The online classroom, Oak National Academy, today announced a new specialist curriculum which will support teachers working with pupils with additional needs, while schools are closed.  

The content, which will be free to access for all schools and families from next week, has been created in collaboration with more than 20 teachers and therapists from special schools across the country. 

The video lessons and resources are designed for pupils with the greatest additional needs, many of whom are not able to access remote learning independently. This means the lessons are intended for families to work through with their child. 

This curriculum will include lessons and support for a range of topics including language and communication, numeracy, and independent living and creative arts. Additional video content will cover speech and language, occupation, and physical therapies.

For example, one lesson on independent living focuses on household chores like washing up. Whilst other lessons in creative arts include making a rocket or dancing the Charleston.

In addition to the launch of their specialist offer, Oak is also introducing new accessibility features across the wider curriculum. This includes lessons signed in British Sign Language, delivered in partnership with ITV and the National Deaf Children’s Society. Subtitled lessons will also be available to support pupils with hearing impairments. 

Oak National Academy opened its doors on Monday 20th April. The online classroom provides a plan of video lessons and learning materials for teachers, as well as parents and their children. 

Since its launch, the online classroom has been accessed by over four million people across the country. 

A direct response to the coronavirus situation, Oak offers over 180 lessons a week, the equivalent of three hours a day for primary school students, and four hours a day for secondary. The online classroom has the support of various education organisations including the Sutton Trust, Teach First, the Teaching Schools Council and the Confederation of School Trusts, and is backed by the Department for Education. 

Matt Hood 100x100Matt Hood, Principal of Oak National Academy, said: 

“When we set up Oak we wanted to make it accessible for as many learners as possible, so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with teachers, therapists and special schools across the country to launch our new specialist offer. We’ve also increased access to the wider curriculum through signed and subtitled lessons.


“Schools who support pupils with additional needs are facing huge challenges at this time. No one knows or understands a young learner better than their parents and carers and nothing can replace the unique relationships between teachers, pupils and their families. However, we hope our new offer will go some way in helping teachers and families to support learners while schools are closed.”

Karen Wespieser, curriculum lead for specialist content at Oak National Academy, said:

"This has been a hard time for all schools, teachers and families. One thing that will have made it especially hard for those supporting learners with additional needs is that there are far fewer dedicated online resources. We hope that the new Oak specialist curriculum will help plug this gap"

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