Orienteering in the School Games

From September 2012 Orienteering is a part of The School Games.  The School Games is made up of four levels of competition that provide a pathway for young people to progress and develop.  The School Games provides a great opportunity to get more young people than ever before enjoying the benefits of Orienteering. Formats have been created for Primary and Secondary Intra and Inter School competition - these are listed below and downloadable supporting resources (such a simple printable maps) are provided to help you deliver our formats.

Why Choose Orienteering?

  • From Pitch Orienteering that takes place on a standard football pitch to the traditional Orienteering Score Competition - the formats are simplified, progressive and varied so can provide a fun and exciting introduction to the sportas well as offer new ways of running the same competition.
  • Regardless of your type of pupil, their previous experience, or the experiences of your teachers/staff the Orienteering Formats can be tailored to any area (from indoor to your school grounds or local park) and cater for mapped or non-mapped sites.
  • Finding points and making choices develops self-belief, respect and team work and boys and girls can compete together so the sport is ideal for mixed abilities and various ages.
  • Orienteering has a lot to offer in terms of raising achievement and numeracy and is great for meeting the developmental needs, both physical and mental, of pupils.  Orienteering is also a cross curricular activity that can support subjects such as Maths, PE and Geography.  
  • Case Study
  • School Games Pilot in Stockport

The Formats and Supporting Resources

Just click on your chosen challenge or competition to see more and download supporting resources such as maps and control cards. 


School Games Formats           
(Includes rules, instructions, pictures)

Downloadable Resources                        
(Includes maps, course examples, control cards)

Primary Intra - Level 1
challenges and competitions

Counting Cones Format

Counting Cones supporting resources

Matching Symbols Relay Format

Matching Symbols Relay supporting resources

Netball Numbers Competition Format

Netball Numbers supporting resources

Team Score Competition Format

Score supporting resources

Secondary Intra - Level 1 traditional, modified and alternative competitions

Pitch Orienteering Format

Pitch O supporting resources

2 Person Star Relay Format

2 Person Star Relay supporting resources

Score Competition Format

Score supporting resources

Inter School - Level 2 and 3 Recommended Competition

Team Score - years 5/6/7

Score supporting resources


Individual Score - years 8/9/10



  1. What is the format of the priority competition? At Inter School Team Score for Years 5/6/7 and Individual Score for Years 8/9/10 (although a multi-sport approach featuring use of the other formats as a warm up/introduction is recommended). 
  2. Is there a progressive competitive pathway for this or would the county final date be flexible depending on our local need?  Our National Competition take place is Oct/Nov (more details can be found on the British Schools Orienteering Association web site www.bsoa.org) so schools/SGOs/LOCs can be quite flexible however we suggest March – July. 
  3. Who would be available to run the county final itself, someone from British Orienteering or a local club?  There would be limited support from British Orienteering with regards to the running of the local/county finals but our local clubs/coaches may be in a position to provide this delivery support http://www.britishorienteering.org.uk/page/find_a_club 
  4. How many young leaders would be needed to help run a district or county final and how long does the Score course take?  The aim is for teams or individuals to visit as many controls marked on a map as they can in a set time (recommended 20 mins for Y5/6 and 30mins for Y7 - for Individual Score at years 8/9/10 45min onwards) but this is often dependent on the size of the mapped site (e.g. school ground or local park). A multi-sport approach featuring use of the other formats as a warm up/introduction is recommended especially for schools new to the sport.  There are various roles for YLs including timekeeping, Scorers (checking how many controls have been visited), Marshalls (positioned at out of bounds points/places of danger), Officials (to manage start and finish area) and 6 – 12 depending on size of site, number of teams etc. 
  5. What costs would be involved in the running of a county final? The costs would likely be determined by the club if supporting but are negligible – an expense is likely if you wanted a site mapped. 
  6. Is there any support available for local schools who wish to get involved so they can continue Orienteering back on their school site? Teacher (16+) and Young Leader (14-19) training is available see Orienteering Training Courses.  British Orienteeringalso has a free online registration system for schools to receive additional up to date information, newsletters and resources. 
  7. How do the Orienteering formats support leagues or B/C/D teams?  Schools can bring multiple teams and if competing individually athletes can count as scorers within a school team (as in Cross Country).  Agreement can be made that B, C, D teams can be brought. 
  8. What club exit routes are available? Our Community Orienteering programme provides the School - Club link of weekly evening training and activities and Clubs also very often provide schools leagues/events already at a local level. 
  9. Who do I contact for more information?  Contact your NGB Development Officer or email schools@britishorienteering.org.uk for Orienteering Training Course requests or advice.


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