The Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations sets out a sector-agreed framework for how colleges and students’ associations can work in partnership, with the support of sector agencies and NUS Scotland, to develop strong and effective students’ associations. 


It sets out a shared vision for students' association development and a set of standards and indicators which offer students' associations and colleges a structure and guidance to help them to jointly plan their development.


The Framework has developed through Strategic Dialogue with the Scottish college sector. It grew out of the increased focus and expectations placed on students’ associations as a result of the Post-16 Reforms and has been developed through Strategic Dialogue with the sector.


The Framework is made up of three key documents. All three are available to download below. The Framework and the Wall Chart are also available upon request in a published format. Please contact NUS Scotland if you would like to request copies.

The Framework sets out a shared vision for students’ association development and a common understanding of its key concepts and qualities.

The Self-Evaluation and Development Planning Tool outlines a set of standards and indicators/prompts which identify the resources and support a students’ association needs to be effective. It is a practical tool for colleges and students’ associations to use to develop their own joint development plan.

The Wall Chart gives an overview of the whole Framework on one A3 paper, helping you visualise how it all fits together, and offers a roadmap to help guide you through. It will also look great on your wall!


This supplement summarises key pieces of legislation relevant to students’ associations.



The Framework aims to provide a shared vision for students' association development and a common understanding of its key concepts and qualities. It identifies five key Principles that set out the aspirations for students’ associations in the college sector.


These are:

  • Partnered

  • Representative

  • Sustainable

  • Accountable

  • Autonomous


The Themes section outlines five areas of development that colleges and students' associations will need to work together to put in place.


These are:

  • Shaping the Life and Work of the College

  • Governance and Democracy

  • Aware and Active Students

  • Sustainable Resources

  • Value and Impact.