Oak National Academy: What is the Oak National Academy? What resources do children get?

Speaking during yesterday’s press conference from Downing Street, Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson said he wouldn’t be able to “give parents a date” as to when schools may re-open. This follows Michael Gove quashing rumours that schools were to open again on May 11. But he also announced a new form of educational resources.

What is the Oak National Academy?

From Monday, April 20, parents will be able to access up to 180 lessons a week.

The lessons will provide education for all school year groups from Reception through to year 10 and will be taught via a new Government-backed online platform, the Oak National Academy.

The scheme, which has been set up by teachers and funded by the Department of Education, is set to provide video lessons for students, with each lesson arriving with a quiz and worksheet to go with it.

Announcing the plans on Sunday, Mr Williamson said: “Tomorrow many children should be going to school for the first time after a two week break.

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“But these are not normal times and we’re asking you to stay at home. Thank you for all the sacrifices that you’ve had to make.

“I want nothing more than to see schools back, getting them back to normal, making sure children are sat around learning, and experiencing the joy of being at school, but I can’t give you a date.”

The Ambition Institute say each lesson will last one hour, and the portal will provide an equivalent of three hours of lessons a day for primary school students and four hours a day for secondary schoolers.

Oak National Academy will provide lessons in a broad range of subjects, including maths, English, art and languages.

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Mr Williamson said: “I want to thank all the teachers and staff who are working so hard to ensure vulnerable children and this of critical workers are supported at this time.

“Schools will remain closed until the scientific advice changes, which is why we need to support the incredible work teachers are already doing to ensure children continue to receive the education they deserve and need.”

What resources do children get?

Some children will also receive laptops and tablets in an effort to help them do their schoolwork from home.

The Government website states: “Disadvantaged children across England are set to receive laptops and tablets as part of a push to make remote education accessible for pupils staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

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“Devices will be ordered for children in the most vital stages of their education, those who receive support from a social worker and care leavers.

“The Government will also provide 4G routers to make sure disadvantaged secondary school pupils and care leavers can access the internet – where those families do not already have mobile or broadband internet in the household.”

Schools and colleges will be able to keep the laptops and tablets once they have reopened, meaning they will be playing an invaluable role in enabling children to learn while schools are closed.

Mr Williamson added: “By providing young people with these laptops and tablets and enabling schools to access high-quality support, we will enable all children to continue learning now and in the years to come.

“We hope this support will take some of the pressure off both parents and schools by providing more materials for them to use.”

Oak Academy is the latest in a broad range of support and resources available for children and parents.

Many suppliers are making resources, both online and hard copy, freely available to schools.

This week, the BBC is launching its own education package across TV and online, which are set to feature celebrities including Danny Dyer and David Attenborough among others, and 200 of the country’s best teachers, in a bid to help keep children learning and support parents.

The Government website adds: “While families stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus, some children and young people may face increased risk of abuse or neglect at home – or from strangers online.

“The Government will make funding worth £1.6million available immediately for the NSPCC to expand and promote its national helpline for adults.

“While schools and social workers remain at the forefront of work to protect vulnerable children, including by supporting them to attend school, expanding the NSPSS Helpline will mean many more adults know how and where to raise concerns and seek advice or support about the safety and wellbeing of any children they are worried about.”

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