Student Partnership Agreements (SPAs) were briefly outlined in the Post-16 review as a tool to raise the profile of student engagement and to better define the role of students within their institution. Various stakeholders have shown an interest in developing a distinctive Scottish approach to partnership working and so sparqs has taken forward a project to develop a new model of SPA and produce a guidance document to be taken forward at universities and colleges across Scotland.
The SPAs guidance has been developed with the following principles in mind:
- The agreement should promote the opportunities for students to engage in quality processes.
- The agreement should provide a tool around which institutions and students’ associations can discuss the way institutions and students interact.
- The agreement should be a tool for quality enhancement, not quality assurance.
- The agreement should not be a consumer rights document, or a memorandum of understanding between the institution and the students’ association.
A working group, made up of staff and students from interested institutions, as well as HEA Scotland and Universities Scotland, has now met several times over the past few months to develop a model of SPA and to advise on the development of the guidance document. In colleges, pilot projects are being arranged and lessons learned from those pilots will be incorporated into the project in order to create one guidance document for both sectors. Although publication will depend on progress made during these pilot projects, we hope for this guidance to be finalised in the spring. The Scottish Government has also shown an interest in this project through the ‘Improving the Learner Journey’ stream of the Post-16 Review.
The model of SPA developed by the working group has a simple structure of two parts:
- A first section describing and promoting the various ways in which students can work together with their institution, both collectively and as individuals, and signposting further information relevant to a student’s role within the institution.
- A second section outlining areas of work on which the institution and students’ association will work together over the next academic year.
Questions for you: Are you interested in this project? How do you promote your quality processes to students? How do you view the way your institution interacts with its students’ association?
For further information contact Mike Williamson, sparqs Development Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07585 969 864.