The new principal of Fife College firmly believes that his institution has a part to play in any solution to the current situation at Elmwood College.
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has admitted that the future of the Elmwood Campus in Cupar is uncertain, although its boss Professor Wayne Powell recently insisted the SRUC is still committed to delivering sustainable education provision in Fife.
Talks are ongoing between the SRUC, the Scottish Funding Council and Fife Council over the direction of travel, but newly-appointed Fife College chief executive Hugh Hall has told The Courier that he too is working with all parties to develop a way forward.
His predecessor pulled Fife College out of the Elmwood campus in June 2016, but Mr Hall noted: “What we cannot allow is continuing uncertainty.
“That’s the worst possible position, especially for SRUC because they’ve got staff there, they are part of the community already.
“So I’ve taken the view that we’ve got to part of the solution.
“There is no question that Fife College has got lead responsibility for the provision of further education in this region.
“The Funding Council commissioned a study of provision in North East Fife and the consultants have produced a report which we’re now talking to the SRUC and the Funding Council about.
“I suppose the challenge is….what’s the level of demand? What type of demand is there? What does industry need?
“It’s quite a difficult thing to do because it’s not talking about the past demand, it’s actually trying to foresight and find out what the demand will be like over the next five, 10, 15 years.
“But once we start to get an appreciation of that, then we will start to think about how we can address it.”
Mr Hall added his belief that the Elmwood issue should not be just seen as a “Cupar issue”.
“I’m looking at this not just in the context of Cupar but also St Andrews, Anstruther and that whole East Neuk,” he continued.
“I don’t want this to be about: ‘We had a college in Cupar, we need to replace it with another college in Cupar’.
“That’s too simplistic.
“I’m keen on exploring whether we can take a model like Levenmouth Campus and develop that in a North East Fife context.
“It might not stack up financially but it’s something worth looking at.”