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‘Positive’ meeting held on future of Barony

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
‘Positive’ meeting held on future of Barony

‘CONSTRUCTIVE’ discussions have taken place over the future of the Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in the region.

The meeting between SRUC’s acting chief executive and principal Janet Swadling, its head of education David James, Education Minister Angela Constance and MSP Joan McAlpine comes after concerns were expressed for the fate of the Barony site at Parkgate.
But speaking after the meeting, Ms Swadling said: “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.”
Ms Swadling added: “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.”
Criticism had been directed at SRUC after Ms Swadling took questions at the Scottish Parliament in late November.
Ms McAlpine had said staff at the Barony and in the land-based industry would be ‘shocked’ that plans were being developed to close the site and transfer its functions to the Crichton Royal Farm campus in Dumfries.
SRUC say that Ms Swadling and Mr James 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 site.
Ms Swadling said: “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.”

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