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Carers

Student Help Info: For general help, including in relation to COVID-19, there is an OU students help page.
There is also help info available from The National Carer Organisations in Scotland

Stat graphic - 860 OU students in Scotland are also carers

Carers are provided with specific support to study with The Open University in Scotland. We recognise the challenges carers can face and offer a range of resources and support to help carers get into learning.

Carers choose to study with The Open University for a variety of reasons: some carers want to build on the knowledge and skills they’ve gained while caring, some want to resume studies that had to be put on hold, and others are looking for something completely different to their caring role. The OU allows students the flexibility to fit studying around their caring commitments. 

The definition of a carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

Study support 

Three smiling peopleIf you are a carer The Open University in Scotland can offer you:

Financial support 

We provide guidance on funding, including:

Helping and working with others to support carers 

A Going Higher for Student Carers Recognition Award trophy graphicWe work in partnership with carers’ organisations to better understand the needs of carers and ensure that resources to fully support carer students are developed. For example, we offer: 

  • Caring Counts - a free online reflective toolkit for carers, developed with Carers Trust Scotland, the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance and individual carers centres. 
  • Caring Counts in the Workplace - a free online course for managers supporting carers in employment, developed with the Equal Partners in Care Project and Carers Scotland. 
  • Carer Aware at University - a free online module for staff at all universities in Scotland, developed with Carers Trust Scotland to help improve support for student carers. 

The Open University received the Going Higher for Student Carers Recognition Award from Carers Trust Scotland in 2020. The Going Higher project encourages carers to access higher education. 

What our student carers sayKatrina MacLeod

Katrina MacLeod (pictured), a carer from Dumfries and Galloway, successfully completed an Open University access course and the Caring Counts reflective toolkit. 

Completing these courses enabled Katrina to study a Return to Practice nursing course. 

Before my son was born I had been a Registered Mental Health Nurse and I began to research how to renew my registration. I wouldn't have had the courage to do that before I did the Open University course. I began to believe in 'me' again. As to the future, I have passed my course and I have completed an application form for a post as a staff nurse in the local hospital. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself to see if I am dreaming!

Katrina MacLeod, Carer