Oak National Academy launches virtual national curriculum for PE

The curriculum, created in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, aims to mitigate the decline in children’s activity levels since the start of the pandemic

Oak National Academy has added a virtual national curriculum for physical education (PE) to its teaching offer.

Created in partnership with children’s charity, the Youth Sport Trust (YST), lessons cover units across games, dance, gymnastics, athletics, outdoor and adventurous activity, and health and fitness.

The initiative bids to mitigate the decline in children’s activity levels since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this month, a survey from Sport England found that almost a third of children were classed as inactive as a result of lockdown restrictions.

“Now is a crucial time for physical education in schools, given its potential to improve young people’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing in light of the pandemic,” the chief executive of YST, Ali Oliver.

“It is vital there is access to high quality lessons which can be delivered within the current government guidance, as well as supporting online materials designed to ensure young people don’t miss out on crucial physical development and fitness at this time.”

“[This is] the first time that a national curriculum for PE has been made available virtually. Schools are having to work harder than ever to meet the needs of both home- and in-school learning, as a result of COVID-19.”

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Oak National Academy is itself a response to the pandemic, created by a group of primary and secondary school teachers in less than two weeks before launching in April 2020, with the aim of delivering a virtual version of the entire national curriculum.

Despite the ad hoc nature of its beginnings, within two months it was announced that the government was making a £4.3m investment to keep the academy open for the whole of the 2020/21 academic year.

This month has seen a significant broadening of its offer. As well as PE, the e-learning portfolio now also includes drama, design and technology, languages, the arts, and relationship, health and sex education.

“The lessons are fun, relevant and engaging, and ready for teachers to use from the moment they click onto them,” added Oliver.

The resources can be accessed via www.thenational.academy.

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