Student slams decision to close adult short courses at Leeds art college

The Leeds College of Art.
The Leeds College of Art.
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A decision to close adult short courses at the Leeds College of Art “came out of the blue” according to a student who has criticised the move, which he says will take hundreds of pupils out of education.

Jake Meats has accused bosses of reaching the agreement “quietly”, with no consultation period or formal announcement, and has written letters of complaint to the principal of the college, Simone Wonnacott, and Leeds MP Hilary Benn.

But the college, which has now posted a statement on its website explaining the decision, said it had to put the courses, attended by 300 students, on hold due to the college’s expansion.

Mr Meats said: “This decision came out of the blue for students and teachers alike.

“We have been told they are planning on expanding their post and undergraduate schemes and need the studio resources for those particular students. I am aware that the college is undergoing a £14m expansion to cope with this. “However, in the three years I have been a student there, there has seemed anything but a lack of studio or classroom space for us. It seems that they are just looking for an excuse.”

Apologising for any disappointment caused, a spokesperson for the college, which has applied to become the first specialist arts university in the North, said: “We have taken a decision to put our adult short course provision on hiatus from July 31, 2017, and for the foreseeable future.

“We are currently expanding our facilities with a significant new build and there will be some disruption to the estate whilst this takes place.

“We feel it is important that the experience for our students must be the best that we can offer, and against this background it is not felt that we can continue to offer the quality of provision we have achieved to date under these conditions.

“All adult short courses being delivered until the July 31 will go ahead as planned if student enrolments reach the minimum required.”