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Sky Mobile zero-rate Oak National Academy content

With the COVID sitiation meaning children are having to spend more and more time leanring from home instead of going into school, many internet providers are helping bt ‘zero-rating’ access to certain online training tools.

Sky Mobile have announced they are taking part in making this content free to access on it’s network so even with low data allowances, children will have access to education until they can get back to school.

As of today no data charges will apply if lessons from the country’s online classroom are accessed through a mobile phone from participating providers.

The full list of telecoms providers who have agreed to zero-rate Oak National Academy’s content is as follows: Vodafone, BT, O2, Three, PlusNet, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky, SMARTY, EE and Virgin Media.

Triumph for disadvantaged families as data costs to access education slashed

++ Telecoms giants ‘zero-rate’ the country’s online classroom, Oak National Academy ++

++ Announcement comes as Oak National Academy hits 100 million lesson milestone ++

Oak National Academy is delighted to announce that its educational content has been ‘zero rated’ by eleven major telecoms providers. Vodafone, O2, Three, BT and others have implemented changes so every family can access all of Oak National Academy’s 10,000 lessons to keep learning in lockdown, without being charged for data or counting towards any data limits.

As of today no data charges will apply if lessons from the country’s online classroom are accessed through a mobile phone from participating providers.

The announcement comes as Oak National Academy reaches more than 100 million lessons since the pandemic began. This term alone it has provided more than 65 million lessons across a range of subjects, and is currently seeing 2.5 million pupils accessing it each week. According to a recent survey by Teacher Tapp, nearly half (46%) of all state primary teachers set Oak lessons for their pupils.

Ofcom’s 2020 Technology Tracker found that up to 913,000 children, often from poorer families, can only access the internet using mobile data[1], making this their only means to access online education. 

Efforts to “zero-rate” have previously stalled because many educational sites use third-party content providers, such as hosting videos on youtube, vimeo, or embedding google documents. Oak National Academy has worked with their video hosting provider, Mux, to deliver a sector-leading innovative solution, with all 10,000 lessons now hosted on Oak’s domain.

The full list of telecoms providers who have agreed to zero-rate Oak National Academy’s content is as follows: Vodafone, BT, O2, Three, PlusNet, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky, SMARTY, EE and Virgin Media.

Matt Hood, Principal of Oak National Academy, said: 

“This is a hugely welcome step from the telecoms firms, as we hit the milestone of delivering 100 million Oak National Academy lessons. By working together we can now make sure that data costs are not locking our poorest families out of online learning. This will make a huge difference to some of the most vulnerable children across the country.

“I would like to thank everybody who worked so hard for making it happen. This is a watershed moment for remote learning, and a huge step forward.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“’Zero-rating’ Oak National Academy is another huge step in making sure young people can continue to have the best possible education while we all stay at home to save lives. 

“This news will be welcomed by families and schools right across the country, and builds on the 1.3 million laptops and tablets we are delivering, as well as partnerships with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families. This truly is a national effort, and I would like to thank all of the tech companies involved.

“The role that Oak National Academy has played, backed by £4.84 million of government funding, in helping children learn remotely since the pandemic began has been outstanding. Reaching 100 million lessons is a tremendous achievement and illustrates the vital impact Oak is having on children’s education.”

Jon Dahl, CEO at Mux, said:

“Video is one of the most important technologies during this pandemic because it is such a powerful and compelling communication medium. As a father of two children learning at home this year, I am proud that Mux can partner with Oak National Academy to bring free education to students across the UK.”

Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK, the body that represents EE, O2, Three and Vodafone said:
“The mobile industry has provided substantial support throughout the pandemic as part of its role to ensure people remain connected. We, therefore, welcome this agreement with Oak National Academy to zero-rate its website to provide education while schools are closed.”

Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, said:

“It’s essential that schoolchildren can take part in online learning and we’re proud to be zero-rating access to the Oak National Academy website, alongside other measures for disadvantaged families, to support pupils across the country during this challenging time.”

Paul Sweeney, Managing Director, Sky Mobile said
“During a challenging time for everyone learning from home, we’re proud to be playing a small part in helping to keep pupils connected to their classrooms, school work and teachers, whilst also providing supply-teaching parents with one less thing to worry about.”

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