25 June 2019

The College’s pre-university Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media has once again proved a huge success, with students finishing the course this year set to head for some of the most highly-regarded university places in the country.

The Foundation Diploma, known as FAD for short, is a post-A Level specialist course for students who plan to further their artistic skills in readiness for university or employment within the creative industries, and is held in high esteem by Higher Education institutes and employers alike, with some universities even seeing the qualification as a prerequisite for entry.

This year, FAD students have earned offers from leading universities in the world of art, such as Luke who starts at Central St Martins in September, where places on the fashion course are considered some of the most competitive in the sector. Others include Josh’s offer from Goldsmiths to study History of Fine Art, Meg’s Fine Art Mixed Media course at the University of Westminster and Ellie going to Liverpool John Moores University to read Fashion Design and Communication.

The Foundation Diploma involves students using a wide range of artistic techniques and media before having the chance to choose their specialism, which usually falls into three camps: design, fashion and fine art & photography.

Reflecting on their year on the FAD course, design-based students explained what the qualification and the time at the College offers: “It gives you an extra year to focus on the things that you really enjoy and it gives you more confidence to go off to uni or work afterwards. You feel the improvement in your work so quickly too, because you’re really focused.

“We’ve all come to this course with a different artistic background, and that’s the great thing about it, because you get to listen to other people’s thoughts and ideas and think about how they would have done something differently to you. That process helps you develop so much as an artist. You really bounce off each other.

“We feel like a little family. Having our own space in the Art and Design building brings us really close together.”

Students studying the FAD Diploma can come straight after completing their A Levels and BTECs at the College, although some come from other schools in the area.

One of the students heading for a career in the fashion industry said on starting at the College: “Maybe the first day was a bit daunting because you didn’t know anyone, but after that it’s just great. Everyone was just really lovely and the friendships that we’ve made have been a real highlight of the course.”

Another major highlight in everyone’s calendar was the trip to Berlin to experience the artistic culture, which proves a hit year upon year. The trip is also another chance for students to hone in on exactly which field of art they wish to specialise in, as some say they started the FAD course still unsure of their direction.

The fashion students said: “Some of us didn’t know what we wanted to focus on, but doing a fashion project really opened our eyes and inspired us to take it up.

“If I went to uni straight from sixth form then I wouldn’t be as prepared. I’d changed the course I wanted to do at uni three times but doing the foundation helped me to figure out precisely what was the right choice for me.”

Fine art students agreed that the Foundation Diploma gave them the chance to ‘grow up’ a little more, and that there is an evolution of thought while studying and focusing purely on their artistic endeavours.

They said: “It’s a big change going from A Levels to the foundation course: the way you think about what you’re doing changes and your independence grows.

“There’s still pressure involved, obviously, but it’s a kind of nice pressure to have because you know you’re doing something that you love and you just want to do the best you can. You have freedom to express yourself and experiment while under the pressure too.”

Visitors are welcome to come to the College’s Art & Design Show on Wednesday 3rd July between 4:30pm and 8pm to see the FAD students’ fabulous work for themselves, along with inspirational creative pieces from A Level Fine Art, Graphics and Textiles students.