Art & Design

Why choose Art & Design?

This course presents you with exciting and challenging opportunities to learn much more about what it means to be a creative and imaginative visual artist, and to grow in this way throughout the course. We find that students bring a great variety of experiences and different backgrounds to their learning in this area, and we welcome this. Our course is designed to build on the skills and enthusiasm you bring. We will help you acquire new skills, broaden your knowledge, and help give you the confidence you need to achieve your full potential in this rich and exciting subject area. 

The Art & Design department is a lively and friendly teaching and learning environment, where individual ideas, experimentation and risk-taking are encouraged. All the staff are practising artists and have a wide range of specialist interests and expertise. Though you will have one main teacher there is flexibility for you to try a range of methods of working, and the staff operate as a team to share knowledge and to support students. 

A variety of professional artists and designers regularly visit the department to give talks, to give informal presentations of their work and to support critical sessions. There are nine studios, which are organised to support a wide range of specialist study areas, including painting, drawing, mixed media, collage, digital graphics, photography, animation, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, and history of art. 

You will develop skills using a range of approaches to record images, such as observation, analysis, expression and imagination. You will also explore and gain an understanding of conventions and genres such as figurative, abstract and symbolic. You will carry out independent research which you will write up and present in an essay format in Year 13. 

Teaching and learning methods include practical work across a wide range of activities, exhibition research, slide shows and presentations, reading and reflective writing, library and internet research, one-to-one guidance and support, and also whole-group discussion. The range of approaches students can use to progress their coursework ideas can include selections and combinations from: drawing, painting, screen printing, etching, textile work, batik, constructed fabrics, sculpture, casting, construction, welding, illustration, graphical solutions, architectural studies, 3D installations, ceramics, digital photography and digital media, film and animation and mixed media.

There is regular monitoring of work through group discussions and individual assessment, both verbal and written. In addition there are annual visits to Paris and Amsterdam (for Art and Art History students) plus regular visits to galleries in London, Cambridge and Norwich. You will have the opportunity to undertake work placements outside the College to help with your professional development. Bursaries in printmaking at the Curwen Studio are available each year, and there are many opportunities to take part in competitions to complement your coursework. We offer a programme of support for students when preparing their portfolios for application to art foundation, architecture and design based degree courses. Many students progress to art foundation courses, which lead on to specialist art degree courses. However, the skills you will learn on this course are relevant to a wide range of subjects at degree level, as you build on your knowledge of visual culture, skills of research and analysis, and use your imagination and creative flair. 

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Entry Requirements

GCSE grade B in Art or if not studied at GCSE, GCSE grade B in Design and Technology (textiles, graphics or 3D design) or relevant Diploma at merit level or above

Awarding Body


Units of Study

AS Level

Art & Design - Unit 1

Coursework portfolio.

Art & Design - Unit 2

Exam assignment.

A2 Level

Art & Design - Unit 3

Personal investigation: including an extended research project.

Art & Design - Unit 4

Exam assignment.