Fortunate to have benefited from St Clare’s

Education was for all.

I consider myself one of the very fortunate residents in Seaton to have benefited from St Clare’s Adult Education Centre 25 years ago, as mentioned in Opinion last week.

I was of a generation, now thankfully long gone, whose parents considered that a girl was not worth educating past 16, because she would only get married and never work again. I had, therefore, always regretted not being allowed to extend my learning beyond O-level.

When I moved to Seaton in 1986, I was delighted to find such an asset as St Clare’s and I embarked on an A-level course in English language and literature, led by the inspiring David Tinkler. His sensitive teaching of the metaphysical poets, Wordsworth and Dickens, along with the rest of the curriculum led me, once I’d successfully sat the examination, to wish to pursue even further my knowledge of literature. I then went on to achieve an B.A. (Hons) in English as an external student with London University. It took me a further six years of hard work to achieve this, but would have been impossible without the encouragement and grounding from St. Clare’s.

I cannot be the only one who benefited in this way from the vast range of courses held at this time, but, alas, the last time I looked at the curriculum, I could no longer afford the classes I wished to pursue, which must have been the case for many and the reason for their low support and eventual demise.

I know this is to do with the withdrawal of subsidies from the council, but I feel sorry for those people in similar circumstances to myself who, for whatever reason, were unable to complete their education to the fullest extent possible at the usual time, and can no longer benefit, as I did, from St Clare’s.

Is it really too late for the St Clare’s of old to return to support not just the youth of the area, but also those of more mature years? It was such an asset to the town and it seems a crime that it should be demolished.

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Barbara Cooper,

Townsend Avenue