The Covid-19 pandemic wrought monumental changes across society, and learning was no exception. 

From the first lockdown, the vast majority of parents and guardians assumed a central role in their child(ren)’s education as the classroom moved online. In effect, home-schooling became mainstream.

While many parents welcomed the return to schools when allowed, some were doing it long before the pandemic and will continue their role as teachers.

The OAK National Academy pilot, which provided curriculum content, approved by teachers and centres, should set a benchmark for home-schooling policy after the pandemic.

How can home-learning be supported?

Following the imposition of a national lockdown and parental concern at taking the place of teachers, the government was forced to consider how to provide families with access to a high-quality, online curriculum. This month, the Education Committee re-asserted its concerns over home education, questioning whether the right pupils are being removed from the classroom for the right reasons.[1]

In April 2020, the Oak National Academy launched as an online remote learning platform. Designed by 40 teachers from high performing schools, the site delivered the equivalent of 180 hours of learning per week for pupils from Reception to Year 10 across the National Curriculum.[2]

The platform also had in-built formative quizzes,  providing insight into how the pandemic and the transformation of teaching approaches were affecting pupils’ academic progress. [3]

Eighteen months after its launch, the platform was used by over half (54.1%) of state-school teachers to deliver over 110 million lessons.[4]

In this way, and in a very short space of time, the pandemic brought forward a radical change in the home learning environment. The platform represents a key way to address concerns around learning outcomes for home-schooled children after the pandemic.

Current government guidelines outline minimum teaching hours expected from parents and carers – a ‘full time education’ from the age of 5, equating to 35 hours per week – but they do not need to follow the national curriculum.[5] This could mean students are unprepared for formal assessments and qualifications, which may explain why home-educated students are three times more likely to be not in education, employment or training (NEET).[6]

Platforms such as OAK Academy can provide parents with a reliable indicator into their child’s progress, and alleviate the challenges of devising, and marking, assessments at home.

Standardising learning materials help home-learners know they have had the same training as their school-taught peers and are therefore sufficiently-skilled to enter exams.

Lessons for the future

The pandemic necessitated changes to ensure pupils had access to a high-quality education outside of the classroom.

The government’s discussion on creating a home-schooling register and developing the data on learning outcomes will likely highlight the secondary problem surrounding the academic barriers home-schooled pupils face, stemming from a lack of guidance on what they should learn.

The launch of the OAK National Academy pilot may provide a model of ways to support a high-quality curriculum at home, now and in the future.

[1] Education Committee (2021) Strengthening Home Education: Government Response to the Third Committee’s Third Report.   p.1.

[2] Department for Education. (2020, April 19). New major package to support online learning.

[3] Booth, S. (2021, 28th February) Oak Academy mulls use of quiz results to contribute to learning loss research. Schools Week.

[4] Hood, M. What impact did Oak have in 2020/21? | Oak National Academy (

[5] Government website. Educating your child at home [Guidance]

[6] Children, Schools and Families Committee. (2006).  The Review of Elective Home Education. vol.2. p.26.