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This study programme is designed for 16 to 19 year olds (aged 19 to 24 for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan).

All courses take place on our Sixth Form Campus, therefore any applicants aged 25+ or over who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan may be required to complete a DBS check as part of the conditional offer to West Suffolk College. The cost to the applicant for a DBS is £30.00 and the DBS check can be completed through the college.

Please visit our Adult EducationDegrees and Employer section for alternative courses.

About the course

About The School of Art, Design & Digital-Creative / Leonardo Creative House

We hope you apply and join one of our courses. You will belong to the biggest curriculum area at West Suffolk College - The School of Art, Design and Digital-Creative. We are thriving, fun and ambitious. Studying ONE subject that you truly connect with (with no exams) is a liberating joy. You will love it!

This year we have over 500 students studying a broad range of creative courses across different levels. We are fortunate to have our own purpose-built building - 'Leonardo House' - on the main campus. Over many years we have all worked hard to be considered one of the very best Further Education creative centres in the UK. We care about what we do and strive to develop the next generation of professionals for the UK and global Creative Industries. Our culture is one of very high standards and freedom of individual expression. You will be working with like-minded individuals and professional specialist staff. Being part of Leonardo Creative House is a great thing. With hard work you will thrive and progress to a rewarding future.

Derek Johnson - Director of The School of Art & Design / Leonardo Creative House

The course - what is it all about?

If you enjoy photography and would like to build your skills and a career - this is the course for you. Across a range of assignments and structured sessions you will learn and master a range of skills. There is a wonderful mix of technical competence and pure creative freedom. These range from working in our traditional black & white darkroom to creating highly innovative digital pieces. The staff are all qualified photographers and deliver a course with high expectations and ambition. This is not a fun hobby course!

Over the years the Photography students have produced incredible work - really expressing their interests and individuality. The importance of photography as a tool for recording the world, society, nature, humanity and 'the moment' is at the core of the education. Photography is powerful and allows us all to see the world within a frame. There are no limits and students progress to the very best universities and rewarding careers.

cyana 2
a lonely place to think
Sidneypallot 03
edmundos for portfiolio
alice 3

The courses and what you need to get a place

  • UAL Level 1 Diploma in Art, Design and Media (1 year)

  • UAL Level 2 Diploma in Art & Design (1 year) or UAL Level 2 Diploma in Digital Arts (1 year)

  • UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design & Communication (internal pathway: Photography) (2 years)

What level will you do? Put simply, to gain a place a level 3 you will need at least four x GCSEs grade 4 or above. We would like least one of these needs to be in Maths or English. If you feel you may not achieve this then level 1 or 2 will be the perfect first step. These are outstanding courses. We are flexible to individual circumstances. At interview (do not worry it is a very pleasant meeting!) we will discuss levels and your entry skills. All will be fine!

What the course covers

Creative and Technical skills:

  • Camera Skills - manual and digital
  • Studio lighting
  • Darkroom methodology - black and white - chemical-based film development and printing
  • Digital - various software - including Adobe CC (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
  • Portrait, fashion, social-documentary and commercial photography
  • Locational photography
  • Mixed-media image making
  • Introduction to moving image and editing
  • Idea generation
  • Exploration and experimentation of media and processes
  • Independent development of work into own unique outcomes
  • Contextual studies - historical, modern photography and links to wider world issues

Professional Skills:

  • Working on 'live' assignments
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Working with focus and independence
  • Communication
  • Presentation of outcomes
  • Online professional social media profile

How will I be assessed?

All courses and levels are assessed against submitted coursework by a deadline - work with NO sat exams. All are assessed at Pass, Merit, Distinction levels against the qualification unit criteria.

We are proud to be a University of the Arts London (UAL) accredited college. This is the largest creative awarding body in Europe.

NOTE: All level 3 courses carry the required UCAS points for university applications.

Where will it take me?

Level 1 and 2 students progress to levels 2 and 3.

Level 3 students progress to university or employment. Annually about 75% of our level 3 students decide to progress to university. They all successfully gain places. Our students progress to the very finest universities such as Chelsea, Central Saint Martins, Manchester, Nottingham Trent, London College of Fashion, Norwich, Southampton and many others.

Outstanding aspects and highlights

We love doing as many enriching things as possible. This ensures your educational experience is varied, challenging and positive. Recently Photography students have:

  • Undertaken landscape and nature photography on the North Norfolk coast
  • Portrait shoot with fashion and hair/beauty models and students
  • Exhibited work at the UAL 'Origins' in London
  • Been nominated for 'British Photographer of the Year'
  • Won the 2021 'MARS Award'

Days & times

Starting September 2023

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