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OU wins Going Higher for Student Carers award

carer kneeling talking to a child in a wheelchairExtensive work to develop support for student carers at The Open University has been acknowledged with a Going Higher for Student Carers Recognition Award.

Supported by the Scottish Funding Council, the award by Carers Trust Scotland celebrates best practice across Scotland’s 19 universities. Presented at a virtual ceremony on 28 October, the award recognised the OU’s work to support student carers at every stage of their higher education journey. 

Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland, said:
“Changing demographics means that three in five of us will be a carer at some point in our lives – a figure that is predicted to increase. The Open University provides the flexibility to those who would find it impossible because of their caring responsibilities to study higher education in a traditional setting.”

Dr Mary Larkin, from the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, was the driving force behind the work which led to this award. Mary said: “We are delighted to receive this award.  Based on the foundations laid by the CCN@OU, this award recognises years of work by those within the network to develop the best levels of support to our student carers.” 

Dr Larkin has been involved in carer research and policy for many years, establishing the ground-breaking Care Research and Knowledge Exchange Network (CAREN), a freely accessible global resource for all those requiring any form of carer-related knowledge. She is also behind the Care and Caring Network @OU (CCN@OU), a formal corporate network for knowledge exchange around care and caring, the promotion of carers rights within the OU and the provision of information, advice and guidance in carer-related policy development, open to all OU staff.

Through this network, working with its group leaders and members and building on existing expertise, Mary has led the introduction of a number of initiatives, including carer specific advice and guidance, open access courses for carers (see below), pan-OU student carer identification, dedicated student inductions and a Carers’ Pack.


Find out more

View the dedicated support pages for student carers.

Free courses for carers:

-          Caring Counts: a self-reflection and planning course for carers (Scotland)

-          What about me? A personal Development course for Carers in Wales

-          Caring for adults

-          Caring Counts in the Workplace (Scotland)




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