Why are teachers still using Oak?

Rachel Strom

Head of School Support

With 93% of teachers telling us they’re keen to use Oak into next year†, we’re delighted that we can continue supporting schools as we move forward in our mission to deliver excellent curriculum content and support teachers’ expertise.

Amongst an outpouring of support for Oak since we shared the news of our long-term future, we’ve spotted some teachers asking a fair question: sure, it helped with disruption, but what are teachers using Oak for now?

Yes, we were founded in a bid to help keep pupils learning throughout school closures – but teachers, ever innovative creatures, have found new uses for the thousands of free, high-quality resources that were born out of our pandemic partnerships. We’re still learning more about our 200,000 weekly users, but here’s what we do know about why teachers are visiting Oak…

Screenshot of tweet from EmClemEdu at 6.05pm on May 30, 2022 saying "We've found it useful for setting cover, subject knowledge development for ITT colleagues and staff save planning time by using the ppt quizzes as their AfL. We don't use it as a prescriptive SOW but it does save time and workload."

To get a headstart on planning

We still have over 40,000 resources available for free, to support you in delivering 10,000 lessons across most subjects from EYFS to Year 11. With no logins or subscriptions required, it’s still super easy to find and download high-quality lesson materials for a vast selection of topics – with over 90% of lessons having downloadable quizzes, slides and worksheets.

So it’s no surprise that we’re still seeing teachers dip into our Teacher Hub to save time and find inspiration. In fact, teachers have downloaded over 1.2 million resources since September 2021.

Screenshot of tweet from John Hutchinson at 7:31pm, May 30, 2022 saying "I think often with primary there is a lack of clarity over what a unit should/could look like in many of the foundation subjects. So useful starting point for many mapping out commonly taught topics (and may also be able to use/adapt ppts to take pressure off resourcing)."

Schools have been using Oak to inform their curriculum structure and delivery. For each subject and key stage, we have a curriculum map that details our fully-sequenced units and lessons. These resources can be borrowed as a source of inspiration for those teachers taking on new challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.

These maps can also be used to quickly match our resources to existing plans and see where they might fit in – which is especially useful for those that are well practised in their subject. We know that department leads have been ‘topping up’ existing banks of shared resources with Oak’s resources so colleagues can easily access and adapt them to suit their needs. And why not? As Headteacher Sam Harries says, “[Oak] is there, it's free, and from what we've seen, it's quality.”

Head to our curriculum plans to see what resources are available to complement your upcoming lessons.

Screenshot of tweet from @AlwaysBeMarking at 5:29pm, May 30 2022, saying "I’ve used it for planning. E.g. prior to current school, I taught Jekyll and Hyde, rather than A Christmas Carol. It was and time-saving to have a route through teaching it, after our cold read: key themes to focus on, key extracts, and some ready-made questions/model answers."

To find foundations for a great lesson, in any topic

The time of teachers is incredibly precious – and creating lesson resources takes time.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, teachers are saving time by turning to Oak’s resources as a foundation to help structure their class materials.

Screenshot of tweet from @Deborah_maths, at 10:23pm May 30 2022 saying "I use it for teaching computing - a subject I'm forced to teach this year despite knowing very little about it. Oak Academy has been a huge help, and I've learnt so much about Scratch and other topics in the SOW."

All our resources have been crafted by experienced teachers, for fellow teachers, so you can rely on them to help you confidently deliver great lessons in any subject, no matter your specialism. Over 90% of our slides and sheets are downloadable in formats that allow you to directly edit, so you have ultimate flexibility in how you use them. If you’re taking on a new topic and wondering where to start, it’s always worth taking a look at our curriculum plans to see if we’ve got existing content for you to use.

To plan for those unplanned days

Pandemic or not, finding and setting last-minute cover for absent staff remains a consistent challenge. A sick day can mean a hurried tussle of finding cover that non-specialist staff can deliver whilst re-calculating how to keep pupils on track with your carefully sequenced plan.

Not being able to join pupils in the classroom can be frustrating, but Oak has continued to help take the pressure off, with pupils starting over 15 million lessons in our online Classroom since September 2021.

A little planning ahead before the new term can help ensure that your pupils stay on track with targeted, teacher-led lessons, regardless of what life throws at you.

Screenshot of tweet from @TweetcherT at 5:35pm 30 May 2022, saying "I use it for cover lessons and I download the PPTs for the next lesson in the sequence for when I return so that my first day back after illness is a little easier in terms of not needing to photocopy anything! I also add links to my revision resources for student to use at home."

Oak’s lessons are also easy for non-specialist staff to navigate, and handing over a structured plan can help to keep pupils engaged in your absence. “Cover teachers really like Oak” says Rachel Watkins, Head of English. “The natural pauses in the video lessons leave space for questions and discussion. This is especially powerful when the person covering is non-specialist or unfamiliar with the topic and it’s definitely improved pupil engagement.”

Screenshot of tweet from @MissDunmore1 at 10:11pm 30 May 2022, saying "We use it for emergency cover and staff absence (I’ve mapped relevant units to our curriculum already to ensure it’s purposeful) and we track which classes have covered which lessons. It’s been very useful in that sense for us. Means people aren’t having to send cover in when ill"

Of course, finding and bookmarking relevant lessons in advance can be time-consuming – which is why we’ve collated a complete lesson and resource directory for easy reference. Download your copy to quickly search and filter by your needs.

I can literally just send a link to the lesson, and that’s the entire workload.

Antonia Kielkowska, Science Teacher

We’re still learning

We exist to support teachers, and we're always looking for ways to adapt and continue doing this as best as we can.

But we can only do this with your help. Tell us what we're doing well and what we could do even better so we can keep learning. If you have any thoughts, feedback, or questions, get in touch with us.

93% of teachers currently using Oak, survey conducted March 2022.