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Access, Participation and Success at the Open University

Widening access to, and enhancing success in higher education (HE) is at the heart of the Open University's (OU) mission. We aim to support students, whatever their backgrounds, to reach their potential and fulfil their ambitions. Operating across each of the four nations of the UK, we work to deliver our social justice mission and respond to the requirements of the respective nation funding council targets. Our Access, Participation and Success Strategy 2020 - 2025 provides the University's strategic approach to supporting students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to access HE and achieve equitable outcomes.  An implementation plan to inform the delivery of the Strategy's six strategic priorites will be developed in 2019/20,   Further information on nation-specific activity can be found by following the links on the right.  These targets relate not only to enabling students to access HE but also to achieve equality of outcomes.  Our approach is inclusive in nature recognising that 'one-size does not fit all', and is informed by evidence from research, scholarship and evaluation projects.   We use the outputs of this activity to inform our own practice and to share good practice across the UK HE sector.

The University's open entry policy provides the opportunity for many people who, for whatever reason are unable to attend a traditional face to face university.  Our introductory modules at Level 4 or SCQF7, enable students to develop confidence in their academic ability and study skills to prepare them for further OU study.  Our Access programme offers a unique tutoring model, 30 credits at Level 0, aimed at students who have been out of education for some time and need some additional support to help develop their confidence prior to embarking on a full degree programme.  Access modules are offered at half the price of standard OU modules and many students benefit from a full fee waiver if household income criteria are met.

Specialist teams support disabled students and students in secure environments (SiSE), responding to the different contexts within which each nation of the UK operates, and our Securing Greater Accessibility team (SeGA) supports us in ensuring that our curriculum is inclusive and accessible to disabled students.  Learning Designers ensure that the diverse needs of our students are considered, to enable access and success, during curriculum development.  Working within faculties, Heads of Student Success provide the continuity to support students when they are registered on a module and dedicated teams across the nations, ensure that all students, from whatever background, are supported to begin their journey with the University in the right place and to be successful as they progress through.