Schools Publishing

The education publishing market was materially impacted by coronavirus, with a huge shift to online learning and schools closing around the world in early 2020. This created mixed conditions which affected revenues in some areas such as assessment where exam centres were closed during peak season, but resulted in particularly strong performances from our online products and services. We responded by adapting our way of working and the resources we offer so that we could continue to fulfil our mission and meet the changing needs of our customers. You can read more about our efforts to support teachers, parents, and learners through the crisis here .


The market also saw the effects of the Australian bushfires disrupting supply chains; piracy continuing to be a threat across many regions; and government and institutional interventions such as the Tanzania Institute of Education banning the selling of unapproved books to private schools, a verdict from the Supreme Court of Pakistan triggering a review of textbook prices, and China’s Ministry of Education tightening regulation of the curriculum and textbooks. Despite these conditions, we achieved exceptionally good sales in Kenya in support of the new competency based curriculum, and had a very strong year in literacy sales in the UK following the introduction of the Ofsted New Teaching Framework.


Throughout 2019/20, we trained 311,335 teachers globally, published more than 32,000 educational titles across digital and print, and saw just under 20,000 users of our education apps and resources. We remained the top UK publisher in Primary and Secondary, regained top of UK Secondary Digital, and held our position as Australia’s leading Secondary English publisher.

We were pleased to continue our important research into the word gap this year, including participating in discussions with the National Literacy Trust as well as presenting the topic at the Association of School and College Leaders’ National Conference in the UK. We launched Word Sparks in the UK—a series of fully decodable books in the Oxford Reading Tree series, that aim to tackle the word gap by aligning phonics teaching and reading practice while also engaging young readers—while in Australia we established a new partnership with Skoolbo to expand our word gap research and begin creation of an Australian Oxford Children’s Language Corpus.


There has been a continued focus on the importance of efficacy and we are increasingly asked for evidence of the impact of our products and services. Offering this evidence helps to build trust and credibility with our existing customers and open us up to new market opportunities that support our mission. We developed Oxford Impact to give us a rigorous approach to evaluating impact across our education resources, and this year we were pleased to be invited to talk about this at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in Morocco. One impact study from the year, carried out in Pakistan on our professional development offering Oxford Teachers Academy (OTA), showed that all teachers who participated in the study’s in-depth interviews felt that OTA had had a positive impact on their teaching and planning through the introduction of more focused classroom activities and a move towards more student-centred teaching.

‘It has had a tremendous impact...Now we are doing more active learning and the children are progressing. Work is more inquiry-based now, and less rote learning.’

Shazia Malik, teacher at Lahore Grammar School and participant in the Oxford Teaching Academy impact study



Other education highlights this year included partnering with the government of Telangana in India to distribute our Compact English-English-Telugu Dictionary to underprivileged school students; taking on distribution of Eleanor Curtain Publishing’s high-quality literacy list in Australia; issuing new Oxford National Curriculum Tests in the UK; Oxford International AQA Exams achieving three times the number of exam entries it did the previous year, as well as introducing the OxfordAQA Gold School Scheme in China; Oxford Advantage gaining significant growth with more than 250 new schools signing up in India; being awarded the CEFR textbook Grade 5 tender for 2021 in Malaysia; and the 2019 Karachi Literature Festival receiving more than 23,000 visitors in Pakistan.