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Course Code: NFVAR041

Course Level: Level 3

Study Mode: Full-Time

Course Type: Vocational Courses

Course overview

Our Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma in Art, Design, and Media Practice provides a comprehensive exploration of creative disciplines, preparing students for higher education or entry into the industry. With a focus on hands-on practice and critical thinking, students develop a diverse portfolio across various mediums. 

Taught by experienced practitioners, the course offers a blend of practical skills development, theoretical understanding and opportunities for experimentation, fostering creativity and innovation. Throughout completion of the course, students emerge with a strong foundation in art, design, and media, ready to pursue further studies or embark on a career in the creative industries.

Unsure which creative degree is right for you? The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is a one year pre-degree programme which gives you the opportunity to experience a range of specialist subject areas and enable you to build a comprehensive portfolio of creative work. The emphasis of the course is geared towards exploration of ideas, materials and concepts which can then be directed through a selected specialist pathway of study. This highly recognised course will prepare you for application and entry to higher education establishments across the country.

Exploratory Phase:
The exploratory phase of the course will allow you to experiment with diverse media, materials, techniques and processes across a wide range of specialist skills areas. You will develop an understanding of 2D and 3D design processes, observational drawing techniques, research skills and critical analysis through the development of personal project work. Content areas taught throughout the year include investigation, experimentation, evaluation, review, realisation, communication and self-directed practice. This broad and experimental approach will enable you to make an informed decision regards your specialist pathway and create a diverse portfolio of work for your future progression aims. Examples of specialist pathways include, fine art, animation, illustration, games design, textiles, surface pattern, fashion, product design, architecture, jewellery design, 3D design, set design, costume design, film, photography etc.

Confirmatory Phase:
During the confirmatory phase, you will plan and produce a final major project that draws upon the summation of knowledge and skills acquired during the course. You will be encouraged to extend personal ambition whilst understanding the professional context for presenting your finished work through a final exhibition.

Ideally, you will need a Level 3 qualification in an Art related subject, supported by 5 GCSE's at grades 9-4. A portfolio of work is required to be discussed at interview.

Throughout the duration of the exploratory phase of the course, formative assessment will measure your progress and provide you with feedback to guide your ongoing development. You will produce a portfolio of work which will be submitted along with the work you have produced for the confirmatory stage (Final Major Project). This work will then be assessed collectively, for the summative assessment at the end of the course. Work submitted will be verified by an external examiner and final grades awarded for the qualification (Pass, Merit or Distinction). UCAS Points: Distinction 112, Merit 96, Pass 80.

If you wish to find out more you can contact Cheryl Smith, Course Leader, by emailing: and see Instagram; onebigfad.

Over many years our students have applied successfully to study in a wide range of specialist areas. The course genuinely covers every area of art and design and leads to degree level study and careers including the following: Advertising, Illustration/Animation, Textile Design, Fashion Design/management, Three Dimensional Design, Furniture Design, Product Design, Jewellery Design, Architecture, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Model Making/Special Effects Design, Film, Photography, History of Art & Design, Museum & Gallery Management, Art & Design Education, Fine Art, Sculpture and Printmaking.

This course is free for anyone aged 16 – 18. If you are outside this age group, please contact Charlotte Robertson on 01782 254141 or email
College Maintenance Allowance (CMA): Anyone with a household income under £26,000 can receive up to £20 per week financial support to help pay for travel and meals and meet the costs of essential trips, books, stationery and equipment. The payments will be subject to full attendance on your course. A range of other financial support is available, depending on your personal circumstances. For more details visit

What else do I need to know?

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is the only post A Level Art & Design course that will give you the opportunity to fully explore all aspects of art and design before committing to costly higher education options and career paths; and if you are under 19 years of age, there are no fees.

Progression and achievement rates for this course are outstanding with many students receiving offers from three or more universities. In advance of starting the course you will need to equip yourself with a range of basic materials including a variety of drawing materials. You will then build on this through the requirements of your specialism.

Trips and enrichment are embedded throughout the duration of the course, providing informative sources to support project development. Live work and collaborative arts opportunities enable students to learn how to develop and apply their practice in a variety of contexts.