Lifelong learning is a mantra that not only features in the school’s logo, but runs throughout Morley College. Spending my days writing about adult education, the idea that life is far more than a nine till five is one I focus on daily; stepping inside Morley it seems I wasn’t alone in this vision.
Despite the grey skies and ever-frequent downpours, my day at Morley was a jam-packed insight into one of London’s biggest adult learning providers. With that back to school feeling in my stomach and a camera in my hand, I set out to capture exactly what it means to be a Morley student.
Going the extra mile
A notion that struck me in the first classroom I entered and stayed with me all day, was the care Morley tutors have for their students. With small class sizes, students work under the eye of their tutor, who walks round and offers guidance along the way. Whether they were working towards a university place, a final project, or just trying something new, the goal of the student was mirrored in the hours their tutors put in.
The Morley community
Before I knew it, I was embracing my school days in the science lab – a place my fourteen year-old self dreaded. The atmosphere was far more relaxed than I ever remembered and as I stood at the back of an access to science lesson, I momentarily forgot I was there to film, not learn. Morley focuses on adult learners, but gives them the support you expect from full-time education – a feeling echoed by the students in the class who spoke of the ‘Morley community’ they had thrived in.
When you stop and look, evidence of this community is indeed all around you. From the public art gallery exhibiting students’ work, to the bustling refectory where students gather for lunch. As a fly on the wall, classmates of all ages sat down for lunch together and I couldn’t help but feel without their mutual interest, these friendships wouldn’t have been formed.
A place to learn
Entering the textiles studio, I was taken aback by the beautiful room filled with work, light and well, students. With everything from weaving to metal textile printing happening under one roof, the classroom was the perfect setting for creativity to thrive. As I weaved my way around the college, I’m struck by how big it is – almost Tardis-like in fact.
A five minute walk away sits Pelham Hall, home to the sculpture studio and where I would observe the life sculpture class. I’m struck by the talent of the students before me, the relaxed atmosphere of the art class and, once again, the dedication of the tutor who clearly cared about his students’ learning. With three separate buildings, the college is expansive, but at the same time, homely.
From the big band to the recording studio
The final stops on my timetable were perhaps the most dynamic, as I sat through an afro Cuban big band workshop and a mixing and mastering session in the recording studio. Witnessing yet again the amazing facilities on offer and the equally brilliant staff, I left both rooms with the impression that the students at Morley really do love being there. My final comments to the Morley community – when can I come back?
Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.