The Open University YASS

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The Open University YASS

Benefits of YASS

The Open University YASS, Benefits for students

Taking an Open University module gives students the opportunity to deepen their existing knowledge or try a completely different subject.

  • Students taking arts subjects at Higher or Advanced Higher level might like to study maths or science to broaden their skills. Or they might opt for an Open University module which relates closely to their Higher or Advanced Higher subjects – improving their knowledge and helping them to approach topics in a different way.
  • Students have access to the entire OU library which they can use not only for their YASS module but for the other subjects they are studying as well.
  • YASS students are treated just the same as all other OU students and can obtain specialised student and IT support if required. They also have access to guidance about course choice and careers options through The OU website.

Taking a YASS module can help students’ applications to university or college stand out and contribute valuable content to their personal statements. YASS qualifications can be entered on the education section of UCAS application forms. YASS modules can also add valuable content to CVs and job applications.

Some YASS students like Open University study so much that they decide to carry on and complete their degrees with us.

Pictured above right at a YASS reception held at the Scottish Parliament in 2015 are Colin Mitchell, Lasswade High School YASS co-ordinator, Dr James Miller, the then Director of The Open University in Scotland, Fiona McLeod MSP, the then Minister for Children and Young People, and Lasswade High pupils Erinn Murray and Rory Turnbull. Photo by Andrew O’Brien.

What do students say?

“I have always had a passion for languages, and when I was in my final year of high school, I decided to challenge myself and take on a Mandarin course through the Open University.

“My high school – Douglas Ewart High School in Dumfries and Galloway – was rather small therefore I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do Chinese any other way, so I was excited to hear about the Open University. I enjoyed it so much I even went on to study Chinese at university.

“I have just finished studying first year of International Business with Chinese at the University of Edinburgh, and I’m thankful for having done the Chinese YASS course as it helped me greatly in my studies.”
Former YASS student Sabina Sobczak who studied Beginners’ Chinese, pictured left, speaking at a Scotland China Education Network [SCEN] Ambassadors’ Forum event.


What’s in it for teachers?

By tapping into 30 modules in nine different subject areas, YASS allows teachers to offer students an exciting extension to the normal curriculum. The scheme also provides a positive way for schools to ensure that their students remain motivated and focused.

“Not only does YASS give pupils in the Doon Valley opportunities to study subjects that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them at a level that wouldn’t normally be possible – it allows them to do so here, at Doon Academy. Crucially, it also provides them with opportunities for independent learning. Taking responsibility for the management of their own learning in the senior phase is, in my opinion, invaluable for our students – particularly those going on to study courses at higher education institutions.

“The pupils and staff at Doon Academy are grateful for the opportunities the YASS scheme provides. For me, YASS ticks just about all of the boxes of a good widening access initiative: it fills a curricular gap; it provides opportunities to deepen and broaden learning; it provides routes into higher education; it encourages our young people to take responsibility for and be positive about their futures; and it limits the disadvantage faced by pupils from one of the most deprived parts of the country.”
Norman Paton, UCAS Adviser / Widening Access Coordinator Doon Academy

External recognition

YASS makes a significant contribution to the objectives of the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence:

  • Successful learners: students will learn independently, often using new technologies
  • Confident individuals: students can pursue personal interests and ambitions in significant depth, exploring subject areas not normally available in schools (such as robotics, astronomy, law finance, chronic diseases, nutrition)
  • Responsible citizens: our open entry approach means that students from all subject areas can engage with important contemporary issues (for example in environmental studies, technology of science)
  • Effective contributors: students will be stretched, required to work in new ways, managing their own time effectively and developing self-reliance

Admissions tutors at higher and further education institutions are being advised in ‘The guide for UK Qualifications’ to give consideration to higher education credit points. Our YASS scheme is also supported by UCAS.

Contacting us

Schools interested in YASS can contact our YASS Project Co-ordinator Page Munro (0131 549 7958) or complete a School Interest Form, which can be returned by email or post: YASS, The Open University in Scotland, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7QJ.