SRUC’s Acting Chief Executive and Principal says a meeting today between herself and Education Minister Angela Constance and MSP Joan McAlpine was very constructive. Janet Swadling, and SRUC’s Head of Education David James, met with the MSPs to discuss the College’s future presence in the south west of the country.
Janet Swadling says: “I feel the meeting was positive. It was a welcome opportunity to outline the rationale behind our proposed changes to relocate the campus and the review of courses which is underway in light of the National Strategy for Land-based Education and Training. I strongly emphasised that SRUC is committed to further education, both in the south west and across Scotland.” It was recognised that that status quo is not an option, and whilst change is not easy, investment is required to provide future suitable facilities.
Janet and David explained that as part of SRUC’s infrastructure strategy, the Barony Campus could potentially be relocated, with staff and courses joining their colleagues at the nearby Crichton Campus. The Crichton Campus is currently home to the College’s Dumfries-based SAC Consultants and SRUC’s internationally recognised Dairy Research Centre and associated Research Farm, as well as other educational institutions such as Dumfries and Galloway College.
Janet added: “The move would allow SRUC to develop and strengthen education links with other further and higher education institutions in the region, particularly Dumfries and Galloway College and the Forestry Commission. We believe that these links will enhance the educational opportunities for our learners and we are committed to ensuring our courses are relevant and our students have the appropriate skills to meet the needs of the land-based industries.”
The need for relocation is partly due to SRUC now having an overlarge estate; twice as much as the institution needs. It is also being considered in light of the National Strategy for Land-based Education and Training which SRUC was asked to develop on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council. The College is now committed to creating Centres of Excellence to meet the needs of industry and learners, whilst retaining local level entry provision. However, any changes remain dependent on funding and will take some years before they come to fruition.
Janet says: “We recognise that our Barony Campus is an important hub for education and training in the region and that hub will not disappear, it may move a short distance, but we will still be here in Dumfries and Galloway, delivering high quality land-based education for all.”

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