Getting the buzz back on campus - Aileen McKechnie

The past 18 months has brought with it much change and challenge. We’ve had to adapt to new approaches to living and working; we’ve had to operate within restricted family bubbles; we’ve missed weddings, funerals, gigs, and sports events; we’ve not been able to meet up with friends or family- and so much more.

Aileen McKechnie, Principal at South Lanarkshire College

All of this has been to keep us all safe and protect our NHS during the pandemic. And one group that has adapted incredibly during this period is our students.

I am absolutely delighted to welcome new and returning students back to our campus over the next few weeks. Students and staff have been wonderful throughout the pandemic, adapting to a new way of learning and teaching, continuing to complete courses and progress onto further study or employment, despite the many challenges caused by the pandemic.

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Although things are not completely back to normal, we are gradually and safely increasing the number of students on our campus over the next few months, in line with Scottish Government Covid-19 guidance. This will allow students to learn in a blended model, undertaking assessments and practical work on campus, getting critical face-to-face teaching in a social atmosphere on campus whilst also allowing the flexibility of online learning, which may suit some students.

New and returning students are being welcomed at South Lanarkshire College.

I recognise the importance the pandemic has played in the future of education and technology-led learning and South Lanarkshire College, as colleges adapted incredibly to online and blended learning over the past 18 months.

With almost two years in a row of unusual learning, this Autumn will, I hope, feel like a breath of fresh air as we return to our new normal. It will also be important as we go forward that we retain all the learning from the past 18 months or so – our digital expertise, our adaptability, our creativity, our flexible approach to business delivery, our resilience – and ensure we continue to build on that as we look to our future as one of Scotland’s top performing colleges. We need to ensure that we continue to offer courses that meet the needs of our students, community, local businesses and the economy, whilst continuing to grow our digital support and creative approaches to teaching.

The college will continue to have in place numerous health and safety measures across the campus to keep students, staff and visitors safe, as students return, including: face coverings to be worn on campus unless exempt; 1m social distancing; free lateral flow testing kits; perspex screens; regular deep cleaning; hand sanitising stations; and touchless door entry. The college is also encouraging everyone who is eligible to get a vaccine when offered, if not already done so.

Although we are gradually increasing numbers on campus, it’s still important to remember that we all have a part to play in stopping the spread of Covid-19. Our health and safety measures will remain in place to protect our College community. We want everyone on our campus to feel safe and confident as the start of the new term approaches.

I can’t wait to get back to the buzz around campus over the next few weeks, welcoming new and returning students in what I hope will be a more ‘normal’ college year for our students, with the great student experience that is the hallmark of South Lanarkshire College, but with the added benefit of all the learnings we’ve taken from the pandemic.

To find out more about the college return to campus and the what is on offer at South Lanarkshire College visit

Aileen McKechnie, Principal at South Lanarkshire College


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