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Policy & Guidance

Equality Scheme

Protected characteristic

Pregnancy and maternity is one of the protected characteristics within our Equality Scheme.

Equality objective

The aim of Equality Objective 9 is to improve equality policy and guidance for staff and students, for which a key performance indicator is to improve policy and guidance for students during pregnancy and maternity. Equality objectives are published in Appendix 1 to our Equality Scheme. Learn more

Equality action plan

Actions in our Equality, Diversity and Widening Participation Action Plan set out our plans to achieve our equality objectives and widening access and success strategy priorities. Learn more



We have two policies for students — one for directly registered research degree students and one for all other directly registered students irrespective of their geographic location. Each document explains policy, guidance on support offered to students, responsibilities, contacts and resources.

Student pregnancy and maternity policy

This policy outlines the policy and guidance that applies to students who might need support because their study is affected by pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption, fostering or in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Learn more

Research Degrees students — Maternity, Paternity and Adoption

The document explains policy and procedures related to maternity, paternity and adoption for research degree students. The policy applies to: Directly registered Open University research degree students who become pregnant, have a partner who becomes pregnant, or choose to adopt a child. Learn more
Contact: Research Degrees Office

Students registered with a partner organisation

Please contact your local education centre as soon as possible to discuss the support you feel you need in relation to pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption, fostering and IVF treatment. Your local education centre will then contact us to explore the type of support which can be provided. We will only use the information you give us to help you in your studies.



We have a number of policies for staff related to pregnancy and maternity, paternity and adoption. Staff can view these on the Human Resources intranet site.

Recruitment Guidance

The University’s Effective Recruitment and Selection Guide for Selectors provides practical advice on fair, efficient and effective practice in the recruitment and selection of all categories of staff, in line with our equality and diversity policies. OU staff can view the guide on the Human Resources intranet site.