February 9, 2021
Mobile Operators Extend Educational Assistance by Zero-Rating Oak National Academy Website
Mobile network operators, Vodafone, O2, Three, EE/BT and others, are pleased to announce the zero-rating of educational website Oak Natioanl Academy, ensuring that 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.
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 913,000children, often from poorer families, can only access the internet using mobiledata, 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 tozero-rate Oak National Academy’s content is as follows: Vodafone, BT, O2,T hree, PlusNet, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky, SMARTY, EE and Virgin Media.
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.”
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.”
About Building Mobile Britain
Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.
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