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Student Charter and Essential Documents

Paul Conwell

The Open University’s Student Charter describes the ways in which the OU community works together to allow our student members to achieve their full potential. The Student Charter’s values are set out in 4 Principles – and you can see one of these Principles brought to life in the student story below.

Principle 4: We work together to secure the University’s mission and to promote the University’s values to be open to people, to places, to methods and to ideas; to be inclusive, innovative and responsive.

As members of a collaborative community, we make this Charter and its principles the fundamental reference point in the development of University strategies, policies, procedures, programmes and projects that relate to the student experience.

Paul's story

Image of Paul ConwellLike millions of others, I struggled at school, mainly because I have a shorter attention span than most people. So when I left school I tried college, doing a course in pre-nursing. But that wasn’t much better. The teachers just focused on the brighter pupils rather than people who didn’t understand the course or the text.

Work proved to be just as much of a stumbling block as I was constantly passed over for management roles. When I asked why I was told it was because I didn’t have a diploma or degree – so I decided it was time to get some decent training and get the degree my employers wanted in order for me to progress.

Again though, I came up against stumbling blocks. I tried various universities but no one was interested. So then I spoke to someone at the OU and they said they’d try me on a starter course to see if I liked it, if it suited me. It did and I haven’t looked back.

When I first came to the OU I didn’t think I could do it but after the starter course, I realised I can. It’s just that my style of learning is different from other people. The OU has been really supportive and that’s made all the difference – partly because teaching is more individually tailored with the OU. So from thinking I couldn’t possibly study at that level, I progressed quickly through my course and am now doing quite well. It has to be said that I’m not a true academic but my scores have been fairly good. Feedback is also positive and constructive, never negative. I find this far more encouraging than any of my previous brushes with the education world.

Now after studying towards a BA in Health and Social Care, with the OU, my dream of becoming a manager, helping carers to achieve their dream, and ensuring I offer the best care service, has finally become a reality.

Thank you OU!