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Tweet Wednesday 7th August 2019

Permanent Orienteering Courses usage from a “Primary School Perspective”

Initially looking on the British Orienteering website for an activity for her Year 6 class to take part in after finishing their SATs tests Zoe downloaded a map for a permanent orienteering course at Fosse Meadows.


Interview article with Zoe Hawkins in 2016 

Permanent Orienteering Courses and their usage from a “Primary School perspective”

Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer caught up with Zoe Hawkins, Teacher at Wolvey Church of England Primary School in Hinckley, Warwickshire. This was the school’s first time orienteering at Fosse Meadows and they had all enjoyed it. Zoe says that she is hoping to take the school children orienteering more regularly.

We are delighted that both you and the school children enjoyed taking part in the permanent orienteering course at Fosse Meadows. How did you initially find out about the orienteering course in which you took the primary school children?

“I found the details on the British Orienteering website. I was looking for an activity for my Class 6 children after finishing their SATs tests. I regularly walk at Fosse Meadows and had seen the markers so I thought I would look into an educational trip for the children I work with.”

How did you get your copy of the orienteering map?

“I downloaded the map from the British Orienteering website. I received it within seconds through email and printed it off at school.”

How did you organise the school group?

“We split the class into two groups of 7 children; I took one group on Monday and the second group on Tuesday. We have a school minibus and so we are quite flexible on travel. I supervised the children, along with my Teaching Assistant. The children are 10 and 11 years old from a variety of backgrounds.”

What are the benefits of schoolchildren taking part in orienteering?

“I think it is really important that the children learn outside of the classroom. They are really enthusiastic about learning about nature, which orienteering allows an opportunity for. I also wanted to teach them some map skills. This is something they really struggle with and I also wanted to get them to appreciate the countryside and what it has to offer. I also think it helps strengthen their cooperative team skills. One of my boys who has occasionally challenging behaviour thoroughly enjoyed himself, so much so that he took a map home so that he could bring his family back and get his Dad to do the course with him.”

Did you enjoy using the orienteering course set up by the local club?

“Yes. Very much so! The children were buzzing about it when they got back to school. It also helped that it was free. We are only a small class of 15 and trips are often too expensive for us to go on.”

Would you use another permanent course?

“Yes, I definitely would. I am trying to see if I can build it into the national curriculum more regularly next year. We would be interested in entering any competitions for primary school children at a beginner level if they were available.”

What words would you use to recommend permanent orienteering courses to a colleague?

“To fellow teachers, I would emphasise the importance of learning in the outside environment and how the activity helps the children build on their team skills. Reading the maps really meant something when they were trying to find their way back to the car park, which reading maps in the classroom can't emulate.”

What do you think could be done to make permanent orienteering courses more accessible?

“Nothing! I hadn't realised, up until I accessed the website that the maps were so easy to print off. I will definitely be looking at some other sites that I can take the children to next year when I have my new class.

I would like to allow the children the opportunity to take part in small groups without direct adult supervision; however, this isn't appropriate on a public site such as Fosse Meadows. For one, I think some would get lost and be hard to retrieve! I would like to know if there are any orienteering courses in places that are secure, such as the permanent courses some schools have on-site.”

Thank you for your time and for providing us with this valuable insight from a primary school perspective.

For more information or to find and download a Permanent Orienteering Course map which is near you, visit the Permanent Orienteering Course page on the British Orienteering website.

Tell us how you get on?  Why not share your experience with others?

Email: Jennie Taylor.