sparqs is delighted that our work to support the development of college students' associations was continued for a further two and a half years. The support from sparqs and NUS Scotland is now funded until June 2021 by the Scottish Funding Council, in order to continue the 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, published and launched in June 2015. In the past four years, 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 once again continued for a further two years, until January 2021, 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, is housed on a dedicated SA Framework website, which contains supporting documentation, including a Self-Evaluation and Development Planning 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. During 2016/17 we introduced 'Annual Support Visits' for colleges, to 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.
- Support for staff who work within students’ associations, with events and opportunities to share good practice.
- 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.
- Development of guidance and practice on the enhanced role of students’ associations in college and external quality processes, particularly the new Education Scotland quality
framework - How good is our college? (2016).
For more information, please contact Simon Varwell.