IRISH SCHOOLS’ ORIENTEERING CHAMPIONSHIPS
ISOC Organiser Guidelines.
These guidelines have been produced to assist organisers with ISOC and Regional events. They are a working document and will be updated/amended each year in light of ISOC organiser’s experiences.
The ISOC competition is held midweek during the first two weeks before or after Easter. The date to be determined by the IOSG at their fixtures meeting. It will rotate on a regional basis. Regional Events will be held before the ISOC.
The area should be selected for its suitability for the event. It is desirable that the venue be near a major city or road network, so that the event may stimulate interest in orienteering within urban schools and provide best access to schools throughout Ireland. Parking (expect more coaches and mini buses than for normal events) is a major issue for consideration. The assembly area should be preferably easily accessible from parking. Toilets should be available where feasible. Entrants must be notified in advance if they are not.
3) Organising Committee
An organising team or committee should be set up to run the event. It could comprise of the following: Course Planner, Course Controller, Event organiser, Club Liaison (where necessary), Child Protection Officer, Safety Officer, Communications Officer, Treasurer. Some of these roles may double up. Allocation of roles are suggested in appendix 1.
This event has very specific and different safety risks, because of the relative inexperience and young age of the competitors. It is imperative that a safety officer is appointed for the event. Issues that he/she will need to be responsible for, or otherwise consider, may include the following:
a. provision of adequate first aid support
b. completion of a risk assessment for the event (appendix 2)
c. the preparation of, and if necessary implementation of, a search plan to locate missing competitors
d. the provision of “ask me” helpers in the area, to assist competitors. Such adults (or school helpers) must be readily identified by competitors, so that there is no risk of them engaging with members of the public. These should be under the guidance of the Child Protection Officer.
It is a challenge to organise ISOC within a budget which is consistent with the need to keep entry fees as low as possible and the need to provide the facilities appropriate to the event’s status as a championship event. Costs that may need to be considered are: Medals/Prizes; Certificates of Completion (Primary schools only); Publicity; Toilets; Sponsorship
6) Advertising the Event
The basic details of the event and results should be advertised on the web sites of the IOSG, IOA and organising club or RSA. Local and National press should be informed, both after and during the event.
There is always a conflict between the need for the organiser to receive entries well in advance of the event date for allocation of start times and map ordering, and the need for schools to enter as late as possible to give them time to confirm their competitor list. Thus, late entry is likely to be a significant problem. However, the event organisers are requested to:
a. set the closing date for entries as late as is reasonable
b. accept, and let it be known that they will accept changes of named entrants up to and on the day of competition where substitutes/changes of partner necessary for good reason, e.g. due to illness;
c. issue entry and event details (including provisional course lengths and standards of difficulty) as early as possible;
d. send entry details to all schools who entered previous events;
e. inviting other schools to enter where they reach the appropriate standard;
f. make clear that Competiton rules (appendix 3) and the Countryside Code are as widely available as practicable so that those in charge of school teams are fully aware of them. (IOSG web site)
g. ensure that extra competitors entered in excess of the eight per age class allowed are recorded as non-competitive
The courses should be planned to be technically easier than the corresponding IOA age class courses and geared to produce reasonable finish times for all competitors, not just for course winners. They should be planned to test basic techniques for the age classes in question, but also to try to "contain" time lost through mistakes by the use of appropriate checkpoints and catching features. (See appendix 3)
It is likely that the event will require more than one start to cater for different courses, but if possible they should be in the same area.
a. Primary Schools should have additional support from experienced officials to provide help and reassurance at and near the start.
b. The start area (s) should be well taped to provide a larger than usual pre-start area and provide a good viewpoint for staff, parents, supporters and photographers to see each start in action.
c. Ensure parents and teachers are excluded unless assisting with the organisation, by manning the way into the start(s) areas.
d. Primary school pupils must be able to pick up their maps on arrival at the event and Secondary School pupils at –3 to avoid confusion in start lanes and to maximise confidence from the beginning of the course.
e. Starts may need to open late to allow for those travelling a long distance. This should only be by arrangement.
10) Competition area
Extra experienced adults should also be provided in the competition area where feasible to provide reassurance. They should be under the guidance of the Child Protection Officer.
Ensure that there is a good, safe, run in from the last control, providing good views for spectators. It should be well taped off. In the interest of fairness.
a) The results system must be able to deal with the special requirements of the schools championships.
b) Electronic punching has been used successfully, using all hired cards which were given out in the start area, regions and clubs were prepared to lend the cards on no fee basis for this event. Schools should be informed that any lost SI cards must be paid for.
c) A supply of Si cards can be borrowed from the Development Officer and/or organising club.
13) Prize giving
It is advisable to nominate a helper who is responsible solely for this task.
There should be perpetual trophies for winning schools in different school categories. Medals/Prizes should be presented to the first 3 in each class and each team member of the first 3 school teams. Note that some of the medals may also be individual winners.
A key to putting on this event is to create a special atmosphere - it must not be just another ordinary O event. For some this is the most important event of their orienteering lives. The following will help if you can provide them:
a) Parking, assembly, start and finish close together and to yourselves.
b) Something extra for those who have finished competing. A simple quiz or competition. A children’s playground near to the assembly area has proved very popular in the past.
c) Signs should be professional - no scrawled hand written signs.
d) Use masses of tape to define areas.
e) Sponsors’ banners in prominent places.
f) Something special touch.
g) A good run in - enable spectators to get right up to the tape.
Adopt a principle of no litter-bins (except close to a drinks handout) but have lots of nice notices to take all litter with you.
If possible a map of the area, not necessarily the competition version, should be posted on the relevant website and in the assembly area.