Page 20 - Independent Schools Magazine
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 Sport
Free membership for schools and resources for teachers
“Superb sport” to get young people involved physically & mentally
Orienteering in school offers many benefits, but the real attraction is that it is fun, says Robert Parkinson...
 Orienteering is a competitive sport that appeals to all ages
and abilities. It involves moving across unfamiliar country, using a map to find your way around a set course. Physical fitness, skill in map reading, compass work, mental alertness and decisiveness are all key elements.
Children learn how to assess, understand and read the countryside, as well as to appreciate the beauty and variety of the terrain she or he travels over.
Orienteering is a lifetime fitness sport that challenges the mind.
It offers the development of individual skills in navigation while problem solving. Decision making is paramount. Should I go left or right? Should I climb the hill or go around it? These are decisions that constantly arise and why orienteering is often called the ‘thinking sport’.
It certainly gives the brain an exercise as well as the body. Orienteering builds self-esteem.
It takes courage to forge
ahead on your own through an unknown area. Not only is it very enjoyable to get out into open spaces but another important outcome of orienteering is that it builds confidence, independence, resilience and adaptability. Good orienteers become aware of their surroundings as they plan what they will see along the route to the next check point, or control.
There are many independent schools that have a strong orienteering tradition.
Barnardiston Hall, Kingswood Prep, St Andrews (Pangbourne), Ranby House, St Andrew’s (Woking), Winterfold House being strong in the Junior/ Middle section while Kingswood School Bath, King Henry VIII Coventry, Loughborough Girls High School, Redmaids High, Twycross House, Nottingham High School, and Abbotsholm all do well in the Senior School category. Many have their own grounds in which they can start their orienteering.
Youdonotneedamapofthe school grounds to start and
you do not need large spacious grounds. There are many exercises that can be carried out in the gymnasium, on a small hard surface or on a playing field.
So, how can schools start orienteering?
The British Schools Orienteering Association can help.
This organisation was set up by teachers and orienteers and one of their aims is to encourage and help schools develop orienteering. Their website www. bsoa.org provides lesson plans, Tri-O suggestions and ideas for developing orienteering.
The sessions can easily be run within PE lessons, lunchtime clubs or after school clubs and
schools can run their sessions in ways that fit in with their school’s unique situation.
It gives access to an online shop that sells books & equipment at competitive prices. If you want your school grounds mapping or need to find out where the local orienteering club is the BSOA can help by giving you the contact details of someone who can assist.
Membership of the BSOA is free and offers teachers a contact point to ask the questions and gain information. It also runs an incentive scheme called Explorer Challenge, where children are rewarded with badges and certificates for their orienteering achievements. Schools can tailor this to their own requirements.
Nationally, there are two different British Schools Championships every year. Children can compete in pairs (up to Year 8) or individually. In October every year the British Schools Score Championships
are held. This is ideal for school teams and involves visiting the controls in any order in a limited time. Then, in November, the British Schools Championships take place. This time the controls have to be visited in a set order.
The pinnacle of Schools orienteering sees the BSOA send a team to represent England
to the ISF World Schools Championships, held biannually.
Over the years many different schools have qualified to go and have been very successful, often returning with a collection of medals.
Finally, people who orienteer become enthusiastic about the environment and its stewardship. They take nothing away from the countryside and leave nothing behind.
What a superb sport to get school children involved with.
   Robert Parkinson of the BSOA taught in Prep Schools for 39 years as a classroom teacher and Deputy Head before recently retiring. He coached school orienteering teams at Bramcote School, Ranby House and Tuxford Academy as well as being the coach at Bassetlaw District Orienteers. He may be contacted via email info@bsoa.org
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St Andrew’s School Pangbourne and Barnardiston Hall at the 2017 British Schools Championships
 

































































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