28 Feb 2013

Partnerships for Change

All regional Shadow or Partnership Boards which are currently meeting to direct their region’s regionalisation now have at least one (most have two) student members. So the student voice is being heard at the very highest level of the change.

But being heard at the very top isn’t enough. To be truly effective students need to be engaged in the process of discussing and planning what the new college might look like, proposals which will then go to the Board to be approved or rejected. Partnerships for Change has therefore been supporting students’ associations to apply to the Board for membership of the workstreams – groups of people responsible for planning different parts of the merger. Some regions now already have student members on their workstreams.

When colleges wish to merge they have to hold a formal consultation, setting out their proposal for the new college and inviting people who will be affected by it to respond. As the people who will be most affected by these changes it is extremely important that students respond to these consultations. Partnerships for Change has been working with students’ associations to help them gather student opinion and turn it in to a consultation response. If your region hasn’t held a consultation yet (federating regions are likely to hold consultations too) speak to your colleges and your consultant to find out when it is likely to happen – and start planning!

With all these important decisions to make it is extremely important that the students’ associations in the region work closely together – and communicate with each other – to decide what they, jointly, want the new college or new federation to be like. Therefore the Partnerships for Change consultants have been helping their students’ associations to create Shadow Execs. The Shadow Execs will be the equivalent of the college’s Shadow Board and will include members from all the students’ associations who will have the responsibility of ensuring that the students’ associations all jointly agree what they want to say to the college about its merger or federalisation. Partnerships for Change is also delivering regionalisation exec training to help the new execs to prepare for the challenges regionalisation brings.

If you find you need resources to help you respond to regionalisation just speak to your consultant. A leaflet explaining regionalisation for students’ associations to adapt and use with their students can be found on the sparqs website, along with an explanation on how to edit it: http://www.sparqs.ac.uk/section.php?cat=151

Currently, the big task for students’ associations is to plan their own mergers or federalisations. Partnerships for Change will be there to offer support and advice throughout.

If you have any general questions about the project please contact kate.byford@nus-scotland.org.uk or see the following link for contact details for your region’s consultant – http://www.sparqs.ac.uk/upfiles/Contacts.doc

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