Watchdog gives Highland rural college top marks

Lambing is among the activities students at Cantraybridge College can take part in. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Lambing is among the activities students at Cantraybridge College can take part in. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A RURAL skills college in the Highlands has been rated one of Scotland’s top facilities for people with learning difficulties.

Cantraybridge College in Croy, near Inverness, was given three “excellent” awards during an announced visit by the Care Inspectorate.

The score places it in the top one per cent of Scottish learning disability services.

The college, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, operates from a 19-acre smallholding, providing support for students learning a range of rural skills from growing agricultural and horticultural produce to producing and selling woodwork crafts.

It also encourages them to develop skills for independence and to enjoy social, leisure, educational and employment activities.

The Care Inspectorate praised the support for live-in students and commended the staff’s commitment to improving the quality of life for service users.

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Lisa Buchanan, the college chief executive, said the report was its crowning achievement of 2014, showing an improvement from a visit two years ago when the ratings were “very good”.

She added: “We are delighted that the Care Inspectorate has rated us so highly. As the only facility of its kind in Scotland, Cantraybridge College has a unique place in the spectrum of social care and learning provision, catering as we do for adult students with learning disabilities.

“It is clear from the comments from our students that they are very satisfied with the accommodation and support on offer, and we are pleased that students who would not be able to attend our college without the accommodation we provide, clearly enjoy such a high-quality service.”

Cantraybridge College was established in 1994 to provide education and training in rural skills to young people with disabilities.

It provides furnished accommodation and support for up to 19 students. The service operates all year round and aims to enable students to acquire the competence and confidence to gain employment, earn a living and develop their potential.”

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