Students at centre of support review

Minister and Chair hear from Forth Valley students, as review meets for first time.

The review of student support got underway this week, starting by hearing from those who will be most affected by the review – students themselves.

The review is being independently chaired by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO Virgin Money, with a remit to deliver recommendations on how to deliver an improved package of support for students in Scotland.

The review group membership, with a wide range of representatives from across the sector and beyond, held its first meeting on Monday at Forth Valley College’s Alloa campus.

The location presented an ideal opportunity for the chair, alongside Minister for Further & Higher Education Shirley-Anne Somerville, to meet a group of early education students and hear about their support experiences first-hand.

Ms Somerville said:

“I want student support to be better aligned to the interests and needs of our college and university students, therefore I am delighted that this review is now underway.

“I am sure the review group will gather input from many different groups and interests, before they present their findings to Ministers next year. And it is clear that the views of students themselves will be paramount to the process.

“We had a very open and frank conversation with the students from Forth Valley College and I really appreciate them taking the time to share their experiences with us.”

Jayne-Anne Gadhia said:

“Getting student support right is hugely important. Not just for the wellbeing of students, but also the importance of having successful and trained new entrants to support the Scottish job market.  

“A key ask that emerged from the discussions with the Forth Valley students was about the need for support to be simpler, with more accessible information about what is available.

“As the review group takes forward its work I look forward to more discussions with students, as well as all those with a contribution to make to improve the way we support students in Scotland.”

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, added:

“We are delighted that Shirley-Anne Somerville and Jayne-Anne Gadhia chose to have the first student support review group meeting here at our Alloa Campus.

“We introduced them to students from our HNC Childhood Practice group in our simulated nursery and they were both delighted to speak with them on various aspects of student life, from student funding to quality information on career paths.

“Hosting events such as these gives us a great opportunity to showcase our fantastic facilities and introduce decision makers to our student community.”


Photos from the Forth Valley visit are attached - while the College has produced a short video, accessible here:

Chaired by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO Virgin Money, the Student Support Review Group membership includes:

  • Russell Gunson, Director, IPPR Scotland
  • Dr John Kemp, Interim Chief Executive, Scottish Funding Council
  • Paul Lowe, Chief Executive, Student Awards Agency Scotland
  • Yvonne MacDermid, Chief Executive Money Advice Scotland
  • Louise MacDonald, Chief Executive, Young Scot
  • Annag MacLean, Headteacher, Castlebay Community School, Barra
  • Erin McAuley, MSYP, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Vonnie Sandlan, President, NUS Scotland
  • Alastair Sim, Director, Universities Scotland
  • Shona Struthers, Chief Executive, Colleges Scotland
  • Angela Toal, Welfare Rights Worker, Child Poverty Action Group
  • Philip Whyte, Policy & Influencing Manager, NUS Scotland

For more about the work of the review go to:

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