Publication - FOI/EIR release

Student Support Review implementation costs, organisations and committees: FOI release

Published: 18 Feb 2020

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
18 Feb 2020
Student Support Review implementation costs, organisations and committees: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000012383
Date received: 20 Jan 2020
Date responded: 17 Feb 2020
Information requested

You asked for:

  • the total spend on the Student Support implementation stage meetings as part of the overall student support review,
  • the number of meetings/conferences that have been held for the implementation stage of the student support review,
  • a summary/list of the Initial recommendations that have been agreed at the implementation stage of the student support review,
  • what actual Scottish Government Policies have been invoked and passed as official Scottish Government policy at this stage,
  • what different committees that have been have been set up for the implementation stage of the student support review,
  • how many people have been involved in the implementation stage of the student support review in total,
  • how many people have been included at each committee for the implementation stage of the student support review, and,
  • the name of every organisation that has been represented at this stage of the implementation of the student support review.
Response

Please advise the total spend on the Student Support implementation stage meetings as part of the overall student support review?
The Student Support Review (SSR) concluded in November 2017, and Scottish Ministers responded in June 2018. After this point, work on the Student Support Review became part of policy officials’ day to day duties, and as such, there was no formal committee structure. We meet internally regularly at an internal Student Support Review Programme Board which supports implementation, and on an ad-hoc basis to discuss progress on implementation of the student support review recommendations. We also discuss across other Scottish Government Directorates depending on need, and with external partners and agencies. It would be very difficult to capture every instance where we meet. Therefore I am unable to provide a total spend on the Student Support Review implementation stage as we do not hold this information. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Please advise the number of meetings/conferences that have been held for the implementation stage of the student support review?
The Student Support Review concluded in November 2017, and Scottish Ministers responded in June 2018. After this point, the ongoing work forms a part of staff’s business as usual duties with no additional costs. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Please provide me with a summary/list of the initial recommendations that have been agreed at the implementation stage of the student support review?
The independently chaired Student Support Review (SSR) published on 20th November 2017. On 9th June 2018, the First Minister announced that the £5.2 million additional funding committed for SSR in 2018/19 Budget would increase FE and HE care-experienced bursaries to £8,100 (from previous levels of £7,625 in HE and £4,185 in FE). First Minister also committed to improve FE and HE bursaries (details below) to bring increased investment to student support, raising the HE student loan repayment threshold to £25,000 from 2021 and reduce repayment term from 35 to 30 years from 2018.
On 12th June 2018, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science (at the time Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP) made a statement to Parliament outlining in 2019/20:

  • The lowest HE bursary income threshold would rise from £19,000 to £21,000;
  • The HE bursary for young students would rise from £1,875 to £2,000 per year;
  • The HE bursary for independent students would rise from £875 to £1,000 per year;
  • The maximum FE bursary would rise from £4,185 to £4,500 per year;
  • FE ‘guarantee’ system to be introduced to ensure payment of FE bursary (maximum of £97 per week) to eligible 18/19 year old students rather than the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £30 per week. 

Ministers said that these announcements were a first step towards realising the ambitions of the ‘social contract model’ across FE and HE.  A transcript of Ms Somerville’s Statement can be found here  https://www.gov.scot/publications/student-support-review-ministerial-statement/
We are continuing to progress a number of recommendations made by the Review which require further work. These include the development of the Student Information Scotland portal (due to launch in 2020), which will provide centralised financial and funding information across both FE and HE for the first time, and, a review of student support for Disabled Students.


Please advise what actual Scottish Government Policies have been invoked and passed as official Scottish Government policy at this stage?
In 2018/19:

  • increase to FE and HE care-experienced bursaries to £8,100 (from previous levels of £7,625 in HE and £4,185 in FE).

In 2019/20:

  • The lowest HE bursary income threshold has been increased from £19,000 to £21,000;
  • The HE bursary for young students has increased from £1,875 to £2,000 per year;
  • The HE bursary for independent students has increased from £875 to £1,000 per year;
  • The maximum FE bursary has increased from £4,185 to £4,500 per year;
  • FE ‘guarantee’ system introduced to ensure payment of FE bursary to eligible 18/19 year old students rather than the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £30 per week.

In 2020/21:

  • Removal of the 26 age cap for access to the care-experienced bursary.


Please advise the different committees that have been have been set up for the implementation stage of the student support review?
The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because there have been no committees set up for the implementation stage of the Student Support Review. As provided above, we meet internally on a regular basis via the SSR Programme Board and other ad hoc meetings. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. 

How many people have been involved in the implementation stage of the student support review in total?
Since the beginning of the implementation stage of the Student Support Review, there has been up to 2 members of full-time Scottish Government staff working almost exclusively on implementation. 
Alongside this, there has been around 40 different members of Scottish Government and agency staff supporting implementation for a percentage of their time, alongside their standard contracted job, providing policy, financial or analytical expertise. This is an estimated figure. It is not possible to provide an exact figure due to the nature of flexible working within the Scottish Government, the wideranging policy issues covered within the implementation of the Student Support Review, and staff moving posts.

Please advise how many people have been included at each committee for the implementation stage of the student support review?
As advised above there was no formal committee structure, however we meet internally regularly at an internal Student Support Review Programme Board which supports implementation, and there are 22 people on the attendee list for these meetings.

Please advise the name of every organisation that has been represented at this stage of the implementation of the student support review?
During the implementation stage of the Student Support Review, we have been engaging with many stakeholders, including:

       
Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)        Universities Scotland Glasgow Clyde College SRUC
Independent Care Review Colleges Scotland Lews Castle College UHI Edinburgh Napier University
Who Cares? Scotland Money Advice Service Inverness College Edinburgh University
National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Moray College UHI Glasgow Caledonian University
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) National Parent Forum of Scotland North Highland College UHI Glasgow School of Art
Stand Alone Focus West Orkney College UHI Glasgow School of Dental Hygiene
Scottish Funding Council (SFC) LEAPS Shetland College UHI Heriot Watt University
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Lift Off West Highland College UHI Heriot Watt University – Borders
UK Government Aspire North South Lanarkshire College Queen Margaret University
Scottish Loans Company (SLC) Carer’s Trust West Scotland College Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
CELCIS One Parent Families Scotland West College Scotland St Andrews University
COSLA Dance for All West Lothian College Strathclyde University
Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Ayrshire College Newbattle Abbey College Aberdeen University
Welsh Government Borders College Scotland's Rural College Abertay University
Lead Scotland Dumfries and Galloway Glasgow Kelvin College Dundee University
University and College Union Dundee and Angus College Argyll College UHI Glasgow University
National Association of Student Money Advisors (NASMA) Edinburgh College Perth College UHI Robert Gordon University
Young Scot Fife College New College Lanarkshire Stirling University
College Development Network Forth Valley College North East Scotland College University of the Highlands & Islands
Citizens Advice Scotland City of Glasgow College Sabhal Mor Ostaig University of the West of Scotland

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