Frequently Asked Questions

Find below the most frequently asked questions regarding our courses. Click on a question to display the answer, but if you can’t find the question you have then please do not hesitate to contact us.

How do I enrol?

You can enrol for Skill Stage 1 immediately and study your course online as soon as payment has been processed. However, higher Skill Stages are enrolled differently. Because we want to do our very best for all of our students and give them the best course experience possible, we only ever have a limited number of course places available, which is why you can’t just purchase them directly from our site. Instead we collect ‘Expressions of Interest’ and when we have enough, we let everyone know when the enrolment day is and how many students we are able to enrol for the next cohort. This happens 4 times a year on average. Enrolment is done on a ‘first come, first served’ basis online on a named day to make it as fair as possible. The students who have managed to secure a place are then given a start date, usually around 4-6 weeks ahead. Those who have applied but haven’t managed to secure a place are put on the list for expressions for the next enrolment date. This means that we can ‘collect’ a small group of students and have them start at the same time so they are able to interact with each other using video chat sessions hosted by a tutor, blogging and social media. The enrolment process supplies us with your personal and payment and information relating to how receive your modules and submit your work.

How soon will I be able to start my course?

Our Getting Started courses are delivered to you via a dedicated website immediately after purchase so you can start these straight away.  Skill Stages 2 and higher will have a start date set for them between 4-6 weeks after successful enrolment has taken place. This doesn’t mean you need to start work exactly on that date, but it does mean that your course materials will become available to you and study groups will be set up.

Do I ever have to attend the school in person?

No - there is no reason for you to ever visit the school whilst studying on your chosen course.

Will I get a course certificate?

Yes - every student who completes their City and Guilds accredited course gets a course certificate, or in the case of Skill Stage 1 - Getting Started or SST’s Masters Courses, a School of Stitched Textiles Certificate will be issued.

What will the course materials look like?

We produce all our own course materials and also train our tutors in teaching at a distance so you get the best possible support. If you'd like to look at a sample of our course materials, please do contact us and we'll be happy to let you have an excerpt.

Will I always be able to access help throughout the course when and if I need it?

Yes - tutors are happy that they should be contacted if you need help with your course and are always available via email, however if you wish to speak on the phone, we do ask that you drop us an email to arrange this first so that your tutor is able to review your work to date and look up any queries you may have prior to speaking with you. Obviously, there are times when they will be teaching elsewhere or on holiday, but in general we aim to return feedback in less than 10 days. Your tutor will be in touch a week or so after you commence your course to introduce themselves.

Could this qualification lead on to other things?

Absolutely. There are lots of exciting career possibilities such as teaching in further and adult education, designing, authoring of books/courses, working to commission, work in theatre, film or TV, depending on the level and subject you're studying. We're happy to give you further advice so please do drop us a line. You may also like to look at our publication featuring the stories of several of our recent graduates HERE.

Am I entering into a long-term agreement to continue with the course and its fees?

No - you are not obliged to continue with your course (although most of our students do and we really hope you will!) or with paying the course fees if you decide you don’t wish or are unable to continue after your initial order of modules. We know that some students prefer to pay in full, as they find it motivates them to finish, and in this case you receive a substantial discount for paying the full fees up front. However you can also choose to pay for smaller numbers of modules to spread the cost.

What is an online course and how does it work?

You receive your course materials via email or internet download and compile and send a digital presentation of your work back to us via an easy file transfer service. You can choose to print out your course modules or simply view them online when you want to. However as they contain links, galleries and how to videos you will want to view them at least once online to get the most out of them.

What are the advantages of studying online rather than via traditional post?

The main advantages are speed and cost; your tutor can receive your work and do feedback much more rapidly, as there is no waiting for parcels to be shipped back and forward (with the ever present danger that they could go amiss in transit) and all that postage is expensive, so we estimate that there is a saving to the student of around £300 in postage alone by studying online. Online course students do have some extra expense at home if they wish to print off modules etc, but this is more than compensated for by not having to pay postage and packing costs when submitting work. We are very conscious that travelling of samples and paperwork is very harmful to the environment we live in, and with your help, are trying our best to cut down on this wherever possible. Online courses cut down by almost 75% the carbon footprint left by other forms of distance learning, although it is worthwhile stressing that distance learning itself is very environmentally friendly when compared with travel to traditional on-site classes.

Will I need specific equipment or skills; for example computer, printer, sewing machine etc?

For the longer Skill Stage 2 and upwards courses you will need a sewing machine, but unless the course specifies it (e.g. Getting Started with Machine Embroidery) you won’t for the Skill Stage 1 – Getting Started ones. Basic Internet and IT skills are required when studying online courses, but specific tuition is given in video format for putting together a digital portfolio etc. You will need access to a digital camera to record your progress (this could be your phone if you have a decent camera on it), and access to the internet to upload your images. If you are uncertain about studying online, we can certainly understand and have produced a Quiz and Excerpts magazine for you to undertake a quick, fun quiz to assess the level of course you should consider as well as review excerpts from all of our course materials, which should give you a very good idea about how it works.

How much will the materials I use cost?

Students often ask us how much their sewing and design materials will cost. In fact it is up to students how much they choose to spend, as samples and completed pieces will vary from student to student, so the materials required to make them will also vary. Costs can be kept to a minimum by using what you already have at home and shopping frugally in discount stores and charity shops for other items. However some students love this excuse to go shopping for all new items. So this aspect can be as frugal or expensive as you wish - it’s up to you.

How do you assess my work online?

We need good quality photographs of your work, which we can enlarge and examine in detail. Information about what is required will be covered as soon as you enrol. However, there can always be the odd time when we can’t see something. In this case we may ask you to re-shoot the photographs, or as a last resort - send in the piece of work. This is a very rare scenario and standards are never compromised.

I think I'll miss being in a classroom with other students – can you put my mind at rest?

This has to be the aspect we're most asked about and also the one we've worked hardest to get right. We have changed our enrolment method especially so we can make sure a group of students start together at the same time. This allows us to organise group blogs and group video chat, led by a tutor, for all the ‘newbies’. Most importantly, it helps students feel part of a group and supported by other students who are just starting their course journey too. This is all in addition to a named tutor and helps to create much more of a classroom environment for students studying at a distance. Of course, we also have all the usual online social media groups, regular newsletters and study buddy listings too, but if you don’t feel you wish to participate in them or join in with the video tutorials, you can still complete your course without doing so.