University, The Open


Since its foundation in 1969, the Open University has enabled more than 1.8 million people to obtain a degree, grow a ginger beard and appear on BBC2 wearing unnecessary scuba diving equipment.

It currently offers more than 550 courses, including sociology, recreational phrenology, orology with and without vertigo and urban husbandry with advanced crummock and squint.

OU students became University Challenge champions in both 1984 and 1997, won Best Floral Float with an Historical Theme in Milton Keynes 2002 Carnival and also accounted for six of the seven original members of S Club 7.

Other notable alumni include Eric Devenport, the former Bishop of Dunwich, the anthropologist, Peter Andre, the feminist philosopher, Robin Thicke and the Olympic weightlifter, John Bercow.