Art and Design Diploma (120 Credit) Level 3 Vocational

This is an exciting, creative and demanding course offering you a broad base of practical ‘making’ experiences and skills for personal exploration and creativity. It is suited to learners who are committed to following a career in an area of art, design or craft. You will have opportunities over two years to exhibit and sell work in public venues, explore materials and techniques, develop a substantial portfolio of work and visit interesting places for research and inspiration. The course has its own base room, dedicated staff and excellent facilities in a friendly, hard working and exam free environment. Work experience is seen as a crucial part of the course and is integrated into the mandatory enrichment classes. This Diploma course is the equivalent two 'A' Levels - so candidates will need to choose to add an 'A' Level or smaller vocational qualification from our very broad range of art and academic subjects.

Awarding Body

Available As


UCAS Points

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What will I study?

Students have the opportunity to gain practical and creative skills by working with the 2D and 3D materials, processes and techniques. The 1st year explores creativity through ideas involving transformation and metamorphosis, getting to grips with using a sketchbook to discover and experiment with contextual links, ideas, techniques and recording prossesses.   Aspects of drawing, illustration, ceramics and sculpture are used.  A final project in the first year focusing on character development through drawing leading to 3D realisation. 

In the 2nd year students often know which discipline they are attracted to, prepare for interviews for degree courses or Art Foundation, and are encouraged to interpret projects in a way that involves their own interests and to engage with their work in a more personal way.  Drawing, print making, mixed-media, painting and 3D materials and textiles are explored.  As with the 1st year - 2nd years end their year with a group exhibition developed from a general theme.


Designed to allow you to discover how you think and create and are best able to express your skills and personality.  Creativity is often where a student interprets a brief and brings something new to it - making it theirs. Sometimes unorthodox techniques or a combination of disciplines are used for outcomes.  Each of the two years of the Diploma covers 6 units.  Some of the units are specific to 'drawing' or 'painting', others are more 'open' in their outcome. 

The final 12 units are equivalent to two 'A' Levels, the grades range from Pass, Merit, Distinction - and Distinction*.

How will I learn?

First, briefs are thoroughly interrogated by students to identify and understand the aims and focus of projects, followed by research into artistic links and exploration of a variety of practical activities to learn different creative techniques and an individual response.

Projects have interim reviews to check progress and feedback against criteria.  There are 9 hours of taught lesson time each week and most students work in the studio independently in their own time as well.  If students miss lessons due to ill health or are behind for any reason it is mandatory for students to catch-up in their own time in the studio.

All grades are based on students working on tasks to achieve criteria written in the project brief.  Most lesson focus on specific tasks (sometimes research, discussion, video, demonstrations) and it is for students to ensure they meet deadlines in order to progress to the next task.

There are no exams on the Diploma course - all work is course work.  You can spend as much time as you wish to achieve the highest grades.

How will I be assessed?

The course is assessed in these methods:

  • Coursework
  • Portfolio of evidence
  • Presentation

Coursework and a portfolio of evidence make up the main assessment for the course. Each of the units have specific performance criteria that need to be met by your creative responses. Learners must complete all units in order to satisfy the criteria for the diploma qualification.

The course assignments are assessed by your tutors who will give individual feedback on your work. You will be monitored by staff through the tracking process, and you will have the opportunity to carry out peer and self assessments as well. You will track your own progress using current brief criteria and units already achieved.

Project work is marked within two weeks.  Feedback and provisional grades are given so you know what grades you are achieving throughout the course.  All final grades are subject to internal verification and External Moderation. 

Due to the high volume of work on this course it is essential that deadlines are met.

Are there any trips on this course?

There are trips, they vary between the gallery/museum to see work 'up-close' and to research interesting locations.

Are there any extra costs?

Acrylic Paint 8 tubes (White, Black, Cad Yellow, Cad Red, Ultramarine, Cerulean, Yellow Ochre, Pro Cyan)

Hog Flat Brushes (2,6,8 &10)

Hog Round Brushes (2,4,6 & 8)

Nylon Brushes Round (2,4,6,8 & 0.0)

A3 Spiral Sketchbooks Jumbo

Sketching Pencils 8B ‐2H pack of six

Metal Rule 30cm

A3 Display Book

Pastels set half length set of 32

Masking tape 25mm x 50m

Watercolour half pan

Gouache tubes set of 12

Glue UHU

Zig Micron Pens (0.05,0.1,0.2,0.3,0.5 & 0.8)

A1 Plastic Portfolio

A5 Spiral Sketchbook

A2 Plastic Portfolio

£100 total

The items listed are the essential art materials you will need for your course in September.

 This pack can be pre‐ordered using Wisepay.

 Art materials are available from the college shop at very competitive prices (these are subject to change) do

make sure you visit and see what else is available.

To pre‐order you can do this on the college website using Wisepay, please get your order in as soon as possible

to guarantee it will be here for the beginning of term.

You will be able to collect your pack from the shop in reprographics at the beginning of term.

Are there any specific entry requirements?

A grade 5 is required in an Art subject or DISTINCTION at BTEC Level 2 in an Art or Design subject. Entry will also be by interview where candidates will have the opportunity to show a portfolio of their work and ask questions with the Course Leader.


How do I Apply?

Application is by interview with the course team leader Peter Evans who will discuss the course, your interests in Art/design/craft and ask you questions about your work and what you want to achieve.

What enrichment activities are offered?

Projects have involved exhibitions at the Corinium Museum to celebrate historical anniversaries, selling exhibitions of print-making at several cafes and pubs, some projects are linked to competitions, opportunities to recieve commission for illustration work and work experience and enrichment activities linked to outside organisations.

Trips are either to Oxford, London or to local venues.

Careers Information


Do I have to do any writing?

Yes, you do. The study of art and design requires you to research and record your responses to the work of other artists and designers. There are a number of set written assignments  In addition you will be required to annotate and evaluate your own work.

Do I get any help with this?

In addition to support from your lecturers there is academic support available to help you through these assignments.

What if I fail a unit?

Use of interim reviews and formative assessment should ensure students gain minimum grades.

What do I have to do before the start of the course?

Students need to complete a Summer task which will be used for their first initial assessment in September to establish their ability to work independently to a brief.                         Students will be provided with a materials list for buying an art pack (if you can buy it from elsewhere, fine, but you need the pack to use by the 2nd week).