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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.

National Progression Awards’ curriculum support - Cisco

Schools in Scotland have a unique opportunity to join the Cisco Networking Academy programme, through a pilot programme with the OU’s School of Computing and Communications. 

Teachers can train as Cisco instructors and access learning materials that support the curriculum for National Progression Awards in Computer Networking and Cyber Security in Scotland.

The OU’s Cisco Academy Support Centre and Instructor Training Centre is currently one of the biggest in the UK. 

Collaborating openly with others, we support a community of over 300 educational organisations, offering resources, support and professional development. 

To find out more, email

Languages for teachers - Scotland’s National Centre for Languages

Developed in collaboration 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.

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. 

Activities and packs - Glasgow Science Festival

Glasgow Science Festival logo 2022Our long-standing relationship with Glasgow Science Festival continued with activities in 2022’s programme: from free interactive Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum drop-in events, to online ‘Science on the Sofa’. Topics included making waves and climate change. 

We provided 1,000 ‘Glasgow Science Festival in a bag’ packs for local community groups / households, as part of our Scottish Funding Council-supported knowledge exchange activities.

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.