6th April 2001 at 01:00
(Photograph) - Three days in the life of Marsh Hill junior school, Birmingham

Snaps by Stephen Brown, deputy head of the outdoor centre

Competition among Birmingham schools for a place on a Birmingham Outdoor Education Centre course is fierce, and when foot and mouth disease forced the closure of green spaces and forests throughout the land, teachers at Marsh Hill school feared their coveted booking for three days of outdoor activities would be cancelled. But staff at the centre had other ideas.

Refusing to be beaten by the disease, they switched the focus of their activities to sites within the city. So it was that 27 Year 6 children found themselves tackling orienteering at Sutton Park and rock-climbing at a local indoor centre.

Year 6 teacher Lawrence Lambourne reckons the decisio to go ahead with the course was great news. "There's nothing much round here for the kids except estates and buses," he says. "We've done some orienteering and map-reading practice in school, but it was nice to do it for real, for kids to get their hands on a map and see where they're going, with trees in the way rather than just the playground."

* Finish line: James hands in his completed card for checking

* Day two: preparing for competition at Sutton Park

* To tie for:Alex and Matthew check their ropes

* Get a grip: Katy and Chanelle on their way up

* A long way down: the view from the top

* Ground rules: ready for the off on day one at Sutton Park

* This way: route finding? No problem

* Hole in one: Neil punches his card at the first control point

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