The exciting growth of Student Partnership Agreements in Scotland entered a new phase in June 2015 with the publication of sparqs’ Guidance on the Development and Implementation of a Student Partnership Agreement in Colleges. A new document specifically designed to help colleges find their feet in developing their own SPAs, its launch coincided with the launch of the Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations in Scotland.
Colleges across Scotland are developing SPAs with a view to strengthening their partnership working agreements. Now benefiting from the Framework and support from sparqs and NUS Scotland, students’ associations have been contacting us, eager to learn more about the process and how it can help them.
Student Partnership Agreements are documents agreed on through dialogue between a students’ association and a college. They detail, in no more than four sides of A4, how things have worked until now and what changes will be worked towards. Some have been adopted as long-term plans, broken into year-long sections to allow new officers to make their mark. The range of issues dealt with has been remarkably broad in institutions so far, and reflects the sector-wide interest in enhancing student partnerships through partnership.
The timeframe for developing SPAs is not a set one, and so they can be considered at any point in the academic year (and have been!). sparqs is especially keen to offer facilitated support for initial discussions, to include people who might be committed to partnership work but are unsure how to get the ball rolling. No two SPAs are alike, and their vitality is in their individuality – each college and students’ association can develop their own agreement which meets their needs and steers things in a direction they both want to see.
With Student Partnership Agreements fast becoming the established standard of student engagement and partnership working there is new scope, with this guidance, for colleges to develop their own ways of working and share new ideas. A fast-growing number of colleges and around half of universities, are developing agreements. The new college guidance is situated in the sparqs Resource Library, alongside the guidance for universities, previously published in November 2013.
At the sparqs National Conference in May 2015, Edinburgh College Students’ Association and The Robert Gordon University ran sessions around their SPAs, both excellent examples of good practice. The presentations from can be viewed below and on our conference webpages alongside all the other materials from the day:
- ECSA – Partnerships in real life – how do they actually work?
- RGU – Working in partnership to enhance the student experience
Contact Simon Jones, sparqs Development Advisor, for more information or an informal chat about how they might be of use at your college, university or students’ association: firstname.lastname@example.org – 07469354246.