall, studies of transitional learning programmes consistently show positive benefits on academic learning, and wider outcomes such as self-confidence. On average, pupils who participate in adventure learning interventions appear to make approximately three months additional progress over the course of a year. The evidence suggests that the impact is greater for longer courses (more than a week), and those in a ‘wilderness’ setting.

Educational Endowment Foundation

Forest School sessions and outdoor transitional learning can help learners re-engage by improving mental health, self-confidence, resilience, and self-esteem. It is also proven to build and maintain positive relationships with peers, social groups and trusted adults. We have found that learners gain an ability to access, understand, and appropriately display feelings. Learners also develop coping strategies for behaviour and learning.

Over the last 5 years we have built and continue to maintain an eminent reputation for supporting learners from primary to post-16; who have struggled, or are struggling with, educational engagement.

We have a highly experienced and qualified team of forest school workers, who liaise closely with the Local Authority, schools, parents and carers to ensure integrated support for each of our learners. Throughout our transitional programmes we work on matching learners and staff appropriately, developing and achieving bespoke, key targets for learners and supporting the social and emotional development of learners, with the aim of eventual reintegration into learning environments.



We work with learners who may be at risk of Permanent Exclusion (PEX) or had fixed term exclusions. They often need support for other reasons such as behavioural difficulties or social and emotional issues.


Our group sessions are run with a maximum ratio of 1:6 to ensure quality time can be spent with every student, while also encouraging a peer to peer element.


The Outdoors Group understands there is an obligation to report when funding transitional learning programmes. We will provide full due diligence paperwork to schools engaging with our provision. 


The Outdoors Group can provide emergency placements for learners who need provision quickly or require maximum flexibility.


We came to the TLP shortly after H’s placement in a mainstream school had broken down. He had severe separation anxiety, social anxiety, and refused to engage with any sort of formal placement as well as all the challenges inherent in being autistic.

H has been a part of the TLP for two years now and it has far surpassed our expectations. He has been cared for and accepted for who he is. He has been gently supported, while at the same time being stretched and encouraged to build relationships with staff and other students. When he comes out of the forest now, he chats about who he has spent time with, what he has done with his day, and even knows his new friends’ names! H has doubled the amount of time he spends in the forest and will even eat there (a huge achievement for H and the staff supporting him!).

We have found communication between the staff and us to be excellent; whether H’s 1:1 or admin staff, everyone has been friendly, professional, and keen to facilitate the best outcome for H. We have nothing but praise for this excellent programme and the individuals working within it.

Forest school has had such an amazing positive impact on J and has helped him to learn to regulate himself better. He loves being here and spending time with Bubs. He has been trying harder at school and this is shown by reports sent by the school. He has also earned his bronze award for good behaviour.

I am hoping that he will get to spend more time at forest school and get at least another term.

Our Transitional Programme Staff

Our team of Transitional Programme Workers are all DBS checked, first aid certified for outdoor learning, and fully qualified and experienced to work with vulnerable learners in the outdoors. Our staff place the wellbeing and positive development of each learner as a priority in every session and, as a company, we are fully compliant with current legislation including data protection, safeguarding, equality and diversity and child protection.

The Outdoors Group is aware of the vulnerabilities of learners using our services and the need to help protect them. We also know the importance of effective communication with schools and have excellent systems in place to ensure this works well for all involved, including contributing to the Team Around the Family (TAF).

Amanda Leach

Amanda has been working in the education system for about ten years both in America and England as well as directing outdoor adventure activities at summer camps in America. She enjoys bringing her passion for supporting diverse learners to the outdoors. In her free time she enjoys rock climbing and walking her dog in the countryside.

Jimi Neary
TLP Area Manager

Jim works with young people on the TLP program which he really enjoys, especially watching the development of the students as they become accustomed to a different educational setting, learning new skills and coping mechanisms. Jim has many years of experience in educational and residential placements, and really appreciates the benefits of working in the forest, for staff as well as students, to reconnect with nature. He enjoys kayaking, mountain biking, reading and writing.

Jake Ward
TLP Area Manager

Jake has been with the Outdoors Group for several years, running Home Education groups, teen groups, working with visiting schools and setting up and facilitating after school clubs. It was a natural move over to TLP where he wants to bring his love of nature and outdoor learning to our learners. Jake is a Level 4 qualified Bushcraft Instructor and enjoys archery, rugby, practicing primitive technology skills alongside all things connected with natural history.

