GUIDE: How to use Oak National Academy

A step-by-step guide to getting started...

Welcome to Oak National Academy! This guide will:

  • Explain how teachers can make use of our lessons and resources
  • Provide some tips on preparing for remote teaching

Prefer to watch a video? Take a look at our video guides in this category.


What is Oak?
Oak provides a completely free, sequenced plan of video lessons and resources. Your school can use it as you wish to support remote teaching, help lesson planning and lower teacher workload.

There are nearly 10,000 lessons and resources across a broad range of subjects from Reception up to Year 11. In most subjects, there are enough lessons for the whole year. There are also 600 lessons for students who normally attend specialist settings.

Every lesson has been created by teachers, for teachers. They’ve been tried and tested: since April 2020 pupils have taken part in millions of lessons and with more pupils than ever learning with us during the January 2021 move to remote learning for most pupils.

 


Getting started

Firstly, access Oak National Academy. To do this visit thenational.academy.

The website has been designed to be easy to use for teachers, pupils and parents and is accessible on most devices, including laptops, tablets and mobiles. There are no sign-ups or logins required.

Oak is split into two main sections: one is a classroom designed for pupils and another a hub specifically for teachers.

 


Teacher Hub

Visit teachers.thenational.academy. From here, you can search our 10,000 lessons and resources.

You’ll know what’s best for your pupils and school, so our aim has been to make our resources as flexible as possible. As part of this we’ve worked with subject associations, exam boards, and a wide range of education experts to try and choose the most popular topics, meaning we can support as many schools as possible across a broad curriculum.

 


Curriculum mapping

If you’re using Oak to plan ahead, the first thing we’d recommend you do is go through Oak’s units and map them against your existing curriculum to assess where they match.

To help you do that, we have created a curriculum map for each subject to help your planning. You can access these via our curricula page or at the top of each unit for a particular subject.

Each map provides a curriculum rationale, an outline of all topic units available and how many lessons are in each. To help you, we’ve provided information on the pre-existing knowledge needed for any unit.  There is also a suggested schedule and order of lessons, if that works for you - but you are of course free to use the units and lessons in any order that suits you.

You can also find the maps within our Subject pages in Teacher Hub:


Finding lessons 

Search all lessons by keyword

Use our curriculum browser search bar to search the entire bank of lessons by keywords. This is helpful if you’re after a topic or objective that might be in a number of different subjects or age groups.

Search by key stage

Here you’ve got all stages from EYFS to key stage 4. These are by key stage rather than year group to allow a more discrete selection of lesson materials based on the different needs of pupils.

Searching by subject

By clicking on a subject area, you can then easily access each of the units available for the key stage. Click through to a unit to see an overview of each lesson. Clicking on a lesson gives you a detailed view of what the lesson entails and all its accompanying resources.

 

Lesson content and structure

Each lesson is made up of similar items – most have a multiple choice quiz, then a video explanation from the teacher, there may then be a worksheet or exercise and a multiple choice quiz at the end to check understanding.

Accessing the lesson via the Teacher Hub allows you to review each section of the lesson, seeing each element individually - the video, presentation slides, worksheet, quiz - and you can even get a transcript of the video which is great if you want to quickly skim to see what the lesson covers.

 

 


Downloading and sharing resources

Wherever copyright allows, which is on the vast majority of the 10,000 lessons, you can also download the slides and any worksheets allowing you to edit and adapt them for your class.

You are also able to share Oak lessons in a variety of ways, either sharing links to the lessons with colleagues or with your classes by copying and pasting a lesson URLs link or by posting lessons directly to your VLE by clicking on the ‘share’ button.

You can customise the lessons, choosing to share them in their entirety or part of a lesson - maybe just the video without a worksheet, or turning on or off the quizzes, is more appropriate for your pupils. You can do that easily to ensure the learning is personalised and relevant.

 
 

How to use the resources

Oak can quickly support your remote lesson planning in a variety of ways.

Every school is different so we’re seeing schools take different approaches:

  • Using it as a flexible remote plan If our lessons match yours, then when a pupil, class or more need to isolate (or are absent for another reason) - we’re seeing teachers quickly create a schedule of Oak lessons from the Teacher Hub. They identify what they want those pupils to learn, collect the links for those lessons and send them out via email to students or post them to their VLE. This way you have high quality lessons that match your curriculum ready at a moment’s notice.

