08 July 2016
A fairly small town in the east of Kent, Sittingbourne got its name simply from the fact that there is a small stream, or bourne, running underground through part of the town. Sittingbourne was anciently written as Sedgingbourne or in Saxon, Saedingburga which means "the hamlet by the bourne or small stream."
The town played a part in the First World War, and was subject to constant air raids by German bombers and the Germans would use Sittingbourne as a reference point for bearings on the way to London. The first bombings took place on Christmas Day 1914. In fact, our centre on College Road served as a bomb shelter for local residents. The shelter is still accessible if the floorboards of a certain part of the building are lifted up. The narrow underground tunnel runs the length of one side of the building and still has the small rooms which held bunk beds running across it.
The Sittingbourne Adult Education Centre has always been an educational hub, but historically it's been home to much more than solely Kent Adult Education. If you're from Sittingbourne, you're probably aware of Borden Grammar School on Avenue of Remembrance and may have studied there yourself. But did you know that the original location of the school was exactly where we are now located on College Road? The school was built on the site in 1878 as a boarding school for boys and stayed there until it moved to its current location in 1928. The building has also been home to Hadlow College and the Kent Farming Institute before becoming home to KAE over 30 years ago.
The centre is well-equipped to serve its purpose both as a centre of learning and as the headquarters of KAE, with a number of key teams and senior members of staff based here. The centre has ten classrooms in total across the two floors, including two computer suites, two fantastic art rooms equipped with plenty of easels and inspirational pieces of work from past students, a craft room ideally set up for our jewellery making courses, and a gym room for our range of yoga, dance, pilates and kettlercise courses. And if you're looking to sit down and have a coffee and a chat with your fellow learners before, during and after your course, the centre has a large refectory area with comfy sofas and a coffee machine.
One category of courses that are particularly popular at Sittingbourne are our Language courses, with one of our classrooms decorated specifically to help those learning a language. Whether it's French, Spanish or Italian, the Sittingbourne centre has it covered.
As expected, the two art rooms at the centre play host to a range of Art courses including watercolour, drawing & painting and life drawing. We've already mentioned jewellery making as one of the craft courses you can take part in, but it certainly doesn't end there. Other craft courses at the centre include floristry, cake decorating and sewing as well as being the only centre in Kent to offer printmaking courses.
Have we inspired you to take the trip to Sittingbourne? If so, take a look at our full list of courses at the centre by clicking the button below.