7 Sep 2018

How good is our college? update

With Evaluative Reports and Enhancement Plans (EREPs) for 2017-18 due in October, we want to update you on HGIOC and our work with students this year.

Student engagement in the college quality arrangements is a re-emphasised priority, with the supplementary guidance for the EREPs stating:

"It is a Scottish Government priority that student engagement in colleges should be progressed and that the role of students’ associations in all aspects of college life should be further developed."

SFC and Education Scotland agree that the work of students’ association and learner voice is integral to colleges understanding the needs of diverse student groups and tackling issues that are being progressed through outcome agreements and quality improvement. Colleges/college regions are therefore expected to engage with their student body in the development of their Evaluative Report and Enhancement Plan.

You can access the full guidance on the SFC website. 

We have worked with students and students’ association staff to explore student engagement with the framework and the arrangements through multiple events/meetings:

  • CDN’s “How Good is Your Quality?” conference on 26th January 2018 with reflections on the first year given by the Scottish Funding Council, Education Scotland and colleges. The day stimulated lots of beneficial conversation and we were particularly pleased to have 8 student officers attend and share their input, which was hugely valuable.
  •  Inverness College UHI and sparqs project on How good is our college? to develop a practice guide for the college sector on how to engage students as partners in How good is our college? began with an introductory workshop on Monday 19th February 2018. This workshop was a chance for around 30 staff and students from across the college to shape the direction of the project by identifying good practice and priorities for development in both the tools of student engagement used in the college and the topics in which students are engaged. The day was facilitated by sparqs, with valuable input from Education Scotland.
  • sparqs' How good is our college? ‘Influencing the new quality arrangements’ event on 19th April 2018 aimed at college student officers and students’ association staff, to help inform them about HGIOC and allow them to feed into the revised quality arrangements, with new guidance due to be published for Year 2. The event supported college student officers and students' association staff to develop a deeper understanding of the college quality arrangements, feed into the revised arrangements through gathering their views prior to upcoming sector meetings, and start planning for SA involvement in the next phase of implementation within their college.
  • Student Team Member training with Education Scotland on 2nd July 2018 explored their role within the arrangements, with 10 new and existing Student Team Members attending. We worked with Education Scotland to introduce the group to the arrangements and continue to examine the role of Students’ Associations and Student Team members in the arrangements.
  • That’s Quality! Colleges training residential on 8th-9th August 2018 - aimed at new college student officers and students’ association staff to introduce them to the college quality arrangements and feed back on current arrangements and tools for student engagement with them. Attended by 38 student officers and students’ association staff.

Next Steps

We are pleased to announce that we will be running an event on Monday 5th November 2018 at Airthrey Castle in Stirling, around making HGIOC work for colleges and their students. The event is designed to help officers consolidate their knowledge and use the quality arrangements to help shape their work plans for the rest of the year. See our separate news article on the event for further information! 

We will continue to work with Education Scotland, SA staff and students to develop student engagement in the process and are looking forward to working on outputs from our project with Inverness College UHI.

Please contact Steph Kirkham, Development Consultant – steph.kirkham@sparqs.ac.uk for further information about any of the above and Simon Varwell, Development Consultant – simon.varwell@sparqs.ac.uk for any queries relating to the Inverness College UHI and sparqs project.

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