STUDENTS starting or returning to their studies at Scotland’s Rural College will now do so from September 28, with a combination of face-to-face and online teaching.

As Scotland enters the first phase of easing its lockdown restrictions, the SRUC has laid the groundwork for its next academic year by announcing a month's delay to its start, from the originally scheduled August 31.

Now, aiming for that new later date, applications are open for courses at SRUC's six campuses across Scotland – Ayr, Barony, Craibstone, Edinburgh, Elmwood and Oatridge. Students taking agriculture, engineering, horticulture, vet nursing and animal care courses can still expect on-campus delivery of the practical elements of their work, with proper social distancing, but as far as possible lectures and seminars will take place online during the first semester.

Coupled with small class sizes, the new arrangements will give SRUC greater ability to adapt to changes in social distancing guidance – and ensure the best possible experience for students should restrictions come back into effect in the future.

Principal and chief executive of SRUC, Professor Wayne Powell, said: “Like everything else, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the education sector and – over the past two months – students and staff at SRUC have had to adapt to new ways of learning and new ways of teaching.

“Prior to lockdown, SRUC had seen an increase in the number of applications for next year. We want to reassure potential and new students that we will provide an outstanding, high-quality experience while studying at SRUC.

“Fortunately, we were already looking to the future by introducing more blended (online and face-to-face) ways of teaching and learning," said Prof Powell. "Under this new approach, students are equal partners in SRUC, and we will empower our students to have more choice in how they learn.

“With lockdown measures being gradually eased, now is the perfect time to look ahead and we are excited and working hard to ensure that our students continue to enjoy high-quality, purposeful learning in 2020-21.

“We are delighted to welcome students on to exciting courses that are designed to support the sustainability of our natural economy and preparing our graduates with new knowledge and skills in areas such as digital technology and new approaches to precision agriculture.”

SRUC’s Edinburgh campus will be holding a number of virtual open days highlighting a range of courses, including Agriculture, Horticulture and Environment and Conservation, through online presentations and videos. To find out more or to book a place, visit: