BTEC Art & Design

Why study Art & Design?
  • The new BTEC specification in Art and Design uses a combination of assessment styles to give students confidence they can apply their knowledge to succeed in the workplace – and have the study skills to continue learning on higher education courses and throughout their career.
  • If you are seriously considering a career in art or design, the BTEC Extended Diploma will prepare you for a degree course more thoroughly than taking a combination of A Levels. It will allow you to try different areas of the subject in order to select which specialism to apply for. It will also give you the time and opportunity to develop your art and design skills to a level where you can successfully achieve a place on a degree course.
Why study Art & Design at Solihull Sixth Form College?
  • Students have progressed onto competitive courses such as degrees in Art History at University of York, Fashion Illustration at The London College of Fashion, Automotive Design at Coventry University and Textile Design at Manchester University. Students who have graduated have gained jobs at Next as Head Designer of Boys Wear and Graphic Designers at Ted Baker and PlayStation. Students 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 LandRover.
  • There will be the opportunity to take part in a range of trips and visits. In previous years, students 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 students – in 2016 this trip was to Paris, in 2017 it was to Barcelona, and Rome & Florence in 2018.
  • Students take a wide range of units (see overleaf), but in the second year they specialise in one area of art or design in order to produce a portfolio of work for application to their chosen degree course.
  • You will complete a number of Live briefs to develop your employability skills. Projects have included creating a mural for Grove Residential Home and Tandy Court Hospice.
  • You will be expected to develop your work both during formal lessons and in your own time. The department operates an open door policy, encouraging students 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 progression to university.
Course Outline

Students take 13 units in total. 7 units are mandatory and 6 units are carefully selected by the Visual Arts team to offer a range of different experiences and allow students to build skills and knowledge across a wide range of Art & Design areas. This qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels. Students will not be able to take an A Level course alongside this qualification. Students take 13 units in total. 7 units are mandatory and 6 units are carefully selected by the Visual Arts team to offer a range of different experiences and allow students to build skills and knowledge across a wide range of Art & Design areas. This qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels. Students will not be able to take an A Level course alongside this qualification.

7 Mandatory Units:
1. Visual Recording and Communication
2. Critical and Contextual Studies in Art and Design
3. The Creative Process
4. Materials, Techniques & Processes in Art and Design
5. Developing an Art and Design Portfolio
6. Managing a Client Brief
7. Developing and Realising Creative Intentions

6 Optional Units in areas such as:
• Textiles
• Photography
• Painting
• Multi-disciplinary


Units 1,2,6 & 7 are externally set and marked by Pearson. For these units students complete, in controlled conditions, a practical task tackling an everyday challenge; some tasks also draw on pre-released information.
All other units are set and marked internally. For these units students complete a series of tasks set in a work-related scenario which you can tailor to local industry needs.
Examining Board – Edexcel.

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 BTEC First Diploma in Art, Graphics, Textiles or Design and Technology is essential. 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 students will work in their own time to independently develop their projects.

Prohibited Options


What do our students go on to do?

Completing a BTEC Extended Diploma course allows students to apply directly to art and design degree courses. The majority of our students progress to university to study on a range of courses including Fine Art, Animation, Textiles & Fashion and 3-Dimensional Design. Students work on live briefs, exhibit their outcomes and work with industry standard software and equipment. This allows students to be prepared for a very competitive field of work in the creative industries.

Work Placements and Live Briefs

Students will be expected to prepare for their future through work placements and/or live briefs, giving students vocational experiences of working in the Creative Arts Industries. Previous students have had placements at places such as Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. Examples of some live briefs have been, curating exhibitions, creating murals for a hospice and delivering community art workshops. 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 £60.00 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. Students 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. Students will not be able to save these large files onto the College IT network. We advise that students also back up these files via online Cloud storage such as Microsoft OneDrive to ensure their files are secure. In both Y12 and Y13, students are required to attend a compulsory local visit at a cost of £20-£30. Students who choose to go on the overseas residential trip will usually pay £650 for this.

This information is correct for September 2020 entry.

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Case Studies

Erin Minogue

Erin Minogue joined The Sixth Form College, Solihull from Heart of England School. She studied A level Classical Civilisation, History,…

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