Falling student numbers spark fears over future of Elmwood College

Elmwood campus

Elmwood campus

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Scotland’s Rural College is being urged to affirm its commitment to Cupar amid fresh rumours surrounding the future of Elmwood.

Fife College has confirmed it is to quit the town next summer, prompting speculation about what might happen to SRUC, which shares the Elmwood campus.

Earlier this year, SRUC gave an assurance it would not be leaving the town, but North East Fife MSP Roderick Campbell has raised concerns that the situation may change because of falling student numbers.

He said he’d met with SRUC’s acting chief executive Janet Swadling and had been disappointed to find that caveats involving ‘viability and sustainability’ appeared to have been added.

“The provision of further education – particularly rural, land-based education – in North East Fife must be preserved, at all costs,” said Mr Campbell.

“Following this week’s meeting, I have raised the issue as a matter of some urgency with the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Angela Constance MSP.

“I will also continue to liaise with Fife College and will encourage it to maintain a dialogue with SRUC.

“A solution needs to be found that will ensure further education in North East Fife continues.

“The statistics provided by SRUC in relation to student numbers for this year might appear disappointing, but I think it is essential that efforts are redoubled to attract students to Cupar.

“SRUC must stand by its commitment to Cupar.

“The rumour and speculation regarding Elmwood Campus is not helpful, particularly for the staff and students at the College, some of whom have already raised concerns with me directly. I will do my best to progress this matter.”

Mr Campbell also said that, in his view, the proceeds of the farm attached to the Cupar campus should be re-invested in the town.

The farmland and associated buildings are currently under offer but three cottages are still unsold.