Find a Course or browse all courses

Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: Edexcel

Why study Art & Design?

St charles49

The UK creative industries were worth a record £76.9 billion to the UK economy in 2013. Growth in the creative industries was higher than in any other UK industry and was three times the average increase in the UK economy during this period. 

The sectors, which include advertising, architecture, crafts, design, film, games, publishing, museums and galleries, music, technology and television, are an important source of job creation for the UK.

Studying Art & Design at St Charles Sixth Form College is the first step to becoming part of the UK creative industries. The skills you will be taught as an Art student at St Charles will prepare you for a diverse range of pathways – whether you want to be a Vehicle Designer, Architect, or an Illustrator, St Charles can help you to prepare for the next step, and begin your creative career path. 


What can it lead to?

After completing the Level 3 National Diploma in Art and Design you are well positioned to apply directly to university to study an arts based degree or a Foundation course. In the past 3 years 100% of students that have chosen to continue to study on an arts based course at a higher level have been successful in an application. 

The department has built links with many leading creative universities, and many students gain places at prestigious institutions such as University of the Arts London Colleges (Central Saint Martins, CCW, LCC LCF), The Royal Drawing School, Ravensbourne, Middlesex, and further afield in Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Newcastle and many more. 

The range of specialisms applied for is diverse, but may include Fine Art, Graphic Design, Animation, Architecture, Product Design, Engineering, Fashion Design, Textile Design, Surface Pattern, Photography, Fashion promotion and styling, Marketing and Computer Games Design. 

How is the course organised?

Board: Edexcel 

Its main purpose is to allow learners to develop the core specialist knowledge, understanding and skills required by the sector. You will spend 11 periods a week studying Art and Design. 

The Diploma is a 12 unit course delivered over 2 years, in the 1st year you will cover 2D and 3D Art and Design Units, and Critical and Contextual studies. 

Followed in the 2nd year with the opportunity to develop communications techniques (graphics, illustration and printmaking), 3D skills utilising the kiln and laser-cutter, as well as developing a more specialist portfolio to suit your chosen career pathway. Having created a portfolio you will be supported in making applications to university or direct into employment. 

How is the course assessed?

From September 2020 there will be a mixture of externally assessed and internally assessed units. Students will complete three practical 'examined tasks' as part of the Level 3 qualification. Work needs to be carried out independently for all tasks set by your teacher. All deadlines must be met in order to pass each unit. 

A grade is awarded for each unit as a Pass, Merit or Distinction. You need to pass every unit in order to pass the course. Where relevant you will be offered a 2 week resubmission opportunity for each unit in order to improve your grade. 

An overall double grade will be awarded at the end of the National Diploma. 

Our results for all BTEC Art and Design courses are above National Benchmark levels. 

What do I need to qualify for the course?

The General entry requirements are five GCSEs grades 9-4 for an Advanced Vocational programme, including English Language, a Portfolio of work and grade 4 or MM and above in Extended Certificate Level 2.

(Occasionally students will be recommended to study at Level 2 if they have no prior art and design experience but are keen to pursue a creative career pathway). 

We require students to buy an Art kit upon arrival to the department at a cost of £20 this will include sketchbooks/paper, paints, pens and pencils, brushes, colour digital printing, stencils and mount board/foam board for exhibition purposes. The department provides all other specialist materials that may be used. 

Who are the teachers?

The Art and Design department comprises of 3 teachers and 1 specialist technician with expertise in a wide range of techniques and processes. Department staff have studied and worked at a number of prestigious colleges including; Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, London College of Fashion and The Royal College of Art. 

All of the department staff continue in their own practice, engaging with contemporary art and design – this includes the following areas; Ceramics, Photography, Jewellery, Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Design, Product design and Interior Accessories and Games Design. 

Head of Department is Claire Hemsley, she has been teaching for 16 years. If you have any further questions regarding the courses within Art and Design and Photography please contact her either via email or via the main switchboard 0208 968 7755. 

What do students say about the course?

"Studying at St Charles in the art department is really fun. The Teachers are really supportive and make you feel good about your art. I would tell students to come to St Charles, I have seen a few different art departments and here it is really good." 


Extra Curricular

There are many extra curricular courses and events to get involved in as a student in the Art Department. Recent examples include an in house photography and bookmaking course in collaboration with a local hospital, a Photography course and exhibition at Central Saint Martins, Summer schools in Product Design, Interior & Spatial Design, Fashion Design, Photography and Textiles with Ravensbourne, Chelsea and Camberwell College of Arts, an animation course with the Courtauld Gallery, as well as in house life drawing sessions. We also invite tutors from higher education in to offer portfolio advice to support students applying to higher education. See more of our student work, and hear what students have to say about us by visiting our Instagram page: