Sector meetings

A big part of supporting the sector is the work we do at national meetings, including committees of Scotland's sector agencies. This support takes three forms.

Our work on committees

Firstly, we attend a number of sector committees ourselves, to put forward our perspective as sparqs where this is useful. We sit on a wide range of committees, including several tertiary sector committees while the sector moves towards a tertiary quality framework.  Some key meetings we contribute to are the committee on Quality Arrangements for Scottish Higher Education (QASHE);  QAA Scotland's Teaching Quality Forum, Theme Leaders' Group and Scottish HE Enhancement Committee (SHEEC); SFC's Gender Governance Group; CDN's Quality Development Network; Advance HE's Anti-Racist Curriculum Working Group; and several SQA committees - plus a range of other specific committees and working groups.  We also sit on Scottish Government committees as and when required, e.g. the Student Mental Health and Well-Being Working Group.

Supporting Student Engagement & TQSEG

Secondly, as part of our mission to support student engagement in key decisions, we provide support to national student representatives who also sit on these committees. This support is provided jointly by both NUS Scotland and sparqs, providing guidance and advice, as appropriate, to those attending committees. 

Since Autumn 2023 this support has been provided via our Tertiary Quality Student Expert Group (TQSEG) as the sector continues to work towards developing a single tertiary approach to quality for colleges and universities. The rationale in setting up this group was to provide a joined-up approach to student voice within the move to Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework (TQEF), enabling students to discuss and influence the developing approach.

As there are a number of national sector committees working on elements of the TQEF, sparqs suggested that student reps could be found for these committees in part through volunteers from TQSEG. This allows the students on these groups to have the support of a peer network and of sparqs outside of each meeting.  TQSEG members attending these groups are able to gather perspectives from their fellow students to help them contribute within the national workstreams, as well as report back to TQSEG on key decisions and developments. TQSEG also helps to ensure student engagement at as many meetings as possible, with members able to substitute easily if another rep is unable to attend a scheduled sector committee meeting.

We also provide practical central support in terms of comms, appointments and papers, to try to help maximise preparation and engagement. 

National Education Officers' Network

Thirdly, we periodically engage student officers in discussions around issues arising from national meetings, via our National Education Officers' Network (NEON) meetings.  The process aims to help officers and their students' associations gain a fuller understanding of national policy developments, and enable them to contribute to national discussions as appropriate, using that knowledge to help shape the learning experience. 

The network also provides an opportunity for officers to share best practice, and allows for cross-institutional working on initiatives and projects. It historically met three times each academic year, but as a result of the pandemic it now meets monthly to provide additional network opportunities. 

For examples of the sorts of issues we engage with at the sector level, see our Quality Arrangements page.

For more information, please contact Eve Lewis.

Student Engagement Framework
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