A MATURE student who was at the centre of a debate over what constitutes good art may sue Bolton Institute over his degree classification.

Bob Burden claims he received a 2:2 degree from the Institute this summer in Visual Arts partly because he refused to embrace modern conceptual art preferring to work in a more classical style.

Mr Burden, aged 71, said: "I got a 2:2 degree with honours but I was expecting at least a 2:1. A lot of people who have seen my work say it should have got a First.

"When I consider what was awarded a First, I just cannot understand it."

The retired joiner's comments about what is considered to be art prompted a furious debate in the Bolton Evening News letters page earlier this year with several readers writing in with their opinions on modern art.

Mr Burden was a mature student based at the Chadwick Street campus and has claimed his crafted sculptures failed to find favour -- while praise was heaped on the artistic merits of works such as a bath full of rancid spaghetti hoops.

He said that over his three years at the Institute he persisted in working in a classical style and refused to comply with the modern trend for conceptual and installation art.

He claims it was partly because of this stance that he was not given a higher classification.

Mr Burden has made an official complaint through the Institute's formal complaints procedure and said that if his complaint is not dealt with to his satisfaction he may sue.

He has also written to Education Secretary Estelle Morris but he has received a letter informing him that Ministers and officials of the Department for Education and Skills do not have the power to intervene in the academic affairs of institutions.

No one was available for comment at Bolton Institute.