The Learning & Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) and NUS have recently launched a new project designed to assist further education providers in improving their representative systems. As part of the project, we will update exisiting class representative training materials, as well a provide an on-line hub where reps can discuss issues and share ideas.
The project will also provide support for staff members who work with reps in colleges and learning providers. There will be opportunities for networking and training, which will equip these staff members to train and support class reps throughout the year.
Additionally, there will be a big focus on engaging students who do not traditionally become class reps. Some of the student groups the project aims to involve are: work-based learners and apprentices, students with learning difficulties and disabilities, ESOL students, adult students, and part-time students.
NUS and LSIS are aiming to create a network of trained staff members who can support class reps not only in their own college, but throughout their region. Through Learner Forums, class reps from various colleges will come together for training and to discuss issues students may have in the local community. These forums will allow reps to engage with larger local and national issues.
Class rep systems can impact on quality improvement and assurance systems in colleges, as well as on funding and inspection. Class rep systems are one of the best methods for providing feedback on teaching and learning at all levels, and a truly robust system leads to a better experience for all learners.
This project has the opportunity to have a massive impact on the capacity of students to be involved in improving their educational experience. In working to increase representation from all students, the project will also ensure that the diverse voice of FE students is heard.
The ability of class reps to engage on local and national issues will also impact on the lives of students. The ability of students to affect local issues such as transport and national issues such as EMA cannot be underestimated and fully trained reps will be the backbone to this.
There are numerous ways for you to get involved:
- Take part in the NUS consultation with students’ union officers, current and former class reps, and students who feel excluded by current rep systems
- Conduct focus groups with different groups of students to gather information on how to better represent them at the class level.
- Provide NUS with examples of how the class rep system works in your college
One of the best ways to get involved is to use the new training materials and on-line hub, which will be launched in October, and let NUS know what you think of these resources. Most importantly you can get involved in engaging with class reps from around the country through the on-line forum.
For information about the project, or to get involved in the consultation process, hold a focus group, or tell us about your class rep system, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.