Student Advice and Individual Rep Service continues to grow

Distressed man, with his hand on his forehead

The Student Advice and Individual Representation Service continues to grow as it is embedded into the Association's core services. In December 2022 we welcomed Chibwe Mushibwe to join Charlotte Stone as a Student Advisor. With the increased capacity, we can now support more students, in what can be quite a difficult time in their OU journey.  

With the challenges of funding, it is exciting to know that the Trustees recognise the value of the service we provide and are backing Individual Representation, having voted to "maintain a vital service". We are proud to say that we will be around until at least Summer 2024.  

In the last three months, we have received a total of 47 new enquiries, which include complaints, appeals, plagiarism cases and central disciplinary cases, along with general enquiries from students. Below you will find a short case study from a student that we have helped.   

Break down of the enquiries received over the last 3 months


Plagiarism case study

Janine (not her real name) contacted the Student Advice team because she was very worried after receiving a letter from the Academic Conduct Office, advising her that sections of her assignment appear to match with a translation already published, and she had not acknowledged this in her assignment. Janine was given a deadline to provide an explanation, but she was not sure how to proceed and was concerned about not having the opportunity to justify herself. Janine spoke to an Advisor who offered her assurance, and explained the process of plagiarism and what she can expect at the initial stage.  

The advisor agreed the next steps with Janine, this included Janine writing her draft explanation, which would then be looked over by the advisor. The advisor fed back with suggestions of changes to strengthen her response. She was then happy to submit her response to the OU. Janine received the outcome of her case after five weeks, informing her that the explanation was satisfactory, and no further action would be taken. Janine expressed that she found the wait for the outcome incredibly stressful, but also expressed appreciation for the follow up emails from the advisor.  


Feedback from students we have recently helped

“Thank you for your kindness and support at what has been a really stressful 5 weeks. Today a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and I want to thank you again for your kindness and support.” 

“Thank you so much for your time last week. It was very reassuring to be able to talk to someone about my experience and get some emotional support around it.” 

To find out more about the Individual Representation service and how it could help you, please see our advice hub.