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Strategy and External Affairs

Photo of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The Open University is Scotland’s most popular provider of part-time higher education, accounting for over half of all undergraduates studying part-time. It is our responsibility to advocate on behalf of our students, and part-time students generally, to make sure that their needs and interests are taken into account in higher education policy and by decision-makers.

Strategy and External Affairs Team

Our Strategy and External Affairs team works with the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, Members of the Scottish Parliament, Universities Scotland and other key organisations on all sorts of issues relating to part-time study and student support. 

In general, the team is responsible for:

•    raising awareness of part-time students’ issues, The Open University’s work and its contribution in Scotland
•    developing and maintaining The OU’s relationships with the media, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, and other stakeholders
•    looking after The OU in Scotland’s various communications channels, including social media, The OU in Scotland website, corporate events and other activities
•    articulating The OU in Scotland’s views on relevant issues, including responding to consultations and calls for evidence by Government and other bodies
Two stat cluster•    monitoring, researching, and contributing to matters of public policy, particularly as they relate to higher education, economic and skills development and lifelong learning
•    producing, analysing and acting as the main reference point for key statistics and management information for The Open University in Scotland (see stat graphic right)
•    the strategic planning and delivery of the University’s Outcome Agreement

Part-time study widens access to higher education and makes an immediate economic impact. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP is pictured at the Scottish Parliament, above right, supporting our '#LovePartTime' campaign

In May 2017, OU in Scotland Director Susan Stewart welcomed delegates from more than 30 organisations to a seminar in Glasgow, to discuss the place of adult learning in widening access to higher education in Scotland. Keynote speaker was Professor Sir Peter Scott, Fair Access Commissioner of the Scottish Government. Read a summary of the seminar.

Strategy documents

For more information on our Strategy documents, and to access downloadable versions, click here.

Consultation responses and briefing papers

Document submitted


Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance - consultation June 2017
Scottish Government STEM Education and Training Strategy - consultation January 2017
Scottish Government Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare - consultation January 2017
Scottish Government response to UK Apprenticeship Levy - consultation August 2016
Scottish Government enterprise and skills review - call for evidence August 2016
Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Bill – call for evidence September 2015
Commission on Widening Access – call for evidence July 2015
Education and Culture Committee's inquiry into educational attainment among school pupils March 2015
Scottish Government's Part-Time Fee Grant Review March 2015
Higher Education Governance Bill - consultation January 2015
Education and Culture Committee’s inquiry into Scotland’s Educational and Cultural Future March 2014

For consultation responses and briefing papers prior to 2014, click here.

Contacting us

For more information about our strategy and external affairs work, contact Kenny Stewart, our Communications and Policy Manager: 0131 549 7961.

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*The proportion of part-time undergraduates is based on 2014-15 HESA data.