In 2016 external reviews in Scotland's colleges changed. Whereas in the past, colleges were reviewed by Education Scotland on a four-year cycle; now colleges are expected to work closely with Education Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council and evaluate themselves on an ongoing basis.
In December 2016 the Scottish Funding Council published the new quality arrangements for colleges. Arrangements for assuring and improving the quality of provision and services in Scotland’s colleges sets out how colleges should develop their annual Evaluative Report and Enhancement Plan. These evaluate colleges’ progress against Education Scotland's new quality framework How good is our college? and against colleges’ regional Outcome Agreements.
Active participation by learners in self-evaluative activities in an important contributory factor in these new arrangements and we are pleased that How good is our college? indicators have been mapped to A Student Engagement Framework for Scotland. Each key principle is underpinned by a high-level challenge question and related quality indicators. sparqs have created a short mapping document which pulls out the supplementary challenge questions under each quality indicator which relate to student engagement and maps those questions against the five elements of the Student Engagement Framework. We hope colleges find this mapping document useful.
As colleges have begun using the new framework, sparqs has worked with students’ associations and colleges to support effective learner engagement with the arrangements. On Thursday 2nd February 2017 sparqs hosted an event for student officers, students’ association staff and college quality managers on the new quality arrangements. The day included participation from Education Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council. More information is available on the event webpage. We have run additional workshops on student engagement in the new arrangements at the sparqs conference in March 2017 and at That’s Quality Colleges in August 2017.
We can also provide individual support to colleges and students’ associations on engaging with the review process.
There is more information about recent developments in college quality on our Quality Arrangements webpage.
To discuss this further, or for more information on college reviews, please contact Steph Kirkham.