Save pottery and principles;FE Focus;Letter

1st May 1998 at 01:00
Your report "Pottery is route back to serious learning" (TES, April 3) was timely and true. Thorne Pottery Workshop which comes under the auspices of Doncaster College is due to close at the end of the summer term after 27 years.

We have nearly 40 part-time students taking pottery at Thorne. Young and old, they come from a variety of backgrounds and a number are registered disabled. Some of our students have been coming for many years, one for more than 23.

We have a blind student who is very distressed that she may no longer be participating in a group as well as making her favourite pots.

We also have three students who come from a local autistic community, for whom the class is an opportunity to interact within an everyday environment and make a social contribution, rather than working in an exclusively "special needs" space (they make good pots as well).

It is clear that the management of Doncaster College is having to follow the tenets of the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act to the letter.

While it is pleasing that Hilary Benn and David Blunkett rescued the concept of a broader vision of adult education, time is rapidly running out as more and more facilities such as ours are closed.

The local MP, Kevin Hughes, has certainly understood the need and requested a one-year moratorium for our workshop.

Let us hope his plea does not fall on deaf ears and that the Government's paper 'The Learning Age' comes rapidly to the rescue.

Teresa Ranson, Tutor - pottery, 48 Sunderland Street, Tickhill, Doncaster

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