Post PfC Funding
Although PfC came to a close in Autumn 2014, we are delighted to say that national support for students’ association development is not ending. At the FE Strategic Forum on 20th August 2014, Michael Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, announced that NUS Scotland and sparqs will receive £300,000 over the next two years from the Scottish Funding Council to support the delivery of the Framework for developing strong and effective college students’ associations.
Students’ associations remain a high priority for the government and the SFC. Michael Russell chose the future of students’ associations as the topic for discussion at the second FE Strategic Forum, inviting Principals, Regional Chairs, and Students’ Association Presidents to take part in the debate.
The sector has been consulted widely on the development of the framework, including a series of four Strategic Dialogue events held in April and May 2014 and three 'framework validation meetings' held in January 2015 to ensure the resource meets the needs of the sector.
The resulting Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students' Associations in Scotland was published in June 2015, housed on a dedicated framework website containing all the supporting documents to the framework and outlining the support to college students' associations being provided by sparqs and NUS Scotland.
We are delighted that NUS Scotland and sparqs will be able to continue to work with colleges and students’ associations to support the delivery of this Framework, and the continuing development of strong, effective, world class students’ associations in Scotland.
College Students' Associations: Realising our Potential
Our second annual conference took place on 14th August 2014, marking the PfC project coming to a close. See the conference page for more information and for some of the amazing achievements of students’ associations and student officers over the last two years, with the support of their staff and the PfC project.
Summary of College Regions
Ayrshire College, Glasgow Clyde College, West College Scotland and Fife College merged on 1st August 2013. Dundee and Angus College, North East Scotland College, Glasgow Kelvin College and New College Lanarkshire merged on 1st November 2013. Coatbridge College joined the New College Lanarkshire merger on 1st April 2014.
Colleges in Glasgow Region, Lanarkshire Region, and the Highlands and Islands will be forming federated structures under a regional Board.
The Scottish Government announced the appointment of Regional Chairs for 11 of the 13 college regions on 21st March 2014. Click here for the press release, which includes biographies for all of the appointed Regional Chairs. In June 2014 the Regional Chair for Dundee and Angus College was announced - see extract from the CDN Governance newsletter for details.
Headlines from Year 1
The first year of Partnerships for Change, which ran through 2012/13, is now finished. It saw a number of valuable achievements which put students' associations in a very strong position to meet the challenges of the coming year and beyond, and Partnerships for Change has been working with them and their colleges to help them plan and meet their goals.
Some of the key facts from the year include:
- An estimated £1,805,000 will be committed from the SFC’s Transformation Fund to support student engagement and students’ association development over two years.
- There will be approximately 45 paid student officers – 24 of them full time sabbaticals – in post next year across the 13 college regions. That’s more than double the 19 paid officers who were in post in 2012/13.
- Two students’ associations took on new staff members to support their work on regionalisation, funded through the Transformation Fund. Another region has recruited a Research Manager and Assistant to research what the best student representation structure for them is. Attention is now turning to more permanent staff support to help the students’ association develop strategically.
- There have been student members on every Partnership and Shadow Board in Scotland, doing an amazing job of understanding complex papers and making sure that the Board was able to take student perspective into account.
- Students’ associations have used a variety of methods to engage and consult students on regionalisation, such as the Fife Student Ambassadors who have gathered feedback from hundreds of students.
- Students’ associations in multi-college regions have come together as partners to manage the difficult task of negotiating their own mergers, or the creation of new regional structures. All students’ associations have a working structure in place for next year. In some cases it’s a fairly advanced merger; in others a Memorandum of Understanding is in place between the students’ associations to govern how they will work together while they consult on and plan their future further.
- Almost all students’ associations were able to agree structures and funding in time to hold sabbatical elections in May/June – meaning that the new officers were able to get ready for the new academic year over the summer, and take advantage of the NUS and sparqs summer training programme for officers.
While all merging colleges are now officially vested as of November 2013, the real work of regionalisation is just beginning and 2013/14’s officers will face the challenge of completing their students’ association’s restructure, and with representing the student voice in the college’s processes as the detail of their college’s regionalisation begins.