Apple Trees - Winter Pruning - feedback. Tutor: John Waller and Mike Whiddett

General comments:

Can I ask that you pass on my thanks to John and Mike for a thoroughly enjoyable day last Saturday. Mike's enthusiasm and John's calm, steady, reassuring manner ensured the training to be informative, instructive and interesting.
My mind has gone slightly blank and can only remember the "dead", "diseased" an "crossing" of the DDDC. Which one have I forgotten?  Hope to join you for another course in the future.” Dave 2017

“Thank you for the excellent tree pruning course on Saturday. I have started on our trees, but rain intervened. Perhaps I should have got under way before lunch” Robert 2017


Carl and Derek both came home ‘singing your praises big time’. They said that it was a brilliant day, they learnt a great deal and enjoyed it immensely. Will let you know the results on our trees, when they have put their new knowledge into practice.  The down side is I think a request for a Silk Saw might be on their birthday present lists! And you might be seeing us again soon. Thanks again for organising a very successful day,” Val 2016

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the tree pruning course on Saturday, I got a lot out of it and it has made me look at my trees in a completely different way.” Rob 2016

John appears to be a seasoned tutor and has a very supportive and tolerant manner; I could see that he was measuring indvidual’s abilities and tailoring his responses accordingly (those in greater need getting greater support and encouragement). Mike is a very friendly person and very knowledgeable – had a slight tendency to instruct rather than encourage, and the instructions seemed at times a little rigid – I think this may be because he clearly has excellent experience at doing things in a near-perfect way – I could see that some of us beginners were in need of perhaps two or three acceptable ways rather than a single near-perfect way – I think it was an issue of trading a little of an improved technique against an increased sense of achievement in the limited time we had – nevertheless Mike is most impressive in his knowledge of apple tree pruning.
A better course delivery than a recently attended hurdle making course at the sustainability centre in hampshire; different subject of course but much of the experience of a day course is in the enthusiasm and knowledge of the tutors, and in your case that was faultless.
I am also a seasoned course tutor (solar energy); I taught at the centre for alternative technology in wales for about 5 years, 10 years or so at LILI, a few other venues around the UK from time to time – from day courses to 5 day residentials. It’s a real pleasure to be taught by genuine craftsmen with a passion for their subject – thank you.”
Lee 2013

“I have to say, I found the course excellent! Mike was first class at teaching and explained the process logically and clearly in an informative and interesting way.
Both John and Mike were always there and willing to answer any questions throughout the day – all delightfully good humoured and enjoyable.
I have ordered a new Silky 300mm saw (like Mike’s) and as soon as it arrives I will be out there – in amongst my apple trees with some confidence about pruning them now. Can’t wait”
Sue 2013

The course was very well structured with well-paced sessions of  theory, demonstration, then plenty of practice with hands-on guidance. The tutors were attentive, approachable and knowledgeable, but it’s a good job there were two for the practical session, as they were stretched providing enough coaching. They both did an excellent job however.
It might have been helpful to have warned about the mud, as it got very bad, and overtrousers/gaiters would have been useful if wearing boots, whereas wellies were too cold for the morning session which was all standing around. I did an apple pruning course at Brogdale a year ago and learned far more from this one, and enjoyed it far more as well, and it was very good value for money.
It could be useful to reissue the pre-course guidance and objectives with this assessment form.” Peter 2013

How did you rate the marketing of the course?
OK (3 reviews)

How would you rate the booking process?
Satisfactory (3 reviews)
 

Did you receive enough information about the course before the day?
Yes (2 reviews)
No (1 review) - we were asked to bring secateurs but not pruning saws (except for sharpening which we didn’t do), yet we hardly used the secateurs (I had bought a new pair specially) as it was almost all saw work

Did the course meet your expectations, based on the pre-course information and marketing?
Yes (3 reviews)

Did you think the price of the course was reasonable?
About right (3 reviews)
 

Did you think the group size was appropriate?
About right (3 reviews)

How would you rate the venue/facilities?
Excellent (2 reviews)
Satisfactory (1 review)
 

How would you rate the tutors?
 (3 reviews)
Informative     10/10
Approachable 10/10
Friendly  10/10
Supportive  9.3/10
Understanding of different abilities and needs  9.3/10
Tolerant   9.3/10
“both Mike and John were good”
 

Would you come on another course in the future?
 Yes (3 reviews)

Would you like to see any changes to the course, facilities, or teaching?
-
An earlier start for more content please
(nb: we have now changed the timings to allow for a longer day)
- Less rushed.  A tea/coffee break as well as lunch would have gone down well, especially at the end of the course - to make it a bit more of a social event.  Plus it was cold, so a warm up before the journey would have been good
(nb: we have now changed the timings to allow for a longer day)
- As identified, it was too short, and we never really got around to sharpening as advertised.

Did you book overnight accommodation on site?
- Yes, a rubbish Travelodge in redhill (recommend to others that this hotel is avoided)