  • Pick and mix remote plan Similar to the previous option, we also know some schools are using the Oak resources and lessons as a basis for remote plans, but then adapting or adding to these, for example, downloading and editing worksheets or slides. Some are also creating packs with Oak’s lessons but also other linked worksheets, assignments or quizzes on their own VLE.

  • Using to create offline packs We know a number of pupils struggle with technology access, so wherever copyright allows our slides and worksheets are now downloadable. We’re seeing schools use these to create printable packs for those students who need them.

Given the variety of curricula, we know it’s likely that our lessons won’t match your curriculum exactly. So where we don’t match there are a number of options:

  • You may wish to either create your own remote teaching resources

  • You may want to explore other online providers

Or you may consider if you want to still use our video and downloadable resources to help remote learning this year, even if they don’t perfectly match your existing plans.

 


Tracking work

We’re often asked about tracking students’ work. Keeping accessibility in mind has meant there’s no login. But this also means we can’t track individual students’ work.

We know that you’ll want to check on work completion, and what pupils have learnt. We’ve seen schools do this in a number of ways:

  • Asking pupils to take a screenshot of end of lesson quizzes with their score, and uploading these to the school’s learning management system (e.g. as an assignment in Google Classroom), or emailing them to class teachers

  • Setting their own quizzes on their learning management system, asking about content taught in Oak lessons

  • Regularly contacting parents to check how pupils are managing with Oak and speaking to the pupil to ask them questions about what they’ve been learning - this might be a good route for primary schools

  • Having a teacher available at set times to answer questions from pupils - again a good route for primary schools

  


Classroom view

Our online classroom layout is much more suited to pupils and really user-friendly for pupils and parents accessing lessons at home. Again you can search by subject or via the search bar, or see lessons in a suggested schedule that is updated each week and gives a daily schedule that guides your students through the curriculum, in order.

Each lesson builds on the previous one so they can start and then just follow through if that’s what you choose to do and it fits with your topic plans.

The classroom view exactly mirrors the corresponding lesson from the Teacher Hub. It’s just more functional for the child’s learning needs.

 


Accessibility

Accessibility is really important to us, so our lessons contain captions which can be switched on and off and English and Maths lessons at KS1 are BSL interpreted for our youngest learners.

Each lesson is designed to be undertaken by children without detailed support of parents, except for some lessons in the strand for pupils who attend specialist settings who need a little extra help.

Each lesson can be paused and tracked back to give children time to understand and complete tasks. Everything is accessible from the same website. And once they’ve finished a lesson, they can click back to your VLE or their schedule and finish any other lessons for that day.

 


Specialist offer

Our specialist lessons have all been developed by specialist teachers or therapists and sit as a separate subject area within the classroom and teacher hub.

The lessons are structured slightly differently to our mainstream offer. Each area has an introduction from a specialist teacher aimed at parents or carers, explaining how to use these lessons and topics for their child.

These explain how to use them most appropriately as we know the range of needs of students accessing the specialist content could vary significantly.

Below this introduction are each of the units. The lessons follow a similar approach – but are focused on the video and any extra instructions will be given by the teacher.

 


Other uses for Oak

Beyond pupils or classes isolating we’ve also seen teachers using Oak in innovative ways we didn't expect.

  • Homework, revision and catch Up – Teachers have begun to identify particular gaps in understanding and are pointing pupils to lessons and units to do as homework or in preparation for exams.

  • Cover – We know this year more classes have needed to be covered, often at short notice, due to a teacher isolating. Teachers are using Oak to share a link to a lesson to make life easier for the colleague doing the cover, especially when they are covering in a subject or key stage that is not their specialism. This helps the teacher continue to provide high, quality, structured learning without much extra workload.

  • Lesson planning - Some teachers are also using Oak’s resources to assist in school planning and teaching - downloading materials and tailoring them for their class.

  • CPD - We know trainee and early career teachers are missing out on lots of the classroom observations they’d usually experience during this time as there are increased restrictions. We’re hearing from schools that are using the lessons in staff training as an alternative observation resource or helping new teachers see examples of how other teachers teach a particular topic.

     


Tips to help you plan: Support and FAQs

To keep up to date with what’s happening with Oak, make sure you sign up to our mailing list and follow us on @OakNational on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Our lessons and resources are all created by teachers, for teachers. We really hope they can support you as you continue to support your pupils, through what we know is a challenging period.