Skip to content

Toggle service links

Changes to policy and curriculum

Introduction of Student Support Teams

Warning: the content within this page reflects what was communicated to students in the 2013/14 academic year. As such, this information may no longer be factually accurate.

From 3 February 2014 Open University students will be supported in their studies by our new Student Support Teams.

Student Support Teams (SSTs) are made up of experienced academics, educational advisors and other staff with subject-specific expertise and are there to help students if they have any questions or concerns about any aspect of their studies.

The Student Support Team (SST)

There are 17 Student Support Teams. Each one focuses on a specific subject area, and between them they cover our undergraduate and taught postgraduate curriculum.

If a student is actively studying, or they've registered to study any module on 3 February 2014, they will be allocated to an SST. The SST they are allocated to will depend on what they are studying.

An SST's contact details can be found via the Contact the OU panel in the Help Centre and on module and qualification websites. During the course of a student's studies, if they enrol on a module in a different subject area, their SST is likely to change but the details on StudentHome will always be up to date.

If a student isn't studying or enrolled to study on 3 February 2014 and are ‘between modules’, they will be allocated to an SST when they enrol on their next module.

Studying in more than one subject area

A student is allocated to an SST based on the subject area of their qualification. If they are studying a module in a different subject area (for example if they are studying for a science qualification but also study a maths module) they will be allocated to the relevant SST for module support in that second subject. A student's qualification SST will continue to support them for study planning and qualification queries.

If a student is studying two or more qualifications in different subject areas they will be allocated to two or more qualification SSTs to reflect this.

Open programme

Each SST has Open programme specialist team members who will ensure that Open programme students receive consistent support across the different subjects they can study.

If a student is studying towards an Open qualification, they'll be allocated to the SST that is responsible for the subject of their current module. If a student is enrolled on more than one module from different subject areas they will be allocated accordingly and will have access to module support from more than one SST.

Module-only study

If a student isn't registered on a qualification they will be allocated to an SST(s) based on the module(s) you are studying.

Access modules

If a student is studying an Access module, they'll be allocated to a dedicated Access SST.

Students in Scotland, Wales or Ireland

SSTs have members based in Scotland, Wales and Ireland to provide subject support in the context of a student's nation. If a student resides in one of these nations, they will access their support through their home nation and the SST member(s) there. Contact details will be available in StudentHome.

Students from outside the UK

Like students in the UK, students resident outside of the UK will be allocated to a SST based on the qualification and module(s) they are studying. Each SST has specialists in providing support for international students.

Changing a Student Support Team allocation

If a student changes to a qualification in a different subject area then they will automatically be allocated to the relevant SST. Their SST contact details will always be up to date in StudentHome.

If a student thinks that their allocation is wrong, or if their study intentions have changed, they should contact the SST to which they have been allocated to discuss a change.

Continuing support

All SSTs are working together to ensure that they are able to help with regional and national queries such as access to tutorial venues and examination arrangements.

The Open University’s systems provide staff in all locations with information about a student's previous studies and contact with the University. Staff are working to ensure that the change in how we provide support is as smooth as possible.


There will be no change to the level of support students enjoy from your tutor. They will continue to be available by email or phone to provide guidance, advice and feedback on a student's studies.

Tutorial arrangements

Tutorial arrangements will not change following the introduction of SSTs and modules with face-to-face tutorials will continue to be organised based on location.

Local offices

Students will still be able to visit their nearest office (but please phone first to arrange a suitable time); in most circumstances, their needs should be met by contacting their SST directly.

Existing location phone and email contacts will also remain in place if students need them.

Please talk to your Student Support Team if you need any further information. You can find out how to contact them on Contact the OU.