Mike (Bubs) Whale
Senior TLP Worker

“Bubs” is from a military background but he moved into education upon his retirement. He has been responsible for several successful educational programmes and has a real passion for teaching and learning. He currently delivers TLP, Adult provision and Schools outreach.
His spare time is taken up with introducing his grandchildren to the great outdoors.

Martin Aplin
Senior TLP Worker

Martin manages the setting at Dotton Common and has a real passion working with children in the great outdoors and coined the phrase “green time not screen time”. On leaving school Martin trained as a butcher and went on to have a successful career before he took a career break to be a full-time Dad to Henry. Martin started his journey into Forest School attending the Exmouth toddler group with Nick. He loved it so much that when Henry started school, Martin stayed and went on to host birthday parties at Exmouth. He has since completed his Forest Leader training and Bushcraft skills course. In his spare time Martin is an avid Exeter Chiefs fan and loves spending time with the family on their paddleboards.

Frank James
TLP Key Worker

Frank is a highly experienced programme worker and has been with the Outdoors Group for over 3 years. He works on a 1-2-1 basis supporting students with varying and sometimes complex additional needs.
With an extensive career of working with young people, a love of nature and the outdoors, Frank is a perfect fit for this role. He draws on his experience within formal education and youth work alongside therapeutic roles.
Frank is not only a professional quiz master, he has 4 children, 2 grandchildren, 3 dogs and not forgetting the 4 chickens!

Hannah Sutton
TLP Key Worker

Hannah works for the Transitional Learning Programme (TLP) providing 1:1 sessions full of fun activities and lots of campfire cooking. She has a degree in Conservation Biology and used to volunteer at Paignton Zoo. Hannah’s number 1 hobby is crochet and she loves making all kinds of things, especially cosy blankets.

Ben Seward
TLP Key Worker

Ben works in the Transitional Learning Programme providing 1:1 support for our learners. He has worked in outdoor education and pursuits for 5 years and strongly believes in the value of nature as a place for development and discovery. Ben enjoys music, kayaking and mountain biking.

Gary Cargill
TLP Key Worker

Gary works in TLP helping children with behavioural and special needs to learn new skills and provides them with a safe environment in which they can grow. He previously worked in outdoors activities teaching kids rock-climbing, kayaking, archery and other outdoors pursuits.
Gary loves anything outdoors and has a real interest in self sufficiency, so he enjoys making things from carving to jam making and taking his family out on walks to see what they can forage.

Sarah Webb
TLP Key Worker

Sarah works part time for The Outdoors Group and also works as a rewilding guide and a massage therapist. Sarah has a background in Nursing and Social work, she is passionate about the positive affects of being and connecting with nature has on peoples well-being. She has completed her beach school qualification and is currently doing her forest school training. Outside of work Sarah loves to wild swim all year round and loves being a mum and going on adventures with her boys.

Sheridan Couch
TLP Key Worker

Sheridan is part of the TLP team, based in Exeter and Okehampton. She worked for twenty years as a PE teacher before starting with The Outdoors Group. As a PE teacher Sheridan has always loved playing all sports, and now enjoys watching sports, particularly cricket, rugby and hockey which her two sons play. Getting to work outdoors each day with children in the fresh air in a forest environment is a job Sheridan thoroughly enjoys.

Rosie McGeorge
TLP Key Worker

Rosie works as part of the TLP team, providing 1:1 support and fun activities for our learners in the outdoors, which she loves. She has just finished my degree in Psychology with a Professional Placement, where she worked at a special needs school for a year. Rosie loves the beach and going surfing, and also playing music.

Linda Stephenson
TLP Administrator

As the Transitional Learning Programme Administrator, Linda aims to keep the provision running smoothly and to help you with whatever query you have. She has been working in and around education for more than 20 years, in several different countries including the UK, Poland, Spain and Colombia. In her free time, Linda is happiest when baking or working on a creative project.

Get in Touch

We offer a number of options for learners and have listed our standard programmes above. We understand all learners’ needs are different so we often tailor a bespoke programme to an individual learner.

We operate under service level agreements for our provision so that everyone is clear on the details surrounding the provision we offer.

We do not offer transport as part of our Transitional Learning Programme. It remains the referral agency’s responsibility to organise transport for learners to and from our Forest School sites.

For visits and enquiries, please contact our Transitional Learning Programme administrator on 07719 103200 or email tlp@outdoorsgroup.co.uk

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