Course Details

EDEXCEL BTEC Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

King Edward VI Community College

The Foundation Course

The Foundation Course is an intensive one year full-time (or two year part-time) ‘post A- Level’ art & design course, that delivers a thorough grounding in the basic principles of art and design. The course’s main aim is to secure its students a place on a BA (Hons) degree that requires the Foundation Course as a prerequisite to entry.

The Totnes Foundation course is unique in Devon because it is taught over five days a week. Most distinctively it underpins all art and design practice with an emphasis upon the central importance of drawing and the formal elements.

Historical Note

Foundation Courses are regarded by art colleges as the best grounding for degree level study. The modern Foundation Course has its roots partly in the preliminary course run at the Bauhaus, Germany, from 1919 to 1933. Bauhaus teaching encouraged radical thinking and material experimentation. The Totnes Art & Design Foundation Course had its first intake of students in September 2006.


Gabby Llewellin – Course Leader for the Foundation Course

Clothing, Textiles & Contemporary Practice

Marcus Davies – Photography, Graphics, Book Arts, Illustration

Sophie Perkins – Drawing, Painting, Fine Art



The main qualification you will be studying for is the Edexcel BTEC Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. This is officially recognised as a post A-Level qualification and secures between 185 and 285 UCAS Tariff Points (up to 120 university level Credits)


All students have a group tutorial session each week with their Course Tutor. This is an essential aspect of the course. Within this hour you will address issues such as:-

UCAS applications and choices
UCAS Personal Statements
The structure and range of British art & design Higher Education
Essay Planning
Research skills
Mock Interviews
Writing a C.V./ documentation of your work
Portfolio preparation
Time Management skills
Choosing your specialisms
How to write your Statement of Intention for your Final Major Project
Any problems that need addressing within the course
Planning visits to exhibitions etc
Preparing your work for Final Assessment
Planning & preparing for the Final Summer Exhibition

To complement the group tutorials there are also individual tutorials with staff and your Course Leader in which your progress will be addressed, UCAS options discussed, and Mock Interviews carried out

Assessment and Grading

All project work will be assessed. This will take the form of verbal and occasional written formative assessment during each project from specialist staff. It may also take the form of group crits’ in which students are encouraged to assess their own work and the work of others in front of an audience. At the end of each major project students will have their work formally assessed by their Course Tutor and appropriate specialist staff. They will receive a written Feedback form, which will outline to what extent their work meets the requirements of the Project Brief(s) and the grading criteria of the Units covered within the project(s)

All Foundation work undertaken in the ‘Coursework’ stage of the Course is given either a Pass or Refer grade. All referred work must be resubmitted within an agreed time with your tutor

Your work and progress within the course will be formally assessed towards the end of the Autumn Term (‘Portfolio Review’). Students should look at the specifications for each Unit to see what is expected within the coursework portfolio. However, to summarise, students must show evidence of a range of work demonstrating a healthy variety of experimentation with media, ideas and research. They must also show evidence that they understand and can apply formal language. A portfolio that shows only a narrow range of work with little questioning of already existing skills and ideas is unlikely to pass.  Your coursework grades are indicative, to let you know how you are progressing

The final grade you will receive will be determined solely on your Final Major Project. Most Higher Education institutions usually require a ‘Pass’ grade for admission to their courses. The Foundation course is now included in the UCAS Tariff Points system as follows:

Distinction                  285 Points
Merit                           245 Points
Pass                          185 Points

All marking and grading between September and Easter is done internally. i.e: by staff teaching within the course. The grade given you for your Final Major Project, and thus your Foundation Diploma, is internally graded and is then moderated by an Edexcel External Examinations Moderator

Art Materials List

Here is a list of materials you will need during the Foundation Course. This list is not comprehensive. Do not feel that you have to go out and buy all this immediately. Rather buy equipment as and when it is needed. You may find that you have specific requirements of your own to purchase throughout the course, for example, mounting card. You will need to regularly replenish much of your equipment during the course, for example, sketchbooks and masking tape

You will need:-

  • A1 black zipped portfolio (without rings)
  • Several hard backed A3 & A4 sketchbooks
  • A range of good quality synthetic acrylic paint brushes
  • 1 inch household brush
  • Readymix poster paint in black, white, Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, red, yellow and blue
  • Gouache paints in a range of colours
  • Charcoal
  • Compressed Charcoal (black)
  • A black chinograph pencil
  • Graphite block
  • A selection of 3B or softer drawing pencils
  • One eraser
  • One Stanley knife
  • Masking tape
  • A selection of good quality soft coloured ‘chalky’ pastels or Oil pastels or other good quality wax pastels
  • One white conte crayon
  • 30cm metal ruler
  • Spray fixative or cheap hair spay ( just as good for charcoal fixing etc)
  • A tin of watercolour paints
  • One A4 size lever arch file
  • Lined A4 paper for lecture notes etc
  • Memory Stick
  • PVA Glue
  • Scissors
  • Black Drawing Ink

It isn’t essential to have your own camera at this stage. While KEVICC have a number of manual and digital cameras available for students use, whose students who wish to specialise in photography at degree level are advised to buy one. We recommend a 35mm SLR with manual function.

KEVICC charges a studio fee, so that the Art Department can provide you with the bulk of your black & white film, printing inks and clay requirements. However, the department can only provide a minimum amount of drawing paper, and it is expected that students will provide their own.

Applying for a Higher Education Course

  • All full time degree courses operate through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions System)
  • You will be encouraged to apply through UCAS for up to 5 courses/universities
  • The deadline for application to UCAS is 15TH January. However, in reality you need to apply for the early courses by the 1st December. Therefore, the emphasis is on you to visit universities and courses in earnest from the October half term
  • Therefore, while the Foundation Course allows you the time and experience to make the right choice for your application into Higher Education; it is imperative that you take responsibility for your application decisions and start to consider your options from the start of the course

Funding Arrangements for Foundation Students

  • All British and EU residence students starting the Foundation Course under the age of 19 should have their tuition fees automatically paid by their Local Education Authority
  • Students of 19 years or over at the start of the course will have to make their own arrangements for funding and will be charged by the college the current set rate for the tuition fees, contact course leader for current details.
  • All students are required to pay an additional annual studio fee

Student destinations

View the range of creative paths that our students go on to follow: Student Destinations