College reviews

Student engagement was at the heart of How Good Is Our College? (HGIOC), the previous evaluation and enhancement process for colleges in Scotland.  

In Spring 2020, due to the ongoing situation around COVID-19, Education Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council decided to pause HGIOC and associated outputs, including Evaluative Reports and Enhancement Plans (EREPs) and Progress Visits. Instead, Education Scotland published a new set of resources ‘Our Best Future’ to support colleges during the ‘recovery year’ (2020-21).

However, the current quality landscape for colleges has moved on. One of the recommendations of the Scottish Funding Council Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability, is the development of a single quality framework for tertiary education, with the ambition of making Scotland the best place to be a student at college or university.

While work is already underway for the development of the joint framework, for  2021-22, transition arrangements were put in place for colleges, replacing the previous HGIOC process. The arrangements consisted in a series of Progress Visits that a team led by Education Scotland carried out between November 2021 and March 2022. The Progress Visits were tailored to each institution.  However, the starting point for the conversations was based on the Toolkit for Effective Learner Engagement developed by sparqs and Education Scotland and published in November 2020.

sparqs has been supporting students’ associations across all institutions in navigating these arrangements, providing opportunities to inform all parties on how they can ensure the student voice comes through in quality conversations.

Support delivered by sparqs consisted of individual targeted conversations organised before and after the Progress Visits where possible, with most students’ associations. Support was also provided through delivering informative sessions at our November 2021 SESN and NEON events.

sparqs also collated students’ associations feedback after the Progress Visit, to identify whether more support was needed to prepare for the conversations on the quality of the learner experience. Most students' associations agreed that the visits were a positive experience, providing an important opportunity for conversations with their institutional quality team and senior management.

To discuss student engagement in college reviews, please contact Gloria Laurini.

There is more general information about recent developments in college quality on our Quality Arrangements webpage.

Student Engagement Framework

National Education Officers’ Network meeting

8 Dec 2022

This is the second meeting of our National Education Officers’ Network (NEON) for academic year 2022-23, and continues…