06 Nov 2015

Statement from Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks

The following response is for use by all media with the Embargoed release from BIS on the Green Paper Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice

Peter Horrocks, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University welcomed the publication of HE Green Paper and said:

“With almost 200,000 students, the Open University is the biggest driver of social mobility in the UK, supporting a third of all students in England without the usual entry requirements and welcoming almost half of those disabled students who wish to study part-time. If the Government is serious about driving social mobility, then part-time study and lifelong learning must form a key part of these reforms. The OU has a huge contribution to make in helping the Prime Minister achieve his ambition and we look forward to working closely with the advisory group as these proposals develop.”

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 200,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.

The OU was given an overall satisfaction rating of 90% in the latest National Student Survey, making it one of only three Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to consistently score 90% or above every year since 2007. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities having both an access mission and demonstrating research excellence.

The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC and has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to co-producing prime-time series such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, Britain’s Great War, I Bought a Rainforest and Business Boomers. Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 66 million downloads.
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