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Stop the closure of City and Islington College’s Ceramics Department

This petition had 3,670 supporters

City and Islington College proposes to close its thriving Ceramics Department in March 2015 with the loss of all jobs.  We call on the College governors and management to halt this closure, and the rush in which it is being pursued, and consider alternative ways forward.

Grayson Perry says: ‘I am appalled that a popular and beneficial course should be considered for closure just because it does not fit neatly into an instrumentalist idea of education’.

This much-cherished centre of excellence runs courses for a huge diversity of people from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from those with learning disabilities right through to advanced-level practitioners. Students on vocational City & Guilds qualification courses, preparing for a career in ceramics or the creative industries, consistently achieve success rates of over 90%. The teaching is judged to be outstanding. The studio is frequently described as one of the best in London. Evening and qualification classes are full with waiting lists.

Students repeatedly report how much lessons are integral to their health and well-being, and how attending classes has eased their need to use social services and the NHS. Many find their passion and move into self-employment as ceramic makers. Others use the workshops as part of their professional development as artists. The majority of courses and all workshops are paid for by the learners themselves.

Nevertheless, College management argues that the number of students who re-enrol for classes in successive years suggests that those attending are ‘unlikely to be progressing’ and that this is consequently out-of-step with the College’s vision. It proposes to use the space for holding exams and running courses, yet to be determined, that attract short-term funding.

We, the undersigned, call on the College governors and management to halt this closure immediately and investigate alternatives.


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