Student Partnership Agreements (SPAs) were first outlined in the Scottish Government’s 2011 paper Putting Learners at the Centre, which proposed a document setting out how students and their institutions interact. With the support of the Scottish Government, sparqs worked with the sector to explore what SPAs could look like and how they could be developed.
In essence, Student Partnership Agreements are a way in which students’ associations and institutions can promote ways in which students can interact with staff at their institution to improve quality. They are an opportunity to agree a set of three to five priority areas upon which the students’ association and institution will work together in partnership.
We published guidance on developing and implementing SPAs in 2013 for universities and 2015 for colleges with an accompanying poster/handout (shown on right).
In January 2021 we produced a COVID-19 briefing note on SPAs, which can be found in our COVID-19 hub resources page. This briefing note helps institutions and students' associations to reflect on partnership during the pandemic, and to identify what the pandemic means for the tools and priorities of partnership.
SPAs are just one way of articulating and developing partnership between institutions and students’ associations. Other tools to help you think about partnership, or indeed inform the shape and content of an SPA, include student engagement strategies created from Scotland’s Student Engagement Framework, our Student Engagement Analysis Workshop, and our widely-cited student partnership staircase.
As we move from the pandemic, we are working closely with the Scottish Funding Council on articulating and embedding partnership in the outcomes of the 2021
SFC Review, which will have a huge impact on how institutions and students’ associations will work together to shape and enhance the learning experience.
We offer ongoing support and advice to institutions and students' associations to explore, develop or redevelop SPAs, so if you have any comments or questions, please contact Simon Varwell.