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Collaborations and research

A smiling man and a laughing woman, seated at a table with laptopsWe have a vibrant academic community who are actively engaged in a broad range of collaborations, plus scholarship and research projects, furthering our understanding of the latest issues and challenges affecting education. We can enable flexible and cost-effective staff development within education.  

Our partners come from the public and independent sectors in Scotland, the UK and around the globe. 

In recent years we have worked with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Social Services Council, Education Unions, local authorities, schools, and charities. 

Our projects include:

Professional online learning in Scottish education 

This Open University project is exploring experiences and perceptions of online professional learning among education practitioners across Scotland to support their development and career goals.

More than 180 practitioners from across early learning and childcare to the colleges sector were surveyed online.

A subsequent report - Who, what, how, and why: Scottish education practitioners and online professional learning (.pdf) - is contributing to discussions with the education sector in Scotland and within the Open University about the ongoing role of online professional learning.

Languages for teachers - Scotland’s National Centre for Languages

Developed in partnership with Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, SCILT, our TEachers Learning to Teach languages (TELT) programme aims to increase and improve language provision in primary schools. Teachers simultaneously learn a new language and the skills to teach that language in the classroom.

Initiatives like TELT, developed through The Open University’s Partnership with SCILT, help teachers bring languages to life by teaching pupils subjects in another language – helping support our 1+2 Languages policy and making Scotland a more welcoming country.

John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister

Online module - Scottish Government and Scottish Social Services Council

Our free online module Identifying and supporting additional support needs in early learning and childcare was commissioned by the Scottish Government. It is offered fully online over a period of six weeks, requiring two hours per week of study. 

Teachers’ Reading Groups - UK Literacy Association

Reading for Pleasure logoEight OU and UK Literacy Association Teachers’ Reading Groups are running for primary and secondary teachers in Scotland, from the Highlands to South Lanarkshire. Research-informed, these free continued professional development groups are led by OU-trained volunteers and aim to nurture young people’s reading for pleasure. 

Teresa Cremin, OU Professor of Literacy, says:

"I’m delighted the South Lanarkshire groups successfully applied for General Teaching Council for Scotland accreditation for their work, as this enriches the resultant case studies of teachers work shared on the OU Reading for Pleasure website and evidences the impact on younger readers."

Jill Queen, Netherburn Primary School / Teachers’ Reading Group Leader, says:

"The sessions provided me with an excellent insight and understanding into the importance of embedding and sustaining a reading for pleasure culture in school. Networking with teachers from other establishments was extremely worthwhile and a key component of the sessions."                                                                                                  

Professional learning - Dumfries and Galloway Council

We introduced the Understanding autism badged online course via workshops to a wide range of teaching and non-teaching staff in Dumfries and Galloway Council to contribute to their professional learning. The course provides a good general grounding about the autistic spectrum, and challenges traditional views and stereotypes. 

Practitioner enquiry - Sandbank Primary School, Dunoon

We worked in partnership to support teachers' professional learning through practitioner enquiry:

  • Teachers researched an aspect of their professional practice, receiving individual support on research methods from an OU tutor. 
  • Workshops included literature review; ethics, fieldwork and data analysis.
  • Findings were presented to council area colleagues, plus other practitioners and stakeholders, at professional learning and development meetings.