Art & Design

Course Description

This is an in-depth, full-time, art and design course, where you will explore specialist techniques and processes associated with areas such as craft, illustration, sculpture, fine art, photography, print making and textile design.

Entry Requirements

Students will be expected to have five GCSEs at grade 9-4, or a Merit in a relevant vocational Level 2 Diploma (or equivalent). In addition, students will be expected to have GCSE grade 4 in English Language and preferably Art & Design and a minimum of grade 3 in Mathematics.

Course Content

The ethos of the course is based around students developing their understanding of theory and practice and their relationship to one another. Developing your intellectual and imaginative powers, your capacity to understand and communicate and make critical judgments about every aspect of art & design.

In the initial phase you will create and work in sketchbooks, exploring a wide range of materials, media, processes and techniques. You will explore the creative potential of a sketchbook, learning how to develop skills such as: narrative, layout and experimental. You will learn to develop ideas and contextualise your work. As your confidence grows and you become both creative and skilful at handling a wide range of media and materials, you will explore your ideas on a large- scale that allows you to use traditional and non-traditional art & design techniques, processes, materials and media.

It is important that you learn how to develop a project that consistently pushes and really develops ideas along a creative path that meets the needs of the brief and breaks new ground creatively. To this end you will be asked to absorb contemporary visual culture and bring in inspiration not just from artists and designers but also novels, films, music, poems, architecture, dance, adverts, TV and magazines. You will regularly attend exhibitions and artist led workshops. You will “top up” your core art & design studies with enrichment opportunities such as life drawing, animation and traditional darkroom photography techniques. This wide range of traditional and digital media, materials, processes and techniques that you will develop will allow you to stand out at university, apprenticeship opportunities or employment.


The course consists of two units, both are externally assessed. Students must successfully pass BOTH units to gain this qualification. Students will only be able to graduate to the second year of this course if they successfully complete the unit from year 1.

Enrichment and Work Experience

There is the opportunity for some students to do a substantive placement of 350 hours or 50 days’ work experience and (where applicable), all other students will complete a minimum of one week work placement during the summer term. Throughout the academic year there will be several day trips to galleries, artist studios and city visits to gather and practise your observational recording techniques. Some will be enriching, but for those that are compulsory, travel costs will be met by The Sixth Form. Workshops take place each Wednesday afternoon and they cover all areas of art & design to further develop your creative making skills and broaden your knowledge of art & design.

Additional Information

To support your studies, you will be required to purchase relevant materials as outlined below:
Kit: £22.50 includes an A3 portfolio, 4 x A4 sketchbooks, masking tape, fine liner, biro, a set of drawing pencils, a set of paint brushes and one set of Anilinky paints.

Future Career Opportunities

Many students go on to study art & design at pre-degree foundation level, or a BA degree. Students have gained employment in areas of art & design such as interior design, surface pattern design, graphic design, advertising, illustration as well as industrial and commercial product design, photography, animation and film/video.

Why study at The Sixth Form Bolton?

The course is equivalent to three A Levels, qualifying entry onto a relevant degree course. We have an excellent level of progression to higher education. Students’ portfolios are more well-rounded and fuller than those of a student who chooses to study one or two art & design subjects at A Level. The course is most suitable for those students who know their future lies within art & design.