Students have a voice
Natspec colleges make sure that students are a part of the decision making process, and that their views are taken into account when planning programmes, activities and provision.
Every Natspec college has a student union or council, or runs other “student voice” activities to ensure that young people are part of decision making at college. Some of the methods that colleges use include:
- Student councils: student representatives from different parts of the colleges are elected to speak for their groups. The council is sometimes linked to the formal governance of the college, with a student representative on the board of governors.
- Some colleges support students to speak speaking at national conferences run by organisations such as the National Union of Students
- Regular student forums on different topics, involving the whole college
- Students write and design their own newsletters
- Some colleges have a facility such as a ‘Big Brother booth’ for students to record their own video diary – e.g. on topics like “when is a lesson good”
- Students get involved with their local authority or local democracy, for example through meeting their local councillors or sitting on local Equality Panels.
- Some students help assistive technology companies to design new products and develop new technologies.
Colleges ask students to complete surveys once or twice a year, and also Natspec runs a national learner survey.
Download the latest learner survey data.
At National level, in 2017 Natspec will launch the National Student Council. The role of the National Council will be to:
- Promote the high quality student voice activities of individual colleges
- Ensure that this voice is heard and promoted at a national level
- Help students from different colleges talk to each other about issues that are important to them, for example sex or relationship issues, transport, access to services, ideas about the curriculum, access to employment or work placements, and acceptance or discrimination.
- Give students experience of working at a national level, travel to other places and see new things
- Demonstrate the passion, skills and abilities of learners with learning difficulties and disabilities
The Council will meet twice per year and run regular on-line forums, surveys and discussions.
A Right not a Fight campaign ran from 2014 to 2016 and included activities, ambassador training, meetings, press coverage and marches. The campaign called for students with a learning difficulty or disability to have the same choices that most young people take for granted, such as choosing a further education college that best meets their learning and support needs.