UK – Every Year 7 pupil in England, Scotland and Wales can receive a free 1:25 000 scale OS Explorer Map of their local area.
Since its launch in 2002 the initiative has had an overwhelming response. Each year, Ordnance Survey distributes over 700 000 maps to pupils through their schools. They also receive a copy of the leaflet “Map reading made easy peasy”.
Today Iain Wright and Vanessa Lawrence, from Ordnance Survey, visited Dyke House Comprehensive School in Hartlepool to hand over the maps to the pupils. Head Teacher, Bill Jordan, was also presented with a special gold covered Ordnance Survey map to mark the year that the 5 millionth map is to be given away.
Pupils from Dyke House’s Year 7 then took part in a treasure hunt at the school with a special ‘treasure map’ to help them find 11 clues that spelt out the location of a grand prize.
The free maps scheme is designed to encourage geography and environmental studies – both in and outside the classroom – helping to get pupils to explore their local community with their families and learn about practical map reading.
Ordnance Survey Minister Iain Wright said: “It’s fantastic that this year the five millionth 11-year-old will receive a free map of where they live and where their school is thanks to Ordnance Survey.
“With sat nav becoming increasingly common, this scheme encourages children to learn geography in their own backyard and develop that all important sense of direction”.
This year Ordnance Survey is offering a special prize for the lucky school that orders the five millionth map. The winners will receive a commemorative map site-centred on their school. In addition, Tony Robinson and the Time Team will host a day out for the eight pupils who win the annual free maps competition.
Vanessa Lawrence CB, Ordnance Survey Director General and Chief Executive added: “Interpreting geographic information – on a paper map or on the computer screen – is a vital skill that will help children throughout their lives.
“The Free Maps for 11 year-olds scheme helps support these skills and we are delighted to be running it again for the seventh year.”
The free maps scheme has won an official Big Tick for responsible business practice and has been shortlisted for the Merrill Lynch Investing in Young People Award.
Teachers should place their order by 30 November 2008 on the Ordnance Survey free maps website – https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/freemapsfor11yearolds.