Starting the year right this year I was lucky enough to run an intensive 2 day Orienteering G.C.S.E assessment last Monday and Tuesday 5 and 6th January, heres how it happened. Secondary school students can opt in to a Physical Education component of their exams for their last year of Secondary school, year 11 in todays language, thats 16 years old. (If you ever need to know what schools year groups are now just add 5 to the number, so Year 4 becomes 9 year olds and so on) P.E Qualification requires 4 disciplines within the subject, this is a difficult subject to qualify in as you can imagine, often kids will be really keen on Football or Running for example, but that still leaves them 3 more sports to choose. This is where Orienteering comes in. Heads of P.E have a tough job varying the sports offers available that hook kids into doing well across the board, which of course puts pressure on the departments, as Schools are increasingly pressured to produce good results as much as anything else in todays education system. My colleague at Glenmoor and Winton Academies organises Orienteering as part of Year 8 studies, on the school site and was aware of my coaching work, he called me in to arrange how to supplement the existing teaching with a 2 day assessment.
Playground and classroom Teaching
There are 59 sports on the choices given by Edexcel for assessment, we would do well to find a school that offers all those, hence why some places specialise on particular subjects suited to their area. Definition of the qualification is quoted here:- “Edexcel’s GCSEs in Physical Education: encourage students to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study and to develop an awareness and appreciation of their own and others’ cultures in relation to physical education. Encourage creativity and decision-making skills to enable students to plan effectively for performances and to respond to changing situations. Prepare students to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices. Enable students to become increasingly physically competent through being actively engaged in a range of physical activities, and to become increasingly effective in their performance in different types of physical activity and roles such as player/participant, leader and official. Enable students to develop their ability to engage independently and successfully in different types of physical activity, and to develop and maintain their involvement in physical activity as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.”
After working out the logistics of when, where, how and the numbers I wrote up a 2 day plan with a full days teaching, then a second day practice competition and an assessed competition finale. Using the school site and the convenient Slades Farm/ Talbot Woods area next door, my aim was to prepare the students for a solo competition in which they could clearly demonstrate independent decision making linked with performance. Unlike some of the other Sports, the electronic Sport- Ident system provides exact evidence of total time taken and split times on the course which allows a watertight assessment of the group. Below are the topics that were taught as part of the syllabus, we used the Permanent Orienteering Course (P.O.C.) that I opened at Slades Farm (download map here) in November 2013 for some of this training, as with many of Wessex clubs 6 courses (P.O.C.S) they are sited within Forest, Park and Urban terrains which demonstrate the 3 types of map we navigate with. Course standard was an Orange level, which included Talbot woods as well as the Park in a Butterfly loop of 3.3 Kilometres.
Map reading, 3 types of terrain Urban, Forest and Parkland Permanent Orienteering Course (P.O.C), legend- colours and symbols.
Orientating map to terrain.
Using line features as handrails.
Clothing and Equipment- safety in the outdoors.
Measuring map distances and pacing, distance estimation.
Thumb compass use and cardinal points.
Sense of scales estimating distance.
Whole school buildings and fields were used for Star activity. Fine Orienteering.
Navigate through different types of terrain, Urban- Bournemouth University, Forest-Talbot woods and Parkland-Slades Farm (P.O.C)
Slades Farm park area and P.O.C. used for star loops of 3 controls, and use of the S.I electronic kit. Rough Orienteering.
Competition details. 3.3 KM line courses. Students competed on one of 4 versions of same course- starting out in different directions, N.S.E.W. on individual challenges.
Map and area used for Wessex Club Night 07 July 2014, comparing students results with those of experienced Orienteers provides additional evidence of the learning outcomes. The club event results are here interesting to compare with the first finisher in 30.50
Results. After the teaching and the competition preparation came the exciting part for me- would the students take on all the learning and really race each other whilst navigating at speed?! Happily they did, with 5 of them completing the whole 3.3.Kilometre course of 22 Control points with 100% accuracy. I tabulated the overall results which prove the efforts made by this group, the exacting sport requires correct sequential order of courses so there were some small errors, and some who managed nearly everything but were outwitted by just a couple of locations. Hugely rewarding work and I provide the school and group with exit strategy, would really like to see these Youths coming to compete in some of our local events- giving the regular club members some challengers! Looking forward to more of this work, and opening our Wessex Club new P.O.C’s at Queens Park and Boscombe chine this year, so do get in touch with enquiries