This page contains a collation of outgoing comms issued by sparqs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the more formal comms, our News Articles also pull together our key comms, information on our events, as well as signposting to sector activity and resources.
sparqs' comms to date (most recent at top):
Thursday 19th August 2021 - our most recent news articles mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- sparqs' Course Rep Training is open for institutions to book for 2021-22 and a welcome to our team of ATs who will be delivering it.
- Our September network meetings are open to book: SESN on 14th September and NEON on 30th September!
- A round-up from our That's Quality! 2021 events.
- Our welcome emails to 2021-22 student officers outlining sparqs' support.
- We are recruiting a Development Consultant!
The role is for a 1-year, fixed term contract, with the possibility of extension dependent on funding. Closing date: 12noon, Friday 16th July!
- Save the dates for our next SESN and NEON meetings!
We've set the next series of meeting dates, up until the end of 2021 so please get them into your diary if relevant, and please flag NEON to any new student officers!
- We have updated our SLE questions resource for 2021-22
This resource (first published in 2020 and now updated for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year) outlines some suggested questions that course reps may want to ask the students they represent, organised under each of the Student Learning Experience themes.
- A roundup from our Student Engagement Awards!
Find out who all our Award winners were, announced at our online Awards ceremony on 22nd June, which also included the launch of our report Celebrating Successful Partnerships in 2020-21. The report features many of the submissions for the Awards and is a testament to all the amazing work to ensure student engagement across a most difficult year.
Friday 21st May 2021 - direct mailing to course reps (also sent to students' associations and student officers) sharing our COVID-19 course rep briefing to outgoing reps extending a message of thanks to reps for their work over the year, reflecting on the importance of their role during the pandemic.
- The sparqs' 2021 Student Engagement Awards are open for submissions!
We are pleased to announce our 2021 Student Engagement Awards, which are now open for submissions. See the awards webpage for all the details, including how to submit. The closing date is 9.00am on Monday 31st May 2021. We look forward to receiving all your good practice over this last year.
The sparqs' Student Engagement Awards ceremony on 22nd June is open for bookings
A short awards ceremony to celebrate the successes of the sector’s partnership working during this turbulent year, launch our report highlighting case studies from across our institutions and students’ associations, and of course announce the winners of our Student Engagement Awards for 2021.
- the ceremony will take place online, from 5.00pm until 6.30pm and is open for bookings - we hope you can join us!
- Easter closing details, including arrangements for event bookings while we're closed, plus our updated institutional contact list.
- Our joint Student-led Project event with QAA around innovations in digital student communities - taking place on 25th May 2021.
- Save the dates for our That's Quality! 2021 events and our next NEON event for officers.
Tuesday 23rd March 2021 - direct mailing to course reps (also sent to students' associations and student officers) sharing our COVID-19 course rep briefing on transitions - designed to help course reps to engage in conversations with students and staff around student achievement and progression, to ensure the issues and concerns that students have in relation to successfully completing their courses are heard.
Thursday 4th March 2021 - our most recent news articles mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- We are seeking case studies from across Scotland for our major report celebrating partnership during the pandemic
What successful partnership have you and colleagues developed during the COVID-19 pandemic? sparqs is planning a report to highlight and celebrate the successes of engagement and partnership across Scotland in this challenging academic year. Please submit your good practice by the end of March.
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 - our most recent news articles mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- Student Partnership Agreements during COVID-19
- the launch of our new briefing note on how Student Partnership Agreements (SPAs) can be developed and considered during the current pandemic.
Monday 11th January 2021 - our most recent news articles mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- Bookings are now open for our series of 5 national events designed to gather the views of 5 student cohorts on the impact of COVID on their Student Learning Experience. We would be grateful if students’ associations, officers, course reps and institutions could help advertise these events to the 5 cohorts of students and share them on social media.
Thursday 17th Devember 2020 - ou last news articles mailing of 2020 - sent to all stakeholders
Friday 3rd Devember 2020 - news articles mailing to all stakeholders
(including the following key comms):
Monday 30th November 2020- direct mailing to course reps (also sent to students' associations and student officers) sharing our COVID-19 course rep briefing on assessment - to help reps begin the conversations with students and staff around assessment and exams, and to try and resolve any worries before they become problems.
Monday 9th November 2020 - news article mailing to all stakeholders
(including the following key resource launch):
- A Toolkit for Effective Learner Engagement - sparqs & Education Scotland
- launch of a joint sparqs/EdS resource support student engagement in Scotland’s colleges in this ‘recovery year’. The resource is aligned to, and intended to be used alongside, the new Education Scotland resources ‘Our Best Future’ and the sparqs' SLE tool.
Friday 30th October 2020 - mailing to students' associations providing resources to help with course rep recruitment:
- The resources include a guide to the course rep role and template presentation to help with recruitment, as well as a sparqs' welcome note to new reps and a template letter which reps can use to introduce themselves to their classmates. Even if you have already recruited your reps, you may find the welcome note and template letter useful.
Wednesday 23rd September 2020 - news article mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- A reminder to Scottish institutions that sparqs' Course Rep Training support and materials are available if required, developed in an online format for 2020-21 and fully revised to prepare reps for working in a context in which the student learning experience has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday 24th August 2020 - news article mailing to all stakeholders
(including the following key comms):
- Suggested questions for course reps: COVID-19 edition
A resource designed to help course reps gather crucial student feedback during the COVID-19 crisis in order to assess the impact and build solutions to help safeguard the student learning experience. Our resource suggests questions that course reps can use when speaking to students.
- An update on the SFC review of coherent provision and sustainability of post-16 education, including the sparqs and NUS Scotland responses, and how student officers and students' associations can ensure student engagement throughout the review.
Monday 17th August 2020 - news article mailing to all stakeholders
- opening our 2020-21 Introductory Course Rep Training for bookings, which is taking place in an online format this year in the light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Monday 6th July 2020 - news article mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- A briefing note to colleges and universities in Scotland around preparing course rep systems and recruting reps during COVID-19.
- An update on sparqs' Course Rep Training plans for 2020-21 including support and materials to Scottish institutions.
Thursday 2nd July 2020 - welcome emails to new and returning Vice Presidents of Education, or Presidents, to highlight sparqs' support, relevant resources and forthcoming events, which have been refocused in the light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Monday 1st June 2020 - news article mailing to all stakeholders (including the following key comms):
- An update on sparqs' new workplans.
- A message of thanks to the sector, and in particular, student officers.
- A briefing note for universities and colleges - outlining ideas and suggestions for developing a successful induction for education officers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Week beginning 18th May 2020 - briefing note FAO Course Reps - sent via students' associations for distribution to reps. A tailored version incorporating institutional/SA logos and contact details is also available on request.
Wednesday 13th May 2020 - email signposting key sector briefings - sent to all Scottish contacts on our mailing list.
Monday 6th April 2020 - news articles mailing to all stakeholders (including the following targeted comms):
- Guidance to college student officers and guidance to university student officers, signposting to current recommendations from relevant sector agencies.
- Draft guidance to students' associations on the role of the Academic Co-ordinator - for information and feedback.
Tuesday 31st March 2020 - letter to all colleagues in Scotland and beyond, outlining how sparqs intends to support students and staff to work in partnership to safeguard the student experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During week beginning 30th March 2020 our Development Consultants made contact with our institutions within Scotland, to find out more about how colleagues are facing the current challenges and what sparqs can do to support them. Discussions are also ongoing with sector agency partners around current sector priorities and how we can work together where appropriate to provide support and guidance.