Work progresses in a ceramics class organised by the Adult College for Rural East Sussex

Uckfield-based ACRES helps people to continue learning

Whether you would like to improve your Maths GCSE grade, learn how to make a stained glass window or how to keep bees the Adult College for Rural East Sussex (ACRES) will have a course for you.

Nineteen members of staff and about 60 tutors are dedicated to providing learning opportunities for people aged 19 and above and, if there’s a subject you are interested in that isn’t covered yet they would like to hear from you.


Beekeeping proves to be a popular class organised by ACRES.

Helen Stockton programme development and marketing manager for ACRES said the college is always on the lookout for new courses that might interest groups of people.

Indeed the organisation has one member of staff who specifically liaises with community groups and where there’s interest in partnership working to provide courses then that can be arranged. What often happens is that the group provides the venue and the people to attend while ACRES provides the tutor and content.

ACRES is based in Uckfield, in the grounds of the community technology college, and provides classes across Wealden, including Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield, Uckfield, Wadhurst and surrounding areas.


Maths and English GCSE courses are available free of charge for people who haven’t previously gained an A* to C grade and last year 81% of students gained a Grade C or above while 11% got an A.

Helen said: “These are amazing statistics bearing in mind that most of these people haven’t succeeded in the past. We hear lovely stories about how individuals have gone on to be able to do the things they have wanted to do because of their success in these exams.”


She said some of those they had heard from went on to become teachers, midwives and paramedics.

There are pre-GCSE classes too offering exams up to Level 2, for people who would like to generally improve their English and Maths skills.


An ink and wash picture created at an ACRES class.

Arts and Crafts, computing, general interest, health and fitness and languages are among other classes offered.

Helen joined a stained glass course herself and made her own stained glass window which, one day, will replace a plain round window in her own home.


Helen Stockton made this stained glass window at one of the ACRES classes.

Classes leading to basic entry level teaching qualifications are offered along with Emergency First Aid in the workplace. ACRES staff attend both these courses but they are open to all.

Most popular of the computer classes is ‘Bring your own iPad’ but digital photography courses and Photoshop are sought after too enabling people to take photos and then manipulate the images.


Spanish, French and Italian are the core languages taught at all levels, from those for people going on holiday who would like to learn how to order a drink and say please and thank you, to those who would like to learn at an advanced level.

Art history, archaeology, history and mindfulness are covered too and astronomy will soon be joining the list. Courses for people in the early stages of dementia and for their carers can also be arranged.


Brochures for the next academic year’s classes will start going out at the beginning of July and a major postal drop will take place on August 15.

If you would like to know more about the classes available see the ACRES website or call the team on 01825 761820.

• Contact details for ACRES can be found 24/7 in our Uckfield Directory. Look for the name or search in categories for Adult Learning or Education.

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