It’s been an academic year like no other, but I think we can all agree that teachers and families have done an exceptional job supporting children during school closures.
With the re-opening of schools for the autumn term, we all know it’s important to help children re-establish routines and be supported with any learning missed, especially those who normally attend a specialist setting or who have SEND.
About Oak National Academy
Oak National Academy was set up by teachers at the start of the coronavirus lockdown to support schools and families with remote teaching. As well as creating a full mainstream teaching offer, we offered a limited range of specialist lessons. We were delighted to see these being accessed around 100,000 times last term.
Teachers and families continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Many teachers and families are already experiencing challenges with children and classes having to isolate, often from the start of the new school term. I want them to know that they aren’t on their own and we just hope that Oak can provide at least some support.
600 specialist SEND lessons
I’m excited to share we’re expanding this specialist offer for the full 2020/21 school year. It has been a privilege to create this in partnership with a wide range of expert specialist schools, teachers and therapists from across the country.
Oak’s offer now contains over 600 free, high-quality specialist lessons and resources. Each lesson is designed to help teachers to provide more accessible learning opportunities for families with children at home, as well as help with lesson planning in the classroom.
Accessible and ambitious learning opportunities
Here at Oak, we spent a lot of time listening to feedback from teachers and families who used our resources last term.
Teachers told us, for example, that they wanted greater flexibility and the ability to download and edit lessons. So we’ve made that change, and you can now edit, download and pick and mix lessons from across the specialist and mainstream offering. This enables teachers to better tailor to and support children.
Whilst our initial lessons were aimed at children, we heard it was usually a parent who would support, translate and adapt the activity. We also heard heart-warming stories of siblings' support too. This year’s lessons, therefore, now include a wider range of resources for families to support learning. These include activity cards and downloadable resources, which can be used as a standalone material or to compliment the video lesson.
This invaluable feedback has enabled us to improve and make our specialist offering more inclusive, flexible and ambitious.
A new teacher hub
The full offer includes:
- Access to over 600 specialist lessons alongside thousands of mainstream lessons, easing teacher planning and allowing teachers to ‘pick and mix’ to meet needs across mainstream and specialist content.
- Download and edit lesson slides and worksheets, wherever copyright allows, so teachers and families can tailor to children
- New masterclass sessions in Creative Arts and Physical Development, and more lessons structured around Early Development, Building Understanding and Applying Learning
- A wider range of family-focused resources to complement school learning
- Support for every child with captions on all lessons, use of Makaton and printable resources for those without devices.
Specialist and SEND teachers and families have been doing brilliant work to support children in recent months. With our new specialist curriculum we hope they can now draw on extra support to make sure no child is prevented from learning and developing.
An example of the offering
Here are four short videos showing examples of the new content. Find the suite of lessons here. You can also watch/listen to the recent SNJ in Conversation video/podcast about our new curriculum with me, Tania and Renata at the end of this article.
- SNJ in Conversation: Oak Academy’s improving SEND offer with Anne Heavey
- SNJ In Conversation: SEND training for SENCOs and school leaders with Anne Heavey and Hannah Moloney
- Improving SEND provision: Co-produced resources for the whole school from Whole School SEND
- What’s wrong with Oak Academy’s specialist curriculum?
- Coronavirus and SEND Education: 75% of schools ignored Government risk assessment guidance during the lockdown
- Identifying SEND in the Early Years: Partnership and collaboration is key
- The scandal of the children with complex needs told they're not welcome back at school
- Strategies to support expressive language
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- Introducing Oak National Academy’s new online specialist curriculum - September 11, 2020
- Improving SEND provision: Co-produced resources for the whole school - June 12, 2020