sparqs is delighted that our work to support the development of college students' associations, in partnership with NUS Scotland, is continuing, now funded until June 2022 by the Scottish Funding Council. We will continue our work to strengthen the governance, democracy and sustainability of college students' associations following regionalisation.
The work will be aligned to the Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students' Associations in Scotland, originally published in June 2015 and updated and relaunched in 2021. Colleges and students’ associations have made significant strides forward in terms of building student engagement partnerships and this work is designed to embed and raise it to another level.
When the Partnerships for Change project (which supported colleges through regionalisation) came to a close in Autumn 2014, we were delighted with the decision that national support for students’ association development did not end there. At the FE Strategic Forum on 20th August 2014, Michael Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, announced that NUS Scotland and sparqs would receive £300,000 over two years until January 2019 from the Scottish Funding Council, to support the delivery of the Framework for developing strong and effective college students’ associations. The funding was continued for a further two and a half years, until June 2021, followed by a further contuinuation until June 2022, demonstrating a further commitment to continue this support.
Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students' Associations in Scotland
The above-noted Framework, published in June 2015 and updated in 2021, is housed on a dedicated SA Framework website, which contains supporting documentation, including a Self-Evaluation Tool, useful links and information around the continued support offered by NUS Scotland and sparqs.
Our support involves working in partnership with colleges and students’ associations to develop their representative structures and further promote the student voice to enhance its impact on the quality of learning and teaching.
Our team of Development Consultants are assigned as key contacts for each college, to work with them and help them achieve their objectives. Our regular engagements enable us to map out and plan activities, with a view to providing consultancy to meet the needs identified by colleges.
Some of our key areas of work include:
- Development of Student Partnership Agreements.
- Development of course rep and lead rep systems.
- Development of resources to support the induction of education officers.
- Support for staff who work within students’ associations, with events and opportunities to share good practice, through our Student Engagement Staff Network (SESN).
- Support for students’ association officers with education remits, through our National Education Officers’ Network (NEON) and resources to encourage a partnership approach to developing their induction.
- Development of a Methodology for Strategic Conversations to encourage institutions and students' associations to carry out a structured strategic conversation when in the process of strategic planning.
- Training and resources for students’ associations to use national college survey data effectively to improve the learning experience.
- Development of guidance and practice on the enhanced role of students’ associations in college and external quality processes.
- Development of engagement with apprentices.
For more information, please contact Simon Varwell.