Orienteering - Activity

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Commencement briefing

Students should be briefed at the commencement of the activity on:

  • course boundaries
  • what the markers/controls look like
  • reporting to the finish line by a given time, even if the course is not completed
  • the safety bearing that will take them to an easily identifiable geographic feature such as a major track or fence line, that can be used as a handrail to guide them to the finish line
  • the need for regular hydration
  • what to do in an emergency (for example, injury, snake bite, if lost), including where staff are located or what to do if an evacuation of the area is necessary
  • rules of ‘fair play’ such as not removing or damaging controls and not calling out when at controls
  • care of the environment, including respect for wildlife, plants, trees etc.

For orienteering courses in larger areas and more remote bushland, students should participate in pairs for safety reasons, so that if one student needs help the partner can remain with the student but alert another pair to seek help.

The assembly start/finish area of the orienteering activity needs to be accessible by vehicle.

Course design

The activity boundaries should be clearly defined and communicated to students and staff, with points at which vehicle access is possible for emergency situations.

The way in which orienteering courses are designed and laid out can help to ensure students are never far from the start/finish. For example, a ‘cloverleaf design’ is a common orienteering layout.

The degree of difficulty of the course should be considered so that all students can be challenged at their various levels of ability and fitness.

Student skills

Prior to their involvement in orienteering activities students must possess the relevant levels of skill and fitness for the orienteering course.

Students should be introduced to map reading using basic symbols and features in a familiar environment, such as the school grounds, before progressing to courses with less-defined boundaries.

Start with simple courses that have controls at large distinct features (for example, track junctions or hill tops) and on handrail features (roads, fences, creeks). Only when students have demonstrated navigation and contour map interpretation skills and are confident in their use should they progress to orienteering in larger or more remote areas. Student preparation should be documented for the more challenging type of bush orienteering activities. Complete the Participant Pro forma ​ (doc - 139kb) with documented student preparation, prerequisite skills and knowledge.


Equipment must be in a safe condition and suitable for the activity.

Map and compass

The map should be carried in a waterproof sleeve. The compass should be checked before use and carried in the hand with a wrist string or carried round the neck and tucked into shirt when orienteering.


A whistle may be useful for participants in bushland environments.

First aid kits

First aid kits appropriate to the location and level of training must be carried.


Clothing is the individual’s primary protection against severe and variable weather conditions. Clothing lists need to be appropriate for the activity, the environment and the season.

To protect against sunburn use broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30+ sunscreen on all exposed parts of the body, applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Staff and students must be easily identifiable.

Staff must determine the most suitable system/s of identification, based on the assessment of the environment, students’ skills, the type of activities to be undertaken and the age and number of students.