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Care experienced

COVID-19: We’re aware that some care experienced students may not have family support networks and may be in need of additional support during the coronavirus lockdown.

This is the latest information (.pdf) sent to OU in Scotland students with care experience.

Stat graphic - 165 OU students in Scotland are care experienced

Care experienced students are provided with specific support to study with The Open University in Scotland.

We know that many care experienced students have faced challenges in accessing higher education and in managing their studies alongside everything else going on in their lives.

The definition of care experience we use is anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked after. 

Study support 

As a distance learning university we offer a unique student experience. You don’t need to move away from home and you can study at a time and a pace that works for you. You can choose to study for a degree, diploma or certificate, or take a stand-alone module. We provide supported, personalised learning.

Photo of a smiling young woman

If you are care experienced The Open University in Scotland offers you:

Financial support 

We provide guidance on funding, including:

Keeping informed 

Updating your student profile: 

If you have registered for OU study, to ensure you receive information about funding and support for care experienced students, please tell us that you have care experience by updating your OU student profile as follows:

  • Go to StudentHome – Profile (on left hand side of webpage) – Update personal details – About you – Identity, needs and circumstances – Edit details.  
  • Scroll up to the question headed ‘Care Leaver’. There are four options: I have never been in care / I was in care in Scotland for a time (up to the age of 18) / I have been in care in the rest of the UK / I do not wish to declare. 
  • Choose one and click the Submit tab at the bottom of the screen to update your record.  

Receiving newsletter for care experienced students: 

Information sent to our care experienced students includes our latest e-newsletter (.pdf). You will automatically receive this if you have declared your care experience in your student profile. Previous e-newsletters include the December 2020 (.pdf) and April 2020 (.pdf) issues. 

Proud corporate parents

All universities and colleges in Scotland are named corporate parents, responsible for upholding the rights and safeguarding the wellbeing of care experienced students. We take our responsibilities as a corporate parent seriously. More information on how we support care experienced students is in our Corporate Parenting Plan (.pdf).

We are always keen to hear from our care experienced students and those who are interested in studying with us about how we can improve their learning experience with us.

We also work in partnership with other organisations to better understand the needs of care experienced students, and to ensure that resources to fully support care experienced students are developed.

For example, we offer Corporate Parenting in Higher Education, a free short online module for staff at all universities in Scotland. The course was developed with Who Cares Scotland? and care experienced students (pictured), to help improve support for care experienced students. It was also adapted by the College Development Network to provide a Corporate Parenting in Colleges course.