4 Mar 2021

sparqs' Coronavirus (COVID-19) information hub

During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, our dedicated hub provides information about sparqs' refocused work plans, our forthcoming online events and support, as well as signposts to other relevant comms and resources which we feel may be of use to sector colleagues.

Our current workplans, running from October 2020 to March 2021, are designed to build on the early successes across the sector in supporting student rep systems to ensure students are central to shaping the sector’s response to the pandemic.

Thanks to the remarkable efforts from our colleagues in colleges and universities, student rep systems are up and running and, in many cases, exploring new ground and the opportunities of a digital approach.

Over the summer sparqs trained 62 fantastic new officers, giving them the skills and knowledge to put the student voice at the centre of decision making. We also completely revamped our training for course reps, to enable us to support them in their roles in a digital environment. As at the end of November, 622 students have been trained directly by sparqs, with many more sessions booked in, and many more being trained through institutional schemes utilising our materials.

We are concentrating on ensuring these reps are able to shape the ongoing responses of institutions to the pandemic, as well as contribute extensively to future planning and responses of the Scottish tertiary education sector.

Our work will continue to keep at its heart a focus on:

  • Ensuring the diversity of the student voice is heard when decisions are taken; and
  • Supporting students to shape changes to learning in a way that supports student wellbeing and mental health.

The sparqs team is currently working on a range of activities focused on three key areas:

  1. Monitoring the Impact of COVID-19 on the Student Learning Experience (SLE) and shaping responses
  2. Ensuring students are central to the major development projects of the sector in response to COVID-19 and beyond
  3. Providing Intensified Support

For further details around the pieces of work onging under each of these three work areas, read our recent news article.

Our system of institutional contacts, networks and advisory groups continue to shape our support and ensure resources get to those who need them in a timely manner.

Where institutions are facing particular challenges, they are strongly urged to get in touch. Our priority is giving you the support you need, when you need it. 

Please contact Eve Lewis, Director, if there is any aspect of our work you would like to discuss – eve.lewis@sparqs.ac.uk

Due to the ongoing COVID restrictions, sparqs is taking steps to safeguard the wellbeing of its staff. To enable staff to take outdoor exercise during daylight hours we are avoiding, as much as possible, scheduling meetings and events during the hours of 12.00pm and 2.00pm. We respectfully ask that you try to avoid this period when arranging to meet with us. We will, of course, honour commitments to appointments that occur during these hours where this is necessary to accommodate large groups and busy schedules.

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