BTEC Extended Diploma Art & Design Practice — Solihull Sixth Form College

BTEC Extended Diploma Art & Design Practice

This course is a BTEC Extended Diploma, equivalent to studying 3 A levels.

Why study Art & Design?
  • Art and design practices span a broad range of specialisms and purposes, but all practitioners in the creative industries work to enrich or improve the world around us. Before entering the industry, creative practitioners need to explore and refine different interrelated art and design practices in order to develop technical and communication skills and build confidence for producing outcomes to meet a need or fulfil a purpose.
  • The Extended Diploma in Art & Design Practice specification has been developed alongside experts from the creative industries to focus on practical and progression-focused learning. This course provides learners with opportunities to enter a broader range of higher education, apprenticeships, or employment roles.
  • Work is generated through practical projects, briefs, workshops and engagement with industry, preparing them through the development of portfolios and materials for progression. If you are seriously considering a career in art or design, this course will prepare you more thoroughly than taking a combination of A Levels.
Why study Art & Design at Solihull Sixth Form College?
  • Learners have progressed onto competitive courses such as degrees in Art History at the University of York, Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, Fashion Illustration at the London College of Fashion, Automotive Design at Coventry University and Games Art & Design at Norwich University of the Arts.
  • Learners who have graduated have gained jobs at Next as Head Designer of Boys Wear and Graphic Designers at Ted Baker and PlayStation. Learners have also gone on to exhibit at New Designers in London and FESPA Global Print Expo in Munich while others have successfully gained apprenticeships at ARUP Design Engineering and Jaguar Land Rover.
  • There will be the opportunity to take part in a range of trips and visits. In previous years, learners have visited places such as the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum.
  • An overseas trip to visit galleries and museums in a major European city is also open to all Visual Arts learners – we have visited cities such as Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome and Florence.
  • Learners will complete a number of live briefs to develop their employability skills. Projects have included creating murals for Grove Residential Home & Tandy Court Hospice as well as working with Solihull Council and Talking Rubbish on a media campaign.
  • Learners will be expected to develop their work both during formal lessons, workshops and independently. The department operates an open door policy, encouraging learners to return during private study time and work independently in the studios. This course can be tailored to your needs and aspirations, providing a first rate grounding for a range of progression routes.
Course Outline

Year 12: Exploring and Developing Art & Design:
• Skills & Development – Exploration of the fundamentals of art & design practice and development practical skills
• Creative Project – Response to a brief – from ideas generation to development of outcomes.
Year 13: Advancing Creative Practice
• Personal Progression – Develop an understanding of industry, employment roles and higher education routes and prepare progression materials relevant to personal aims.
• Creative Industry Response – Advance practical, critical and reflective skills to plan, prepare and develop a proposal for response to an industry relevant brief and carry it out from concept to resolution. To allow for a rich and immersive learning experience, learners can work freely across a range of technical skills areas, which reflect current industry practice. Some examples of areas of study include Fine Art, Textiles, Graphics, Multi-disciplinary work, 3D & Illustration.


All units are set and assessed internally. Grading is designed to reflect development so the final grade is weighted towards the second year of the programme to ensure that students have maximum opportunity to develop and apply their skills. All evidence produced for assessment is based on practical portfolios of work. The same five assessment criteria are used to assess all work throughout the qualification.
Examining Board – Pearson.

Special Entry Requirements

Standard BTEC entry requirements apply. In addition, a GCSE pass (grade 4 and above) or at least a Merit in an OCR National or Level 2 BTEC in Art, Graphics, Textiles or Design and Technology is essential. Creative iMedia is not accepted. Students must be prepared to work hard and have a passion for this subject. A personal approach is encouraged throughout the course and it is expected that learners will work in their own time to independently develop their projects.

Prohibited Options

Students will not be able to take an A Level course alongside this qualification.

What do our learners go on to do?

Completing a BTEC Extended Diploma in Art & Design Practice allows learners to apply directly to Art and Design degree courses. The majority of our learners progress to university to study on a range of courses including Fine Art, Animation, Graphics, Textiles & Fashion, Product Design, Architecture and Games Design. Learners work on live briefs, exhibit their outcomes and work with industry standard software and equipment. This allows learners to be prepared for a very competitive field of work in the creative industries.

Work Placements

Learners will be expected to prepare for their future through work placements and/or live briefs, giving learners vocational experiences of working in the Creative Arts Industries. Previous learners have had placements at places such as Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. A clear DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) may be needed depending on the nature of the placement/live brief. The cost of the DBS is approximately £68.00 and if it is needed then you are responsible for this payment (details of how to pay will be provided).

Cost Implications

The College supplies most art materials that you will need during your lessons and materials such as paint, clay, paper etc. are available in all studios. Learners are strongly advised to buy a BTEC Starter Pack at the start of the year which contains sketchbooks, folders and brushes from the Department. This is approximately £30. Please note, this course requires students to purchase electronic storage devices (such as an external hard drive) to save and store large files, such as images and music. Learners will not be able to save these large files onto the College IT network. We advise that learners also back up these files via online Cloud storage such as Microsoft OneDrive to ensure their files are secure. In both Y12 and Y13, learners are required to attend a compulsory local visit at a cost of £20-£30. Learners who choose to go on the overseas residential trip will usually pay approximately £650 for this.

This information is correct for September 2023 entry.

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