I would guess that their policy came about as a result of having to constantly teach techniques to people doing the classes that had said they already knew how to do those things but it turned out they didn't. Also, when you are giving away your trade secrets to your potential competition, it's not surprising that they want to make it worth their while - after all, their business is predominately about selling cakes.
Bel_Anne, I so wish you could share those secrets about ganaching/fondant!
Sorry Wildwolves; my reply is rather late but in case you're still interested: I take classes at Iced Affair in Camperdown, Sydney. Evan is the teacher and he is just so creative, helpful, lots of fun and a great teacher. It's my home-away- from-home.
I've just read all the other replies to the original query and would like to add that, at Iced Affair in Camperdown, there is far more flexibility than in the courses people have been describing. You can select which classes you wish to attend and they will let you know of any prerequisite skills. (Each class is a separate entity - no signing up for a full course.) You can even have a say as to what classes you would like to see included during the next term. They are not afraid of giving away their tricks of the trade and may, if appropriate, teach an unplanned technique along the way. (For example, at a class on evening bag cakes that I attended one student wanted to use a zebra stripe pattern and so, with the agreement of the class, we were taught how to do that.)
I did an 18week night time /one night a week tafe course, it was great, and only ended costing about $308. 00 incl the kits and stuff, and 18wks is quite a time, itwas really informative, we did a fruit cake, and covered it, a choc mud, a set of 12 cupcakes,mmost of our work was with fondant, we learnt square cake and round, and we also did cake toppers, like a toy box, and other stuff, handi have great courses really expensive, same as planet, there seems to be a few in qld.thats my 2cents worth