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Strategy and policy

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.

Nicola Sturgeon: LovePartTime campaignWe work with:

Part-time study widens access to higher education and makes an immediate economic impact. 18% of our new undergraduates join the OU in Scotland without standard university entrance qualifications.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP is pictured at the Scottish Parliament, right, supporting our '#LovePartTime' campaign


Stat graphic - new undergraduates living in Scotland's 20% most disadvantaged areas
National Student Survey 2007-2019. We are the only Scottish university rated top three for student satisfaction in every year of the National Student Survey.

The map below shows the numbers of OU in Scotland students by Scottish Parliamentary region.

Map showing number of OU in Scotland students by Scottish Parliamentary region


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. Hear from Professor Scott by watching the video below, or read a summary of the seminar.



Consultation responses

Strategic Plan to 2021/22 shield graphicRead our consultation responses and briefing papers.


Strategic Plan

Our Strategic Plan to 2021/22 provides a clear direction for the coming years and sets out how we will build on 50 years of success to reach more students with life-changing learning. 

The OU is committed to promoting educational opportunity and social justice through our innovative supported open learning, underpinned by world-class academic research.

Click on the shield image, right, to enlarge it.

Student success

The Open University’s key strategic priority is student success.

Through our scale, reach and our ability to support students to succeed we achieve a positive impact on society and the economy. This includes:
  • Smarti Reel and Parminder Singh Reel on graduation dayunderstanding our students’ study goals and ensuring they get onto the right study path at the right level
  • supporting our students to successfully progress through and complete their chosen module(s) or qualification
  • delivering a high quality and flexible student experience with high levels of student satisfaction
  • supporting students to achieve positive career and personal development outcomes.
Read more about the related objectives which underpin our focus on student success.

The Open University's Annual Report

Read The Open University's interactive Annual Report 2017/18.

OU in Scotland Outcome Agreement

Outcome agreements set out what universities plan to deliver in return for their funding from the Scottish Funding Council. Their focus is on the contribution that universities make towards improving life chances, supporting world-class research and creating sustainable economic growth for Scotland.

The OU in Scotland Corporate Parenting Plan 2018

The OU is Scotland’s ‘widening access university’, offering flexible higher education to people from the widest possible range of backgrounds.  Our commitment to supporting our care experienced students is part of our ethos and purpose.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (part 9) places statutory ‘corporate parenting’ responsibilities on all post‐16 education bodies. 

Our Corporate Parenting Plan also aligns with the OU-wide Widening Access and Success policy, and our Outcome Agreement with the Scottish Funding Council.  


*The proportion of part-time undergraduates is based on 2017-18 HESA data

Contact us:

Kenny Stewart
Communications and Policy Manager,
call 0131 549 7961.

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