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Bid to clarify future of Elmwood campus

Willie Rennie has previously expressed fears for the future of Elmwood
Willie Rennie has previously expressed fears for the future of Elmwood

Scotland’s Rural College has insisted it is committed to delivering education in Fife but not necessarily it its current home.

SRUC principal Professor Wayne Powell said he could not guarantee the future of the Elmwood campus in Cupar until the outcome of a funding review was known.

Prof Powell was attempting to quell months of uncertainty surrounding the college’s plans for the town following the withdrawal of Fife College last summer and a reduction in course and student numbers.

During a visit to Elmwood, he hosted discussions with staff and students to explain the position.

The commitment to Fife has been welcomed by the area’s MP Stephen Gethins and MSP Willie Rennie, although Mr Rennie warned the current issues would take a long time to resolve.

Prof Powell said: “I acknowledge the uncertainty that exists around the future of Elmwood campus but want to make it clear that we value the huge expertise and commitment of colleagues and students at the campus and that we will be continuing to deliver in Fife.”

He added: “Whether or not we remain at the current Elmwood building long term is dependent on a number of issues, such as the outcome of the current Scottish Funding Council review of local education provision, future student numbers and the ideas and feedback we gather locally during this vital period of engagement on our new strategy.

“We need viable business solutions that allow us to sustainably deliver what is needed locally.”

Mr Gethins described the professor’s comments as encouraging.

“SRUC has recognised the importance of its regional centres and I will continue to make the case for Elmwood,” he said.

“This campus presents the ideal opportunity to build links with local business and schools as well as looking at future partnerships with academic institutions like the University of St Andrews, which is a massive asset to the area.”

Mr Rennie claimed the uncertainty followed a “botched” decision by the Scottish Government which would take years to fix.

“It’s positive that they have a new vision for the SRUC but there is a long, long way to go yet,” he said.

“Because of the uncertainty for such a long time, Elmwood is a shadow of its former self and we will need commitment from both Fife College and SRUC to have more students and staff.”

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