Support for education officers

Students’ associations generally have an officer who leads on academic matters – often they are called Vice President (Education) though the remit can also sit with a general President, Vice President or other executive officers. We use the shorthand “education officer” to describe this role, and it is of vital importance for successful partnership and engagement.

Education officers typically sit on several institution-wide academic committees, work closely with senior management on strategically developing the learning experience, and provide leadership to academic representative structures including lead reps and course reps, helping to link course-level student views with institutional decision-making.

sparqs provides a range of support to education officers, including our National Education Officers’ Network and regular informal contact, customised for both university and college officers.

Due to usually serving one-year terms, the most important aspect of supporting education officers is a successful induction programme each summer. As part of such inductions, sparqs runs its annual That’s Quality! induction and training event for incoming university and college education officers, and has produced other resources of use to those who might play a role in supporting education officers as they start their role.

In May 2020 we produced a guide for colleges and their students’ associations to work in partnership in developing an effective induction for education officers. This resource, which we will update annually, aims to reflect processes and features in the college sector, such as developments in college quality, the impact of regionalisation on college governance, and the fact that new education officers will generally come into their role with no more than a year of other representative experience in the college. It may contain transferable ideas of use to those running inductions in universities too. sparqs can work with staff and students in different quality, senior leadership, representation and student engagement roles to use this resource most effectively.

As part of our support to the sector during the COVID-19 crisis, we have also produced a specific guide for both universities and colleges on inducting education officers at a time of profound and rapid change in learning experiences, working arrangements and of course decision-making processes within institutions and students’ associations.

For more information, please contact Simon Varwell – 07815 938966,

Student Engagement Framework

National Education Officers’ Network meeting

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Student Engagement Staff Network meeting

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