Statement on equality and diversity

The OU was founded to open up higher education to all, regardless of background or circumstances. Our mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas – and as such, equality and diversity are at the heart of everything we do. Our continued dedication to social justice and equality of opportunity is embodied in a set of commitments and principles:


  • We are committed to ‘making it happen’. We will focus less on documenting the actions we take and more on measuring the outcomes we achieve.
  • We are committed to providing an inclusive culture in which all individuals are encouraged to participate fully.
  • We will treat individuals with dignity and respect and provide an environment that is free from prejudice, bullying, harassment and unlawful discrimination. We will take action to challenge inappropriate behaviour and discriminatory practice.
  • We recognise that different people and groups have diverse and multiple needs. We will make reasonable adjustments and proportional changes to our processes and procedures in order to meet the needs and circumstances of our students, customers, staff and partners.
  • We will ensure that legislative requirements or other demands do not create a hierarchy between different aspects of equality and diversity in our community.
  • We will provide our staff and associates with the knowledge and skills they need to understand and meet their equality and diversity responsibilities.


The following principles guide our equality and diversity work:

  • We value diversity highly. We recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, opinions, histories, knowledge and culture and that this difference brings great strength.
  • We do not discriminate based on a person’s age; disability; family circumstance; gender; political opinion; race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; socio-economic background, trade union membership or other distinctions.
  • We recognise that patterns of inequality in society are reflected in every organisation, and that under-representation and differences in outcomes for our students and staff need to be challenged through programmes of positive action.
  • We understand that actual or perceived differences in beliefs or values can arise between different groups in society. We respect the rights of individuals and groups to hold their own views and values, but will not allow these to be manifested in a way that intimidates or humiliates, or is hostile or degrading to others.
  • A successful equality and diversity strategy requires the active support of the entire university community: staff, students, customers, partners and contractors. Commitment, involvement and good practice is therefore encouraged and expected from the entire community in the implementation of this strategy.

To obtain a copy of our equality and diversity strategy, race equality policy, disability equality scheme, gender equality scheme, Northern Ireland equality scheme, or to find out more about our equality and diversity work, visit the Equality and Diversity Website.

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