Crofton Alive and Buzzing with Learning

The Studio at CroftonThe Studio at CroftonTwo hundred years ago, Crofton found itself at the cutting edge of the Industrial Revolution – to this day, the Pumping Station houses the oldest working steam engine in the world.  Now, another new building has this tiny hamlet abuzz with activity.  Recently completed, The Studio at Crofton has quickly become a vibrant centre of academic and artistic endeavour, with a steady stream of people setting their sat-navs to attend workshops and tutorial sessions.

Each highly regarded in their respective fields, partners Kim Vines and David Preston are teaching art, and the art of writing, to students of widely varying ages and abilities.  Kim, whose family has farmed the surrounding land for two generations, has emerged as one of the most sought-after teachers of portraiture in the South West.  Her courses at this year’s Marlborough Summer School were the first to sell out, taking just a matter of hours to fill, with competition for places next year expected to be even greater.  Some of her students have gained sufficient skill to become professional portrait painters in their own right.  Alongside her classes and art clubs in Crofton, Kim conducts workshops for ‘gifted pupils’ at state schools in London, and continues to support the much-loved Whitehorse Bookshop in Marlborough with regular one-day classes.

This week, David launched Higher Grade Tutoring at The Studio – a personal tuition service for AS/A Level and University students, focusing on the writing skills required for academic success.  His experience in education stretches back over thirty-five years, during which time he not only lectured on a wide variety of communications skills, but also became an internationally respected speechwriter.  His background and research in cognitive science give him a deep understanding of how people learn and how communication works – knowledge that enables him to demystify the art of writing for even the most challenged of pupils. Ever at the cutting-edge, innovative internet support is an important component of his very modern style of tuition.  Next year, David hopes to introduce creative writing courses, including Poetry and Speechwriting for all occasions.

Residents of Marlborough and early readers of MarlboroughNewsOnline might remember David’s son, Max Preston, a young journalist with cerebral palsy, who wrote his first professional article for us after graduating.  Now working as a digital producer on Sky’s Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes, Max got his start in the news big league with a six-month work experience contract at Radio 4, supported by the Schofield Trust - thanks in no small part to our own Tony Millett, who provided a timely recommendation that Max is always keen to acknowledge.  Next summer, Max will be conducting a seminar advising young people on how to get their start in Broadcasting.  This seminar will be part of the 2014 Summer at the Studio program that will see a number of carefully selected tutors covering a range of creative arts and media topics.

So, while Crofton might have been rather sleepy for a couple of centuries, it is now fully awake and once again industrious, with The Studio at Crofton being the pumping heart of its revival.
For details of everything going on at The Studio visit and