Go Orienteering

School Orienteering

Orienteering in Schools
Guidelines for Orienteering in GCSE PE
British Schools Orienteering Association (BSOA)
School Games 

Orienteering in Schools

Orienteering is now a major sport in education meeting the developmental needs, both physical and mental, of pupils. This section offers support to teachers including:

Why offer Orienteering in school?

  • How many schools offer orienteering?
  • School Orienteering Competitions
  • Mapping in Schools
  • Young Leader Award
  • Guidelines for Orienteering in GCSE PE
  • Information on Orienteering Coaching Courses
  • British Schools Orienteering Association

Why offer Orienteering in School?

  • Outdoor adventure activity
  • Courses for all ages and abilities
  • Competition with yourself and others
  • Use of map and compass skills to solve navigation problems
  • Map making
  • Exercise for the brain as well as the legs

How does Orienteering fit into School?

  • As an element in the National Curriculum for PE, Geography and Mathematics
  • As an adventure activity which is cheap to set up and run
  • As a recreational activity for outdoor activity weekends
  • As a sport with school championships at every level

Why is it fun?

  • Exploring the countryside
  • Knowing where you're going
  • Running or walking along grassy forest paths
  • Looking forward to finding the controls
  • Talking to your friends afterwards
  • You don't have to take part on your own
  • Two heads sharing the map reading can sometimes be better than one

How many schools offer orienteering?

Orienteering is now very popular in all varieties of schools. In a survey in 2009 orienteering was taught in 61% of schools and placed 16 in the list of activities provided during the academic year. This does not take account of orienteering often being classed as ‘Outdoors/Adventure’ sport which is ranked 12.

Guidelines for Orienteering in GCSE PE

The Guidelines for Orienteering in GCSE PE have been produced by British Orienteering to assist teachers in meeting the requirements and terminology of the National Curriculum Orders for Physical Education for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is not intended to be a definitive syllabus for the orienteering activity area of GCSE Physical Education. The Guidelines can be found at: 

Guidelines for Orienteering in GCSE PE

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British Schools Orienteering Association (BSOA)

The British Schools Orienteering Association (BSOA) exists to promote, through information, advice and support, the development of all forms of Schools Orienteering including schools' site and park activities; navigational challenges in the countryside and orienteering competition models. Navigational skills are developed through map and compass exercises. Contact with schools is normally through PDMS, SSCo and individual teachers.

BSOA provides discounted orienteering equipment offers for schools and colleges, a network of regional contacts for advice in starting and developing orienteering within a school as well as advice and information on training courses. BSOA has increasingly developed links with the national governing body of the sport, British Orienteering, and became an Association of that organisation in 2003. It is also represented on the National Council of School Sports and through this the International School Sport Federation. The BSOA sends around 40 young athletes to the World Schools Orienteering Championships which are held every two years.

BSOA membership continues to grow and in 2006 exceeded 500 schools and colleges. It is playing a pro-active role in monitoring the progress of the British Schools' Score Championships and in promoting school leagues and other inter-school competitions. Orienteering is an important vehicle for delivering the Outdoor Adventurous Activity (OAA) within the English National PE Curriculum as well as providing the opportunity for cross-curricular links with Maths, Geography and Citizenship Studies. Likewise, it offers an exciting multi-dimensional extracurricular activity.

The BSOA is continually looking at new ideas and developments to make the sport more attractive to schools and their pupils. You can see more about the British Schools Orienteering Association and the services they offer on their website: BSOA 

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Resources for orienteering in schools are available from The British Schools Orienteering Association (BSOA) and Bishop Sport and Leisure. Please click on the logos below to see the resources they supply.