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South Yorkshire Schools Orienteering League

The South Yorkshire Schools Orienteering League aims to provide school pupils with the opportunity to learn and develop map-reading skills while improving their fitness in a fun, competitive and challenging sport. The league runs from September to June.

The league is run by South Yorkshire Schools Orienteering Association which is an association between South Yorkshire Orienteers and teachers in Sheffield.

League Flyer

Click here to download the flyer for the South Yorkshire Schools Orienteering League. If you need lots of copies please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can send you some.


There will be 9 events spread over the year. All events will be on a Saturday afternoon. The date and details of each venue are available on the SYO and SFSS web site. Events will be open to all schools in South Yorkshire but venues will be within Sheffield and will use a variety of terrain ranging from urban parkland to forests.


12:30 - 15:00. Pupils complete an entry form and receive a map with the course and an electronic chip to record their times.

Start Times

12:30 - 15:00. Pupils start at 1 minute intervals with start timesfrom 1pm to 3pm. Please note that courses close at 3:30pm and control points will start to be collected from this time so it is important that people start with enough time to complete their course.


It is not necessary for the school to enter pupils. Ideally before running for the first time please register online using the register link on the left. You will then get a registration number which can be used at the event. You are also able to do this at the event but it means more work for us and spelling mistakes!

Pupils should enter as an individual. If they are inexperienced then they they are welcome to run with a friend. They should register separately and the time for each runner will count, even if they stick together throughout the course. We do expect that in the spirit of the competition that once they are more experienced they should run individually. If a more experienced person is accompanying a first timer then please read the section below on 'Assistance on the Course', in essance they should be there for reassurance not to show someone where to go!


Schools are not required to pay any fees to enter the league. Schools that are members of the Sheffield federation of School Sports (SFSS) will have their entry covered by the federation. Pupils from other schools will need to pay an entry fee of £2 on the day to cover costs.

Primary Competition

Y4 and Y5 will compete on the White course, normally between 1 and 1.5 km. Y6 will compete on the Yellow Course normally between 1.5 and 2.5 km. Both courses will involve straightforward navigation and are designed so that they can be completed without the use of a compass. Children can expect to take between 10 and 40 minutes to complete the White course; between 20 and 40 minutes on the Yellow course. Y4 is the youngest age category however Y3s may compete with Y4s.

Secondary Competition

Y7 pupils will compete on the Yellow course, along with Y6s. Y8 and Y9 will compete on the Orange course and Y10 and above will compete on the Long Orange course. The Orange course is around 2.5km in length and the Long Orange course is around 3.5km. Both provide a greater navigational challenge. Skilled navigators can risk taking shorter routes away from paths and line features while there will usually be easier, safer but longer routes between controls. Very skilled juniors might complete the course in just over 30 minutes while inexperienced participants can expect to take an hour or more. Inexperienced participants should therefore arrive early so they can take the earlier start slots. A compass, and knowing how to use one, is recommended. Youngsters tackling the Orange or Long Orange course with no previous experience of orienteering will find it immensely challenging, and should be prepared to be patient as they develop their skills.

Where the venue doesn’t allow a Long Orange course to be planned Y10s and above will run the Orange course

Parents’ Competition

Orienteering is renowned as a family participation sport. Other family members are welcome to take part. The cost for adults is £5. (Any adult who is already a member of South Yorkshire Orienteers, or who joins during the year, will get a £1 discount.) Adults may run any school league course or any other course on offer.

Assistance out on the Course

Parents, guardians etc are encouraged to accompany beginners on the course. In orienteering this is called “shadowing”. Anyone shadowing a child should avoid ‘doing it themselves’ with the child in tow in an attempt to get a fast time. This achieves nothing as the child gets no sense of achievement and learns very little. Instead, shadowers should allow the child to do all the navigation themselves, and only help out where a mistake has been made or the child asks for help.


Seriously lost children are a rarity in orienteering. However, anyone getting disorientated should not wander about aimlessly. Instead, get on to the nearest track or path and remain where you are and you will be found! If you see a control marker not on your course, remain with it and ask another passing competitor for help. Carrying a whistle is recommended.


Each participant is given an electronic timing chip at registration. This is used to record the time taken and to show that each control has been visited. The chip is downloaded to a computer back at registration after completion of the course.


Points will be awarded depending on finish position, with the winner scoring 100, 2nd scoring 99 etc.

League Table

The league table will be updated after each event. An individual's best 5 results will count to their overall standing. Prizes or trophies will also be awarded to individual winners. The School Team competition will be decided by adding a school's best 4 scores from the individual results


Results will be published on the SFSS Web Site and on the South Yorkshire Orienteers Web Site on the Sunday after each event, along with detailed ’split times’ for each runner showing the time taken for each control. This makes it possible to work out how much time you might have lost through either getting lost or making a bad route choice.


More information can be obtained from:

  • South Yorkshire Schools Orienteering Association Secretary, Paul Ryan, Hunters Bar Junior School. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
  • South Yorkshire Schools Orienteering Association Chairman, Colin Best South Yorkshire Orienteers. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Last modified on Wednesday, 04 September 2019 20:47