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Fine Art Level 3 Foundation Course

Fine Art Level 3 Foundation Course

This is a one year experimental learning course leading to our own certificate, independently moderated to meet national standard. Typically our students apply for undergraduate and postgraduate courses or continue onto our Advance Practice Course. Weekly constructive critiques ensure the continuing progress and direction of individual work, while gallery and artists studio visits support students writing on the cultural context of their developing work. Application is by portfolio interview with the Principal.


Course Aims

The Fine Art Level 3 Foundation course will develop learners’ understanding and awareness of the opportunities and demands of study in Fine Art and Design. It will provide a context in which learners can identify their strengths and ambitions through a sequential exploration of skills and concepts. Students will develop an informed awareness and understanding of the relationship between their strengths and ambitions, and achievable targets.

Course Structure & Modules

Full-time students will receive three consecutive days of tutored studio time and access to the Foundation Studio seven days per week, 9am – 9pm (Mon-Thurs), 9am-7pm (Fri-Sat) and 10am – 4pm (Sun). The course consists of three stages, which fit around the term dates. The Autumn and Spring Term are 13 weeks long, and the Summer Term 10 weeks.

Exploratory Stage

The Exploratory Stage will introduce students to making methodologies and lateral thinking alongside learning techniques in Drawing, Painting, Sculpture & Ceramics. Students will be challenged to work expediently and experimentally without any resolved outcome on a number of small project briefs alongside an overarching brief that will support their portfolio application into Higher Education.

Exploratory Stage Drawing exercise

Exploratory Stage work by student Reinhard Agyekum

Pathway Stage

The Pathway Stage allows students to explore and develop their interests in a chosen medium in response to the set brief. Students will be introduced to key Modernist and Contemporary art theory and will write an essay demonstrating their understanding of a influential text in this subject area.

Pathway Stage work by student Amy Prevost

Pathway Stage work by Franco Paoletti

Pathway Stage work by Maria Gambara

Confirmatory Stage

For the final stage students will have the opportunity to consolidate their learning and interests by writing and responding to their own project brief. The final outcome will be externally assessed and students will have the opportunity to exhibit their final work in the end of year show.

End of Year exhibition work by Aurelie Meriel

End of Year exhibition work by Gil Sherman

End of Year exhibition work by Kiran Vaswani

End of Year exhibition work by Daniele Maurizi

Studio & Gallery Visits

Intimate studio visits to internationally acclaimed artists provide inspiration to our students. In the last 18 months we have visited the studios Frank Bowling OBE RA, Philip King PRA, Gerry Judah, David Breuer Weil, Zadoc Ben David & Artem Special Effects.
Our gallery and museum visits underpin the student’s contextual studies and introduce them to a wide range of research resources. In the last twelve months students have visited major institutions including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Royal Academy, V&A, British Museum, Imperial War Museum along with visits to various private galleries.

Student Anne Marie Banjo photographed by Philip King PRA

Student Arman Malik observing the studio of David Breuer Weil

Field Trips

We like to introduce students to different learning environments, whether this be drawing on Hampstead Heath or visiting the Henry Moore Studio and Gardens. In 2019/20 we are planning a visit to Verrocchio Art Centre in Tuscany. The costs for visits outside London are not included in the course fee.

Student Lucia Boaghe painting on Hampstead Heath

External Collaborations

As part of their professional development we offer students the opportunity to participate in our external collaborations. Recently these have included a Waste Not project working with Gail's Bakeries across London and the Hampstead Village Giant Eggs Public Sculpture event.

Gail's Bakery Collaboration wreath by student Heini King

Hampstead Village Giant Egg by student Neda Koochakain Fard

Further Study

As a UCAS registered centre we support out students with their undergraduate applications. We have close relationship with London universities and each year we visit the Fine Art departments of different institutions during the Autumn Term. Our 2018/19 students received undergraduate offers from Central St Martins, Manchester University, Camberwell School of Art, Chelsea School of Art, Kingston School of Art, Leeds Arts University, University of Westminster & Middlesex University.

Student visit to The Slade School of Fine Art


All our tutors are practicing artists with diverse studio practices that cover the broad range of ideas in contemporary art. The regular Foundation tutors are Martin Darbyshire, Leon Platt, Anna Reading, John Close & James Bullimore. We also have a visiting lecturer programme that includes artists, alumni and curators.

Student Maria Gambara receiving feedback from External Examiner Jo Volley

Tutor Contact Time

Each week students will receive a minimum of 18 hours tutor contact time per week. With a small cohort every student will receive the support they require to reach their creative potential.

Entry Requirements

Applications are open from December with interviews for the next academic year taking place in May. On occasion late applications are accepted. Ideally, we would like to see a portfolio of work that relates to your application. This should be no more than 10 digital images. However, as a non for-profit charity our aims and objectives are to expand on the philosophy of Joseph Beuys and reach out to anyone who wishes to explore and discover art and design. As such applications are reviewed on an individual basis so if you are interested in taking the course please call the office on 020 7794 1439 or foundation@hsoa.co.uk to discuss your position. Each term we have Portfolio Courses and four day workshops during half term which support students wishing to build a portfolio. We also run an extensive Summer School based on some of the projects on the Foundation Course.

Opportunities for all

We welcome applications from mature students who are looking to explore their artistic potential in a sustained learning environment. Each year our student cohort is a diverse group of ages, languages and ethnicities. For students for whom English is not their first language we can offer private tuition. This supplementary cost will give the student the support to sit the IELTS level 6.0 exam, which is a currently a minimum requirement for undergraduate study at the majority of academic institutions in the UK.


The course fee is £7,500. A one off, non refundable registration fee is payable on acceptance to the course and an £150 examination fee due in May. Fees are to be paid in full in July before the Autumn Term.
As a small charity our courses do not receive public funding. We are therefore currently unable to offer fee exemption for students under 19, or access to student loans.


Thanks to the generosity of our paton we are able to offer the Frank Bowling OBE RA bursary. The bursary is awarded after successful application onto the course. Each year the bursary is decided in accordance to the students need and ambition.

Booking enquiries

Call 020 7794 1439, email info@hsoa.co.uk, visit us or complete the form below.