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Essential Information

Please read carefully before applying for the Practical Sustainability Course

Please note that this information will be updated for the PSC 2021/22, incl. course dates and fees.

Applications for the PSC 2021/22 will open in early 2021.

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Course dates from September 2020

The course dates match Bristol school term times including all holidays.

Term 1: Tuesday 8 September to Thursday 22 October 2020

Term 2: Tuesday 3 November to Thursday 17 December 2020

Term 3: Tuesday 5 January to Thursday 11 February 2021

Term 4: Tuesday 23 February to Thursday 1 April 2021

Term 5: Tuesday 20 April to Thursday 27 May 2021

Term 6: Tuesday 8 June to Thursday 22 July 2021

Course Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am to 3.30pm, with a 1.5hr self-study assignment once a week.

You need to be able to commit to attending regularly over the year.


Full fee is £3,495 with a limited number of part concessionary places at £2,895 and full concessions at £2,295. Please email us to ask for a bursary application form, after reading guidelines on who can apply. Concession places are limited so please only ask if you have no other option. We are happy to discuss your situation if you are unsure if you qualify. 

To confirm your place pay a non-refundable £550 deposit. You can then pay in two ways. Either…

• Pay the remaining amount in full by 31st August by bank transfer.

• Or agree to pay the remainder by instalments. Details of instalment plans here.

The fee covers all tuition and field trip accommodation. The only extra cost is shared petrol costs on field trips.


Aspects of the course are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Please let us know on application about any issue that may affect your ability to do the course. We strive to be inclusive and are happy to discuss any support we can offer to enable you to participate. We will offer you a place if we can reasonably provide for your needs whilst making sure you are safe and getting value from the course.


We welcome people from all backgrounds and value diversity.

Course Structure

Given the coronavirus situation, classroom sessions will be delivered online, in live and interactive sessions, for at least for the first two terms. The practical sessions and field trips will be delivered in smaller groups. We’re treating this as an opportunity to be creative, bringing in new material and tutors. We’ve been teaching online since March 2020 and are confident we can maintain the incredibly high standard of life- and world-changing education. 

The course covers a wide variety of modules including Permaculture Design, Soil and Ecology, Organic Horticulture, Green Energy, Group Dynamics, Creating Change, Woodland Management, Green Building, Re-localisation and Community Engagement.

See the full Course Curriculum and Tutor Biographies for more details.

Design Assignments

At the end of each module there will be a design assignment. You will work in small groups to produce designs for new or existing community and land projects, in line with the client’s aims. This is an opportunity to gain design skills in a real context. Past design clients have included; the National Trust, Avon Wildlife Trust, Edible Futures, Sims Hill Shared Harvest, Solar Sense and many more.

Field Trips

In 2020/21, for at least the first two terms, we are going to do day visits to projects in Bristol or very close by. There will also be a range of virtual field trips to locations further afield. Our tutors are getting very good at using drones, slides and generally whatever it takes to give us a great and inspiring ‘day out’!

If car sharing is or becomes an option, fuel costs are shared between the passengers in each vehicle. 

We will keep assessing the situation to see if longer field trips are possible further down the line.

In previous years, field trips have included; Ben Law’s Prickly Nut Wood, Agroforestry Research Trust, Brithdir Mawr Community, Lammas Ecovillage, Fernhill Farm, Five Penny Farm, Ourganics, Ragmans Lane Farm, The Sustainability Centre and others.


For the time being (at least the first two terms), all our classroom sessions will take place online. If we are able to go back into the classroom at some point during the year, we will be hoping to use the beautiful Gasworks studio in St Werburghs. The venue is easily accessible by bike, walking and bus and train routes. The venue has on street parking and bike racks in the garden. We are also exploring the use of other local venues that may be able to provide indoor-outdoor classrooms. We will keep assessing the situation to see what’s possible.


We regularly update our library of over 350 of the most relevant books on all aspects of Practical Sustainability. Books are available to borrow.


The course is deliberately not accredited. We choose to teach for the love of learning, enabling students to approach the curriculum from all angles and develop diverse skills within a collaborative culture. We provide a high quality education experience and our tutors have extensive teaching and practical experience. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this.

Permaculture is in the doing. Past students have appreciated the non-pressured learning environment and the opportunities this provides for them to discover and explore their passion.

We have a great reputation and students make connections within our extensive network of practitioners, projects and organisations. Our students have been successful in finding employment, further education, and other opportunities. We are confident that the knowledge and skills gained on this course will be valuable to anyone wanting to work with sustainability either professionally or in their home or community.


Full attendance and participation in the course earns a Permaculture Design Certificate certified by the Permaculture Association UK. Work completed on the course can contribute to your Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design portfolio.

Student contact

We will hopefully be able to invite all prospective students to an open evening with us in July 2021. We will give a short presentation, answer questions about the course and allow plenty of time for informal discussion. 

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Shift-Plus – Over the years, PSC students have organised their own Shift-Plus events and workshops. These have included everything from welding to food fermentation. It is an opportunity for you to share and learn from the group and past PSC students. Many extra-curricular activities spring up on the course. Year 2 students formed a course choir called the ‘Shifty Singers’.


If you have interest and time we can help you find a placement with one of the many projects in Bristol either during or after the course.