The online classroom and resource hub Oak National Academy is to stay open for another academic year. In its first two months, it has delivered over 13 million lessons in response to the coronavirus lockdown.
It will now act as a free, optional resource for any school that wants to use it for the whole of 2020/21. This will be a unique curriculum resource – helping teachers with quality planning and teaching materials, and available as a back-up in case any pupils need teaching remotely.
This will be a unique curriculum resource – helping teachers with quality planning and teaching materials
While schools are hard at work preparing for a full return in September, there may still be a need for high-quality remote teaching resources if there are local lockdowns, or staff and pupil absences due to illness and shielding. This would require running some teaching in school buildings and some online teaching for pupils learning at home. Oak National Academy’s resources will be available to support both.
This is a different approach to the national lockdown – with what is taught in-school and back-up plans for remote teaching needing to closely match, so pupils can easily switch between each. Recognising this, and based on feedback from schools, Oak is changing to be more flexible. It will now:
- Create and record a version of the entire national curriculum available to any school, for free.
- Collaborate with a wide group of teachers and school leaders to develop lessons in the popular topics.
- Offer more flexibility, with schools able to reorder topics and lessons, to better match their own plans and curriculum.
- Give schools more time to plan, publishing a full plan of all the lessons for the year in early July and film, record and publish the majority of lessons for the entire year by September.
Creating around 10,000 lessons over the next two months, Oak will cover core subjects for Reception through to Year 11, and feature new lessons for the specialist sector. Resources will remain free and accessible for teachers to help ease their workloads, support existing quality teaching and minimise any disruption for pupils.
To make sure Oak’s offer works for as many schools as possible, it has set up a series of advisory groups, with representatives from the main teaching and head teachers’ unions as well as other groups such as the Chartered College of Teaching, the Teaching Schools Council and the Confederation of School Trusts.
Given the risk of local lockdowns, it’s sensible to have a back-up plan available to any school, to make sure children can continue to receive an education – Matt Hood, principal at Oak National Academy
The extension into the next academic year is backed by £4.34 million in government funding alongside separate support from the Mohn Westlake Foundation.
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Matt Hood, principal at Oak National Academy, said: “As we look ahead to September, we hope all teachers and pupils will be safely back at school. Given the risk of local lockdowns, it’s sensible to have a back-up plan available to any school, to make sure children can continue to receive an education. So we’re keeping Oak National Academy open for another year.
“Our online lessons and resources will continue to be free and available on any device. And through a significant collaborative, sector-wide effort, we’re going to set out a broad, flexible curriculum map for the full year by July and share the majority of the video lessons that go with it before the new academic year begins.
“Through this we hope to give teachers quality resources that help remotely and in school.
“This is an enormous task, but the teaching profession is – as it has done throughout this crisis – stepping up to the plate. They are pitching in to get it done so that we can support each other and collectively make sure that every pupil gets a good education no matter what happens.”
Oak National Academy delivers outstanding results
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “What Oak National Academy has achieved during this challenging time has been nothing short of outstanding – innovating and collaborating with leading state schools to deliver over 13 million video lessons and resources across a broad range of subjects.
“This is an invaluable programme for schools and teachers, supporting children to catch up and keep learning now and into the next academic year. I would like to thank Oak for all they are doing as we continue to tackle this pandemic.”