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Delamere Forest orienteering challenge for children from three academies

Pupils map out an adventure in the great outdoors

The winning owls team: Hayden Ashton, Amelie Abraham, Sam Ward (house captain), Oliver Bowyer, Kyle Mcfadden, Owen Furmedge (house captain), William Foden, Zofia Roberts, Elizabeth White (house captain)

Intrepid pupils from three Cheshire primary academies worked together to successfully navigate a tricky orienteering challenge at Delamere Forest.

A total of 36 children from Key Stage 1 at Oak View in Winsford, Delamere near Northwich, and St Martin’s in Chester took part in the event.

Pupils from the schools were integrated into four teams - the Owls, Foxes, Hedgehogs and Squirrels – and joined forces to use a map to find checkpoints along a forest route on foot.

PE teacher at St Martin’s Academy, Shona Valentine, said: “Mixing the schools up meant that the children were working with people they had never worked with before, improving cooperation and social skills.

“Some of the children may have never been to an event like this, so working within their house groups they were able to cooperate by using a map to navigate around the forest and support one another so they all started and finished the course together.”

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She added: “Inter-house competition is a great way of encouraging and improving teamwork, the KS1 children were encouraged by their older peers and friendships were quickly made.”

Orienteering is just part of the schools’ innovative programme of competitive sport developed by teachers from the three primary schools.

They use it to raise confidence, improve fitness and teach them how winning and losing should be treated with equal importance.

The programme is designed to appeal to all pupils and includes football, netball, tag rugby and athletics.

PE teacher at Delamere Academy, Tom Freeman, explained: “Through delivering a variety of inter-house sports competitions to even the youngest children at our school I have seen first-hand the positive outcomes sporting competitions can have.

“In joining into partnership with St Martin’s and Oak View we have been able to share ideas, expertise, facilities and equipment.

“All children get a meaningful experience – regardless of their age or ability. They can learn key life skills, improve their health and develop important social skills.”

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The schools, along with Ellesmere Primary School in Shropshire and soon-to-be-opened Ledsham Manor in Ellesmere Port, are part of the North West Academies Trust.

Each school will take the lead in delivering a number of competitions throughout year, enabling children to make new connections and friendships.

PE teacher from Oak View, Laura Spaven, said: “I think an element of competition gives the children something to aim for, and helps them learn to be an effective member of a team.

“We ensure that all children can compete in some form of sport and they are all recognised for participating through certificates.”

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