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New government-backed online school “Oak National Academy” opens its virtual doors to support pupils while schools are closed – Sector Response

Matt Hood, Principal of Oak National Academy
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@OakNational Academy is a collaboration between teachers and organisations across the sector to provide 180 hours of free lessons a week, while schools remain closed for the majority of pupils. 

There’ll be curriculum based content starting at reception and going up to year 10. 

It’s been developed in under two weeks as a direct response to the current situation with the aim of supporting schools and teachers as they support their pupils remotely. 

A national online classroom and resource hub will provide a plan of daily lessons and resources to assist teachers, as they continue to support pupils until schools re-open. 

Oak National Academy opened its virtual doors on Monday 20th April, the day term re-starts after the Easter holidays.  

Created by a group of primary and secondary school teachers in under two weeks, Oak National Academy will provide a sequenced plan of video lessons and curricular resources for teachers to use as they wish, to complement their existing teaching and planning. 

A recent poll by Teacher Tapp found that almost two-thirds of teachers want a free online curriculum resource hub to aid them and their pupils.  

A direct response to the coronavirus situation, Oak will provide 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 being backed by the Department for Education. 

Structured and planned online lessons and resources will cover core subjects from maths to art to languages. They’ll be taught by 40 teachers from some of the country’s top-performing groups of schools. The content will extend from mainstream early years reception (ages 4/5) to year 10 (ages 14/15).  Over the next few days, we’ll be working with expert teachers to create resources specifically for special education needs pupils.

Lessons will be an hour long and include a quiz, a video explanation from the teacher and a worksheet. Teachers can choose to signpost their students to all, any or none of these resources. Every lesson will be free to use for any teacher.

Oak National Academy will also host weekly assemblies led by well-known faces from a range of fields, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, delivering a message of hope to school pupils across the country in the first assembly.

 Gavin Williamson 100x100Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“To see teachers and schools come together to support each other and families across the country, is remarkable. Oak National Academy will bring the national curriculum to life and play a crucial role – alongside the BBC and, most importantly, schools themselves – in making sure every young person in the country can continue to learn and grow during this challenging time and into the future.  

“This extraordinary initiative builds on what many schools are already providing and is testament to the dedication and commitment of all teachers, heads and the wider sector.”

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

“Nothing can replace the full experience and opportunities of school. But over the past month teachers have put in a phenomenal amount of work to make education at home the best it can be. If we can, we want to help those teachers. 

“Oak National Academy is a collective response from 40 teachers who want to help their  colleagues in these challenging times. They are making online lessons and resources available that teachers can choose to draw on, to support the hard work they’re already doing, so that their pupils get  high-quality, structured learning.

“We hope Oak National Academy will be useful for schools up and down the country, and play a small part in the collective effort to make sure that every child continues to learn.”

Russell Hobby 100x100Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First said:

“It’s fantastic to see the teaching profession come together so quickly to provide a high quality, comprehensive online curriculum that builds on the brilliant work that all schools are doing during this crisis.

“Alongside this, the generous commitments to ensure that more young people have the laptops and internet access needed to make the most of these materials is hugely welcome.

“Home schooling is hard for every family, but for some it’s been impossible.

“These are important steps towards ensuring already disadvantaged young people aren’t shut out of future opportunities.”

Justin Welby 100x100The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“It’s wonderful that this Academy is growing and exists in these dark times, it’s a place of light and of commitment to the future.

“I suspect this year 2020 will stick in the mind for many reasons and there are lots of things that you will be going through.

“What do we do with that?

“For Christians, it’s all summed up in a word ‘hope’… hope means the certain expectation of something you don’t have yet but you will have in the future because it’s been promised by God.

“Hope is hope of Life, hope of purpose, hope of peace, hope of justice, equality and a good future.”

The following organisations are all supporting Oak National Academy:

  • Ambition Institute
  • Ark
  • Charles Dickens Primary School
  • Church of England
  • Confederation of School Trusts
  • Dixons Academies Trust
  • Future Academies
  • Harris Federation 
  • Inspiration Trust
  • Oasis Community Learning 
  • Outwood Grange Academies 
  • Reach Academy Feltham
  • Star Academies 
  • The Sutton Trust
  • Teach First
  • Teaching Schools Council 
  • United Learning
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