This article is a guest post from Deborah Good from Pretty Goods sewing tution in Kent.
A Class Act – get creative with Adult Education Classes
As an ex secondary school teacher of textiles, who sadly saw the demise of the subject in some schools 20 years or so ago, I’m now thrilled at the resurgence in the popularity of needlecrafts again.
New ‘creative’ magazines seem to be appearing on the newsagent’s shelves each month, each of them featuring articles and ads. for workshops, classes and meetings for sewing, patchwork, knitting, crochet, felting and crafting, etc.
I love the funky ideas for classes; the ‘green/eco’ image of make do and mend; make it yourself and upcycling; sitting around a huge table sharing ideas and drinking tea from vintage china whilst sewing and making, and fun, trendy instructors.
However……although these classes are portrayed as new, innovative and eco, other sewing/creative classes have been going on for years at Adult Education Centres all over the country.
As I now work as an Adult Ed. tutor, teaching sewing and soft furnishings, I think it’s time to up the image of Adult Education and show just what is on offer. We hold open days, taster days and mini workshops to generate interest and encourage enrolments but sometimes we still struggle to fill some of the creative courses. Why?
Is it because the perception of Adult Education is stuffy, old fashioned and expensive? Or because classes are held at odd times, in old fashioned centres with outdated equipment. If this is what you think of Adult ed. then you are so wrong.
Just type Adult education centres into your search engine and take a look at the number of towns and cities that offer classes. Click onto your nearest centre and see the variety of creative courses on offer
Adult Ed can offer all that the new, trendy, privately owned establishments do, and more. All tutors have to be qualified with a CertEd in post 16 education and have to regularly attend subject relevant and other courses for their Continued Professional Development. Some courses are also accredited, allowing the student to gain a qualification in their chosen craft.
Centres often have fully equipped, purpose built craft rooms in modern and light buildings with coffee bars and galleries.
Gone are the days of ‘night classes’. Although courses are offered in the evening, centres hold classes throughout the day too, all through the year. Some courses may be just for a day; others an intensive 5 consecutive days; family days are offered, and are often free, exhibitions of students work may follow a completed course and classes will often only have 8 or 10 students max.
Plus, where else will you be able to take a class for just around £4 per hour, with concessions for some, that reduces the cost even more?
With the popularity of creative classes heightening there is room for both Adult Education and high street classes to exist, and I certainly don’t favour one over the other, in fact I also run a private sewing class, enjoyed by a group of local women.
But, I would really like to see features on Adult Education classes in all the creative magazines and on their websites, to enlighten their readers that Adult Education classes are fun, funky, fashionable and accessible – and just as cool as those classes.
Note: The top image shows The Cube, Folkestone A Kent Adult Education Service centre for creative courses.