Last Friday was the culmination of several weeks organising an Inter-schools competition at Upton Country Park in Poole with Katrina from P.E.D.D.S.A.( Poole and East Dorset School Sport Association) Im celebrating this here as anyone who works with schools will testify – its hard work but worth all the trouble for the outcomes! 140 youngsters from 8 Dorset schools each took part in a score event between 10 A.M and 2.30 P.M. With help from Wimbourne club coaches , I set up a course of 25 controls and provided all the electronic S.I kit needed to allow a record of everyones achievements. Last Friday didn’t dawn well weather wise and I rode fully loaded on the Surly to get this set up- after so much correspondence there was no turning back and happily it did dry out by 10 A.M for the first groups arrival from Broadstone Middle. We welcomed schools from all over and gave them introductions before setting them off to race- each other and the other schools. With an age range from 9- 18 abilities were wildly different. Some of the youngest from Poole hadn’t ever been to their Country Park and needed lots of coaching, whereas the oldest Academy kids were straight off and included their results as part of their ongoing involvement in D.o.E Award activities. Schools included were Broadstone Middle, Canford Heath Juniors, Oakdale Juniors, St Josephs, Magna Academy and from a little further afield Ferndown, Allenbourne and St Michaels- well done to them all for making the off-site visit and the day such a success. Teachers star of the day award goes to Mrs Laishley from Canford Heath Juniors who ran the course too- finding all controls in 28.54! Awesome. We are still collating overall results and Ill update them later.
A super-productive couple of weeks working with young people on various Orienteering activities, midweek round- up here including returning to Talbot Juniors whom I worked with from 09- 13 as Bike It Officer on cycling. Schools are enjoying teaching Orienteering as it is attractive to the pupils that might be uninterested in traditional sports like football. Maps and exploring, map reading are inherently interesting activities, and the independence and confidence gained from completing solo activities really benefits childrens development. Talbot brought me in to lead an introduction activity in which I coached a class of year 5s on some basic direction training, then a paired activity where finding a set of control markers gave them an anagram of a type of bird- which they then figured out the name of, birds were- Nightjar, Swift, Grouse and Lapwing. Great time had by all and a pleasure to work with the school again. Specific mapping by my club Wessex, and the provision of session plans and advice has given the school lots of ideas for their own teaching of O sport.
My second G.C.S.E, P.E assessment for Orienteering also ran on the 09/10 March too. Students at year 11 (15/16 years old) from St Aldhelms Academy Poole were given a day of activities and preparation for a solo assessment on day two. I wrote about the first one from January of these here. Results weren’t quite as quick as the Winton- Glenmoor group, but were clustered closer together with the fastest being around 40 minutes over the 3.3 Kilometre course. We hope to see some of both these groups at our local events soon. With the Dorset School Champs coming up at Moors Valley on May 08, with already 22 schools entered into this Orienteering sport is alive and well in Dorset, and if you like the sound of teaching young people life skills, the ability to explore and gain independence do get in touch.