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NUS Scotland support

NUS Scotland is a confederation of over 60 local student organisations in Scotland, representing over 500,000 students.


It is an integral, but autonomous, part of the National Union of Students (NUS) - meaning it works together to represent students across the entire UK, but while setting its own policy and direction. NUS have been the national voice of students for the past 90 years - working with students to fight barriers to education and to empower students to shape the quality of their student experience.

Partnerships for Change

Partnerships for Change is a joint NUS Scotland and Student Partnerships in Quality Scotland (sparqs) project that is funded by SFC to support Students' Associations and institutions to deliver student engagement during the period of structural change across the college sector and also to help focus the restructuring of Students' Associations through regionalisation.

Its aims are to:

  • Engage with change processes as colleges merge, federate and develop to meet the regionalisation agenda to ensure decision making is influenced by students
  • Develop new structures and processes to ensure students can effectively shape and influence college life and the student experience within the new regions - representing students with an independent voice throughout access points and fulfilling a governance role within any new regional structures
  • Contribute to national developments and strategic direction taking colleges forwards

Project outcomes are:

  • Student representatives have a formal, engaged, and active role in shaping the change process
  • Student representative structures engage with and influence decision making from the Regional Board level down ensuring college strategies are student centred
  • Autonomous, inclusive student associations able to gather and represent diverse student opinions
  • Student associations are resourced and sustainable
  • Student associations' role in the Regional College Partnership is better understood and supported
  • National support for college student structures and regional student members is available
  • Student officers are able to contribute to national strategic debates

Each region will have a Partnerships for Change consultant who will offer advice and support to student representatives and student governors in colleges, and also their Students' Associations, and provide coaching as necessary. Resources and guidance will also be produced centrally which students in all regions will be able to access.

Partnerships for Change consultants will be agreeing consultation plans with their region's students' associations and colleges, setting out exactly what actions they will take and what support they will deliver. This will include, for example, supporting student members in interpreting and preparing their responses to Partnership and Shadow Board papers, supporting them in making bids for funding to support this activity (e.g. from the College Transformation Funds which colleges may be accessing), facilitating their debate on developing a vision and strategy for the regional Students' Association, etc.

Students' associations will report progress on the student engagement workstream to the Partnership Board. Working groups should be set up to which the Partnerships for Change Consultant will report on the progress of the Partnerships for Change project.

NUS Advice and Guidance for College Mergers

NUS guidance on mergers, student engagement, and students' associations is being updated and will be added shortly. 

This guidance was developed in 2012 and will be reviewed.

Your feedback is important so let us know where you have used it or how it can be improved by contacting Linda McLeod, email: