College ‘apologises unreservedly’ for destroying ex-student’s art work

Laine Bolton, 19, from Leconfield Road, Lancing, with one of the recovered paintings and GCSE projects. Picture: Kate Shemilt
Laine Bolton, 19, from Leconfield Road, Lancing, with one of the recovered paintings and GCSE projects. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Worthing College has ‘apologised unreservedly’ to a former art student whose work was binned.

Laine Bolton, 19, went to pick up her A Level artwork at Worthing College on Wednesday, January 10 only to discover it had been destroyed.

The college claimed she had been sent an email asking her to pick up her artwork last year, while was was doing a third year of study after completing her art course.

But her mum Jane Coles said the email was never received, and that the 19-year-old had been in regular contact with her old teacher, head of department Catriona Muir, about collecting the work.

Laine said she was ‘gutted’: “It meant everything to me. I feel like I have done it for nothing.”

Laine, from Leconfield Road, Lancing, is studying English Language and Linguistics and Spanish at the University of Sussex, with the aim of moving to Spain to teach English and art.

She hoped to use her A Level artwork to help secure a job. Jane, 54, said: “The college said they would be happy to write her a letter to vouch for the quality of her work, but it isn’t the same.

“Current students need to keep an eye on where their work is and look out for emails.”

Two large paintings and a mixed media piece were kept, but her portfolio and sketch book, containing hundreds of hours of work on projects about sweets, pop art and shoes, could not be found.

According to Jane, the head of art had not authorised the work to be destroyed.

The work had sentimental value as Laine was taught to paint by her father Terry Bolton, who passed away suddenly in 2014 aged 64.

In response to a complaint made on January 18, the college launched an internal investigation by governor’s clerk Joanna Cox ‘to ensure that any lessons that can be learned from this unfortunate incident are actioned’.

She said: “We completely understand the distress caused to Laine and her family and on behalf of the whole college community I’d like to apologise unreservedly for the loss of the work, as we too are devastated that this has happened to one of our students.”

Worthing College principal Paul Riley said: “We have followed a process that has operated securely for many years in handling students’ artwork.”