Oak National Academy

Department for Education written question – answered at on 23 October 2023.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to ImpactEd's evaluation report on Oak National Academy published August 2023, what directions she has given to the directors appointed by her Department to Oak on the academy's future work programme.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to ImpactEd's evaluation report on Oak National Academy published August 2023, what assessment she has made of the value for money represented by (a) expenditure to date and (b) planned future expenditure on Oak National Academy; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

As an arm’s length body, Oak National Academy is strategically aligned with, but operationally independent from the Department for Education. Oak’s Framework document, agreed between the Department and Oak National Academy, sets out the governance framework within which Oak and the Department operate, as well as Oak’s core responsibilities.

Oak will continue to work with teachers across the country, enabling access to high quality digital curriculum resources which are free, optional, and adaptable. These optional resources will be available across the UK, helping teachers deliver a high quality curriculum, whilst also reducing teacher workload.

Oak has received government funding through the Department for the duration of this spending review period (2022-2025). Oak’s strategic goals for this period can be found within their published strategy document, which is available at: https://sanity-asset-cdn.thenational.academy/files/cuvjke51/production/13406956f18d87d1e213b4e7e8854abb7db64bc9.pdf.

The Department provides a strategic steer to Oak by way of the Chair’s letter. This, along with the strategy document and Framework Agreement, is published on the Oak website here: https://www.thenational.academy/about-us/board.

The Government has set aside up to £43 million between 2022-2025 to support Oak National Academy, a significant proportion of which will be provided directly to schools, publishers, and other organisations for the creation of resources on behalf of Oak.

As an integral part of the process to set up Oak National Academy as an arm’s length body the Department carefully considered the scope and minimum viable funding that will enable the arm’s length body to deliver its vital objectives and provide value for money. This assessment is outlined in the business case published in November 2022.

In the 2022/23 academic year, the independent evaluation carried out by ImpactEd found that Oak National Academy continues to have a positive impact on workload, curriculum and wellbeing, with around 30,000 teachers and 102,000 pupils using Oak each week on average.

As part of the wider Public Bodies Review Programme, Oak’s progress, including value for money will be factored into its two year review. The date of the next review will be in 2024 and will act as a checkpoint to ensure the body is operating effectively and efficiently.

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