Crass course

18th April 2008 at 01:00

Having been driven from the rural tranquillity of Ferret Towers by poor public transport, the mobile speed camera terror, and third world- style inflation in the cost of fuel oil, it is time to relocate to that mighty metropolis - Ipswich.

Which opens up the prospect of being able to take part in that increasingly rare activity, adult learning, the delights of further education being close at hand.

Now I'm pretty sure Suffolk New College is a good place to study. This isn't based on Ofsted reports, or any of the polished PR material which arrives in my pigeonhole from time to time, but on the opinions of the students themselves.

These students, who share the train during the morning commute, talk almost constantly about college and, in five years, I have never heard a single complaint. Yes - teenagers not complaining!

So I thought I'd investigate what's on offer at this paradise of learning.

The college's website reveals a number of courses that Mrs Ferret would be very keen on me doing, particularly Singing for Beginners - to improve the quality of household humming - CookeryEntertaining, and Bread-making, which I understand is all the rage among new men of the kind who possess very carefully groomed designer stubble, nod thoughtfully a lot and read The Guardian.

In fact, this list of leisure courses reads like a catalogue of my own social and domestic inadequacies.

At least I'm spared the humiliation of being among the denizens of Suffolk who are on means-tested benefits - about whose inadequacies the college seems to make some rather upsetting assumptions.

The college website says they should pay only 40 per cent of the fee - helpfully pointing out: "that's less than half-price".

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