Development of college SAs boosted by launch of framework

Wednesday 03-06-2015 - 10:40

College students’ associations will be helped to ensure they are autonomous, accountable and representative following the publication of new guidance. 

The Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective Students’ Associations in Scotland has been developed by the Scottish Government, NUS Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), and also endorsed by Colleges Scotland.

It follows the Post-16 Education Act which increased the minimum number of student members on college boards to two and required colleges to ensure students are represented by an association.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance said:

“Students must have the strongest possible voice on campus. This was strengthened by 2013 legislation and the publication of today’s framework helps take that to the next level by setting out clearly how students’ associations can be supported to play a bigger role in shaping the future of their college. 

“The framework is based around five principles for effective associations in that they should be autonomous, work in partnership, be accountable, representative and sustainable. Five key themes are covered – shaping the life and work of the college, governance and democracy, aware and active students, sustainable resources, and value and democracy.

“I am looking to colleges and associations to work together openly and respectfully to develop and maintain trust. The distinctive contribution that  associations make to college life arises from their autonomous, representative role. It makes sense for colleges to support thriving students’ associations as they seek to deliver positive outcomes for students.” 

Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland president-elect, said: 

“NUS Scotland, and students right across Scotland, have worked incredibly hard over the last few years to get to a place where college student representation isn’t just enshrined in law but also provided the respect and value it rightfully deserves at all of our colleges, in a real and meaningful way. The launch of this Framework is the culmination of that hard work and an extremely important moment for NUS Scotland and college students.

“Over the last few years we have seen really exciting developments in college student representation. From where they were, even just a few years ago, college students’ associations have come an incredibly long way, and many easily rival their university counterparts in levels of representation, engagement and participation. This new framework will ensure that we are all working together to continue that, and see it spread right across Scotland. 

“As we look ahead, the framework will help deliver the strong, sustainable and autonomous associations that our college students deserve. It will ensure that college students are empowered to take a leading role in the future of their colleges and the decisions that are made. Above all, it will mean that college students’ associations are enabled to play the full and important role on their campuses that we know they can, and must.”

You can take a look at the framework and its supporting documents here.  

Colleges and students’ associations with questions about the framework can get in touch with NUS Scotland’s Development Consultants, Charlotte Britton ( or Mike Williamson ( 


NUS Scotland

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