Oak updates

22 June 2020

Making Oak more collaborative

David Thomas


With the uncertainty ahead, like all schools, we are hoping for the best but planning for the worst. So we’re keeping Oak National Academy open for all of 2020/21 as a free, optional, resource. You can read about our plans in our blog from our principal.

We have a simple aim: to be available to any school that wants us, and make it easier for them, by better aligning with their plans.

When we first started Oak, it happened in a matter of days. We’ve had feedback that that speed meant we worked with who we already knew, and were not collaborative enough. This feedback is absolutely fair. So we’re acting on it to change.

To achieve this we need to make some decisions about how we change Oak and, the trickiest of questions, what we teach.

If we’re going to be a back-up plan for many schools, these shouldn’t be our decisions alone. This should be a collaborative effort, informed by schools and experts from across the country.

But we do have restrictions, as we are again working at speed. To help planning for next year, we want to agree and publish our full year’s curriculum map by early July, and to have the majority of lessons available by September.

With the help of the Department for Education, we have set up three groups of advisory bodies. We are delighted by the generosity of such a range of teachers, academics and experts who have all volunteered to shape our work.

Sector advisory group

Our sector advisory group has been set up to help steer our overall work and make sure we meet the needs of as many schools as possible. Members include representatives from unions, sector groups and membership bodies:

  • ASCL
  • NAHT
  • NEU
  • Confederation of School Trusts
  • Chartered College of Teaching
  • Teaching Schools Council.

We’re also talking to local authorities and unions representing teaching assistants (Unite, GMB and Unison).

Curriculum advisory group

We simply can’t teach every possible option across the curriculum, so we need to make choices. To do this we’ve enlisted the support of a broad group of curriculum experts who will help steer our content and identify the most common choices for the lessons we teach.

These will be listed in our curriculum map. And, with their support, we’ll structure Oak’s content into a series of ‘building blocks’. We’ll set out clearly which of the blocks within a subject can follow a sequence and which can go in any order to give schools maximum flexibility. Our curriculum group members are:

  • Ian Bauckham CBE (chair), Chair of Oak National Academy
  • Cat Scutt, Director of Education and Research at the Chartered College of Teaching
  • Christine Counsell, Independent Education Consultant
  • Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London
  • Mary Myatt, Education adviser, writer and speaker
  • Sam Twiselton, Director of Sheffield Institute of Education, Founding Fellow and Vice President of the Chartered College of Teaching
  • Shahed Ahmed, CEO of New Vision Trust and Executive Head Teacher at Elmhurst Primary School

Subject advisors

To really dig deep into the detail of each subject, we’re enlisting the support of specific subject advisors. Teachers, subject associations, academics and other experts will help each of Oak’s curriculum leads to understand the choices to make our offer as broad as possible.

In many subjects we are also receiving support from colleagues in the Ofsted curriculum team. This doesn’t mean that the curriculum plan is “Ofsted-endorsed”, just that we have been lucky enough to learn from their experience of what is being done in schools across the country.

Our subject advisers are:

  • Alan Kinder
  • Alex Quigley
  • Anne Watson
  • Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson
  • Bennie Kara
  • Bruno Reddy
  • Carol Knight
  • Carole Kenrick
  • Craig Barton
  • Dave Gibbs
  • David Shanks
  • Debbie Morgan
  • Emma McCrea
  • Fiona Moss
  • Gilroy Brown
  • Jenny Barksfield
  • Julien Violette
  • Katharine Burn
  • Lauren Mcleod
  • Lauren Thorpe
  • Lincoln Abbotts
  • Liz Moorse
  • Lucy Marcovitch
  • Margaret O’Shea
  • Marianne Cutler
  • Mark Enser
  • Matt Burnage
  • Michele Gregson
  • Paul Anderton
  • Rachel Hartley
  • Rob Orme
  • Ruth Walker
  • Steve Brace
  • Steve Rollett
  • Teresa Cremin

Specialist advisory group

To help us develop our specialist offer, we’re enlisting the support of a specialist advisory group. We’re delighted to have experts from across the sector to input and feed into our specialist curriculum.

Our specialist advisers are:

  • Angela Holdsworth
  • Margaret Mulholland
  • Simon Knight
  • Susan Douglas