The Open University branch of the University and College Union
Below is some suggested text for a letter/email to your MP and a link to resources for finding out about your MP and writing to him/her.
You may want to modify the suggested text below with your own experiences and local knowledge. If you are writing to a Labour MP you might mention that the Open University is one of Labour’s enduring achievements, now under threat from marketisation of Higher Education.
You can find information about your MP by entering your post code on the web page at https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp and on the page giving basic information about your MP there is a button to click for writing to them by email. This is entirely up to you (so no pressure) but it will help our campaign to know how many people have emailed their MP, and you can let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear [name of MP],
I am writing to you about the £100m budget cuts proposed at the Open University.
Please do whatever you can to support the campaign against these radical cuts at the OU in the context of an overarching crisis in adult part-time education. Please ask questions about this, and consider putting down, or supporting, an Early Day Motion.
Since the introduction of the new fee regime in England adult part-time university student numbers have fallen by 56%. This should qualify as a national emergency in its own right, sufficient to justify emergency funding.
With many universities increasingly focused on full-time students the Open University is now the only option for many of your constituents who want to “earn and learn”.
The OU itself is now under threat, with £100m budget cuts proposed by its senior management, which will mean radical cuts to its curriculum, to staffing levels and to the support it can offer students. The OU has already suffered funding cuts, and, like the NHS, is reaching the point where it can take no more.
Since its foundation in 1969 the OU has provided access to higher education to many adults who would otherwise have been excluded from it. Thousands graduate from the OU every year, and many, including some of your constituents, have overcome disadvantage in order to do so.
The Open University still has a crucial role to play in upskilling and reskilling for a modern economy, and enhancing the quality of life for its many students.
The Open University's unique system of blended learning, individual feedback and small-group tuition distinguishes it from other online providers. This model is now being threatened by lack of finance, and, along with proposed curriculum cuts, this inevitably places its mission of social justice at risk.