Student partnership agreement


The Student Partnership Agreement sets out how students and staff can work together to improve the student experience.


Student Partnership Agreement 2024 - 2026 (full text)

SPS Summary 2024 - 2026 (brief summary of work themes)

The document was developed in light of recommendations in the Post-16 Education Green Paper which advocated that universities should have a Student Partnership Agreement (SPA) with their student association. The intention of the agreements was to highlight how students can influence the life of their university and set out areas which staff and students can work on together to improve the student experience. The university was the first in Scotland to introduce a SPA.

The SPA at UHI is now agreed for a three year period, with the current agreement running from 2024 - 2026. The agreement is agreed with the university's Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) and Your Students' Association. You can read the Student Partnership Agreement 2024 - 2026 here. Please email us at the address at the bottom of this page if you would like further information.

Agreement news and updates

Representatives of the University and Your Students' Association meet on a monthly basis to take forward areas for joint working. This year we are working in partnership on:

Theme 1: Improved academic growth, engagement and quality.

This theme includes improving the student experience, evidenced through National Student Survey results, improving the student voice rep system and other such initiatives.

Theme 2: Active campaigning and community engagement.

This theme includes an annual general meeting / conference to which all students are invited, and the active campaigning of elected association officers on their manifesto pledges.

Theme 3: Celebrating success.

This theme includes employability skills development, annual teaching awards, sporting blues, volunteer achievement and student voice rep reward and recognition.

Latest news

Latest news from the agreement is published in our monthly students newsletter (delivered by email to your inbox). If you would like to know more about any of these activities, contact a HISA representative or

Get involved

We want all our students to be able to enjoy student life in partnership with the university and their partner college.  To assist this aim we are sharing this partnership agreement, originally developed by UHI Inverness.

This partnership agreement resource is a tool and a way to enrich and improve the student experience that individual students may participate with. Working with students as true partners is one of the key messages in working towards this goal.

This is an online resource. It has all the information split by themes and is put together in a way which reflects our partnership approach.

This is a reflection of our commitment to partnership working - viewing and treating all involved as experts and able partners.

Some UHI academic partners (colleges) customise this agreement and jointly select 2-3 areas to focus on together over the course of the academic year. These areas will have specific, measurable actions to work on – things that will make a real difference to the student experience and things that are worked on in partnership. Check with your local college if there is a local agreement at your college.



An overview of Student Partnership at the University of the Highlands and Islands content

An overview of Student Partnership at the University of the Highlands and Islands

An overview of Student Partnership at the University of the Highlands and Islands

What is partnership?

The terms 'partner' and 'partnership' are used in a broad sense to indicate joint working between students and staff. Partnership working is based on the values of:

  • openness;
  • trust and honesty;
  • agreed shared goals and values; and
  • regular communication between the partners.

It is not based on the legal conception of equal responsibility and liability; rather, partnership working recognises that all members in the partnership have legitimate, but different, perceptions and experiences. By working together to a common agreed purpose, steps can be taken that lead to enhancements for all concerned. The terms reflect a mature relationship based on mutual respect between students and staff.

Student partnership and engagement at the university

Formal student representation

The university and academic partners is committed to involving students in the decision-making process and making sure that they have the best possible experience while studying with us. All further and higher education students are automatically members of Your Students’ Association (YSA). The university and YSA work closely together to ensure that students are represented on all relevant university committees and are supported and trained to fulfil their roles.

Opportunities to become involved in student representation include the following:

  • Student representatives are present on all relevant university and academic partner committees, including Faculty Boards, Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee, Academic Council, College Boards and others. Students are informed about vacancies and how to take part when they arise.
  • Each class should have a Student Voice Rep who will attend Course Committees and make student views known on issues related to the course experience. On-going communication will be encouraged out-with formal meetings.
  • Focus groups and consultation events are arranged when major changes, for example to curriculum, are planned, and students are invited to take part in these groups.

Student representatives are trained and supported in their respective roles. There is also the opportunity to meet with other student reps to support each other.

Student engagement in the life of the university

Student involvement is not restricted to formal representative structures. All students are encouraged to become partners in shaping the life of the university. Opportunities include:

  • Participating in volunteering opportunities within and out-with university.
  • Giving honest, constructive feedback by taking part in surveys, focus groups and other feedback opportunities.
  • Sharing opinions with Student Voice Reps, or other student reps.
  • Speaking directly with lecturing staff or support staff.
  • Supporting activities of your class, including interacting with other students online.
  • Developing and taking part in events, societies, clubs, and groups.
  • Providing suggestions, complements, feedback or raising issues through the Red Button student feedback system.

Staff will seek to engage with students in both formal and informal structures and ensure that students are a central part of decision making and informing of policy and practice. Means of ensuring clear and accessible communication between the wider student community is continually reviewed to ensure that this is enhanced on an ongoing basis.

Your Students’ Association

YSA primarily exists to be an advocate for students across the university, by representing their rights, needs and opinions. You can become involved by:

  • Standing for election as a sabbatical Principal Officer (paid, full-time roles within the Association)
  • Standing for election as a HISA Depute. There are representatives for each academic partner within the university and other specialist roles too. Student officers form the Executive Committee which steers the operational direction of the Association.
  • Taking part in the annual conference, open to all elected officers (including Student Voice Reps), which offers an opportunity for students to meet to discuss and set the policy and practice of the Students’ Association.