Training for students with supported education needs

Below is a range of resources that can support the engagement of students with supported education needs in quality processes. Our training for reps with supported education needs has continued to be available for delivery both online and in-person for 2023-24.

In 2022-23, sparqs set up a working group consisting of college staff members in students’ associations, academic staff in Supported Education and sparqs Associate Trainer to review the provision of training for course reps in supported education. The group agreed that due to the wide range of study levels of students in supported education, each college should have the opportunity to choose which type of training and training activity will better suit their students, and therefore created an additional training option. Our materials were therefore revamped for 2023-24.

Colleges can choose between two types of training:

  • In-person delivery: by a sparqs Associate Trainer or a member of staff at the institution.
  • Video delivery: for use in house by institution or students’ association staff, with an optional in-class activity afterwards.

Throughout the sparqs website and mainstream resources, we use the term course reps to indicate those students who were elected by their classmates to represent their views. However, consultation with the working group identified that in colleges these students are usually referred to as class reps, which is the term now used in the materials for students with supported education needs.

In-person delivery

This training can be delivered by sparqs trainers, in partnership with support workers from the institution, or institutions can opt to download these materials for in-house delivery. If you deliver this training without our support, we can produce certificates for your participants upon receipt of your evaluation data and attendee details.

In-person sessions will be delivered with one support worker for every 5 delegates at a session. Ideally there should be no more than 10 participants per in-person session. The in-person training lasts between 1-1.5 hours.

Materials for in-person delivery 
The materials consist of the following, issued to relevant institutions as appropriate: 

  • Presentation
  • Facilitator's notes
  • Handbook
  • Evaluation form

Video delivery

Once class reps have been recruited, the college class rep liaison contact can get in touch with sparqs at and request the video delivery training resource pack. This consists of a 13-minute video, which features a sparqs Associate Trainer explaining the basic role of the class rep and going over some key elements, such as why class reps are important and what makes a successful rep. The video can either be viewed by class reps as a self-study unit, or with a member of staff providing learning support.

After class reps have watched the video, sparqs recommends running an in-class activity, which takes around 30 minutes. It can be delivered by students’ association staff, or by academic staff. If it would be helpful, an initial session can be delivered by sparqs, with staff observing and then delivering themselves thereafter. The activity can be delivered to the whole class, allowing an opportunity for the class rep to engage their classmates in thinking about feedback on their learning experience, collecting this feedback and focusing on solutions, with the help of the activity facilitator.


If you would like to discuss your training plans for reps with supported education needs during 2023-24, please contact Nicola Cameron, Business Manager - to discuss your needs. 

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