Oak updates9 May 2023
Our strategy update
We are delighted to update you on Oak 2022-2025 strategy: outlining the latest on our goals, and how we’re continuing to shape Oak for teachers and the educational community. As we move forward, we will harness teacher expertise in order to continually improve and create a user-centred experience, focussed on supporting classroom teachers. This will enable the sector to make the most of our new offer, and have a positive impact on both teachers and pupils from our free, adaptable and high-quality curricula.
In addition to sharing our 2022-2025 strategy, we are also pleased to share our 2023-24 annual plan, outlining the specific areas we'll be focusing on this year to help deliver our overall strategy and shape the future of Oak.
Oak was made by teachers, for teachers: it is a fantastic example of the tenacity, resourcefulness and skill within the teaching community, and a testament to what our profession can achieve when we unite for the good of young people. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved already, and we’re grateful to all the teachers and partners involved.
But we are also aware that our contribution pales in comparison to the challenges teachers across the country have faced in recent years. That is why it is crucial that we continue to support and improve our offer of support.
2022 marked an important change to who we are: an independent public body, with the purpose of improving pupil outcomes and closing the disadvantage gap by supporting teachers to teach, and pupils to access, a high-quality curriculum.
“Due to a recent department restructure, all teachers are now expected to teach biology, chemistry and physics at KS3 regardless of their specialism. Being able to quickly and easily access the Oak resources, with specialist teachers modelling minimised the additional time spent on planning”.
We’re well on our way in shifting from a focus on independent, remote education spurred by the pandemic, to helping to tackle two major issues:
- alleviating teacher workload within lesson planning, to empower teachers with more time to focus on their pupils
- building expertise, guiding teachers and school staff towards models and advice that help professionals in the sector to improve their schools’ own curriculum.
These issues will be tackled through our three strategic goals:
- Contribute to improvements in the curriculum in schools
In 2021/22, half of Oak users reported that our curriculum and resources had increased their own confidence in curriculum design (50%), whilst 47% reported that it improved their school's overall curriculum. We want to increase this impact further.
Our new teaching resources and curriculum maps will start to become available from autumn 2023. This will be an important step on our journey to increasing our impact further. This should not be achieved through schools simply adopting Oak's curriculum, but by improving expertise, empowering schools to design what's right for them.
- More teachers and pupils choose to use our products, more often
On average 32,000 teachers and 170,000 pupils used Oak each week last year. By any domestic benchmark that is significant. Our products must always be entirely optional, but we know from our evaluations they have a positive impact, so we want to create an offer so good that more teachers and pupils trust and value our support.
We know that teachers and pupils value Oak for different reasons. We want to maximise our reach by responding to their feedback and needs, and by supporting them proactively in how to best use our curricula and resources.
We have already started to build strong relationships with a wide range of sector partners, from schools and universities to academic publishers. We will continue to develop our relationships across a wide range of subjects and stakeholders.
- Become a high-performing, well-respected part of the sector
Part of our success is down to the internal and external conditions we’ve created for ourselves. We’ve established a great culture and excellent ways of working and we collaborate within the sector and its leading organisations.
Although we’re not going from a standing start, we’ve got to recreate these internal and external conditions in a more complex organisational structure which will rightly need to be even more transparent.
We will rigorously evaluate our journey forwards, operating with transparency and an ambition for continuous improvement.
Through all our work, we commit to an approach based on four pillars: that we will always remain:
Oak’s curricula are created independently from the Department for Education, with advice from subject expert groups. Our board is publicly appointed, and our partners are selected through an open process.
Teachers know their pupils best. Oak’s lesson planning and teaching resources will always be optional and we’ll encourage them to think deeply about what curriculum choices are best for their school. This often won’t be Oak.
Oak’s teaching resources and curricula will always be fully adaptable because no model can suit every teacher or pupil in every context. We’ll provide free, expert advice regarding how to adapt and scaffold our offer.
Oak will always be free – because access to a great education shouldn’t be based on who can afford to pay.
“As Head of Computer Science, I have used Oak since lockdown and I've revised my curriculum completely... My role has completely changed as a teacher. I feel far more empowered… It's fantastic.”
We’re here to support and help build on teacher expertise, but teachers must always decide what and how to teach.