Ordnance Survey

Thousands of teachers and pupils are set to benefit from Ordnance Survey support to access University of Edinburgh education resources in 2022

For decades OS paper and digital maps have become a regular feature in classrooms across the country. To support schools and the education curriculum OS has continually worked with teachers and academic professionals to change the way that mapping is both accessed and used. Today thousands of teachers and pupils’ access and use the latest OS mapping through the popular Digimap for Schools mapping service.

Digimap for Schools was created by OS and the University of Edinburgh’s data and digital expertise centre EDINA and gives teachers and pupils access to a wide range of OS’s authoritative data and tools, from the most detailed OS MasterMap mapping and famous OS Explorer (1:25,000 scale), through to historic mapping from the 1890s and 1950s.

In recognition of the powerful effect mapping can have in bringing many academic subjects to life and supporting increased learning outcomes, Ordnance Survey will fund any school with an Ofsted 3 or 4 grading to gain access to Digimap for Schools. This is an expansion of the secondary school scheme which is now being extended to include primary schools. Any eligible primary or secondary school in England can now sign up with their Ofsted rating on the Digimap for Schools website and receive free access for two years.

David Henderson, OS Chief Geospatial Officer, said: “Providing primary schools with an Ofsted rating of 3 or 4 free access to Digimap for Schools will help even more young people to experience the benefits of exploring their understanding of the world through maps. As well as being fun, the lifelong skills that stem from such enhanced geographical awareness are fundamental to solving some of today’s biggest challenges.

“The Digimap for Schools service enables students to develop fundamental digital and data skills as well as increasing teacher confidence through the provision of valuable resources, lesson plans and ideas. Together with EDINA, we are confident that eligible schools will benefit greatly from free use of Digimap for Schools and the many associated learning resources.”

Gavin McLachlan, Vice Principal and Chief Information Officer at The University of Edinburgh said: “Our collaboration with OS, to bring geospatial data and skills to all school pupils, has been established over many years and we are pleased to deepen this partnership.

“This programme clearly delivers the University’s Social and Civic Responsibility commitment, and it’s undertaking to contribute to the wider education environment.

“The skills that pupils gain, using Digimap for Schools, have been recognised by the Geospatial Commission as key to equip them for the future and work, where understanding location data is increasingly important for all sectors.

“This programme will ensure that even more pupils are able to access the Digimap for Schools service and gain these valuable data skills.”

Thalia Baldwin, Director of the Geospatial Commission said: “Unlocking the power of location data is critical to effectively solving national and global challenges and to do this the UK needs to have people with relevant geospatial skills.

“Key to this is early educational engagement, which is why the Geospatial Commission, as part of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement, are very pleased to support the expanded roll out of the Digimaps for Schools Programme to primary schools.

“This free, easily accessible, fun resource will enhance the learning experience for both pupils and teachers and enable pupils to establish lifelong location data skills.”

Steve Brace, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning at the Royal Geographical Society said: “Map skills are a required and essential part of the primary geography curriculum.

“This initiative opens up – for free – the wealth of OS mapping to the eligible schools and the Royal Geographical Society encourages all these schools to embed Digimap into their geography lessons.”

Other developments are set to support all schools as well as publishers who supply textbooks and other resources to schools.

Under a revised licence known as the Education Service Provider Contract (ESPC), enabled by the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement, publishers can now use, for free, OS mapping within their educational books and resources. The licence provides publishers free access to a range of mapping via the OS data hub.

To complement OS’ award-winning Primary mapping guidance, two new resources have been created covering early years and secondary schooling. Working with renowned geography specialists, Dr Paula Owens and David Gardener, the free resources provide advice for teachers focusing on curriculum creation, progression and links into the Ofsted framework. These two new resources complete a suite of expert guidance covering the use of mapping across the key stages.

Dr Paula Owens said: “Digimap for Schools, supported by its wealth of free learning resources, is designed to support teachers in preparing relevant and interesting lessons that will have a real impact on pupils’ learning.

“The main emphasis is geography, but this will benefit teachers and students in a multitude of subjects including science, history, English and maths.

“It’s so intuitive, that a teacher or a pupil can easily understand and start to use the service immediately, whether they are at home or in the classroom.”

The final development set to be announced in 2022 is a new virtual work experience programme at OS. OS’s inaugural virtual programme in June 2022 will provide 250 year 10 pupils from across the country the opportunity to gain geospatial and data science work experience.

For more information on free education resources visit the Digimap for Schools website.

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