Q. Who teaches on The Foundation Year?

The course is led by Gethin Evans and Sharon Beavan, who ran the highly regarded foundation programme at Byam Shaw School of Art for many years. Gethin and Sharon teach alongside other members of the Royal Drawing School senior faculty. Half of the teaching on The Foundation Year is delivered by young contemporary artists who are graduates from the Royal Drawing School’s prestigious MA-level programme, The Drawing Year.

Q. How much teaching will I receive on The Foundation Year? 

This in an intensive, taught, skills-based course. Students receive five days’ tuition each week during term time, as well as weekly art history lectures and in-conversations with contemporary artists.

Q. Is there life drawing on the course? 

At the Royal Drawing School we draw from life in the studios, both unclothed and clothed models, male and female; from art in museums and galleries; and from city life in the streets and London’s green spaces. Life Drawing is fundamental to how we teach observational drawing. Drawing from a life model in particular familiarises us with our shape and movement and encourages an understanding of both. Drawing directly from the unclothed figure allows students to see the structure of the body with the intention of developing the ability to make up figures in their artwork. Drawing, painting and sculpting from the unclothed model is a core component of the Foundation Year and complements other areas of investigation such as drawing clothed figures, memory, imagination and narrative work.

Q. How many students are on The Foundation Year?

Our intake is generally limited to 50 students each year to ensure that we are able to provide high quality one-to-one teaching throughout the course.

Q. Is The Foundation Year accredited? 

The Foundation Year is an independent course, not accredited by external examiners.  When applying, students must be aware that they will not gain UCAS points and should therefore apply with all the UCAS points they need to go on to university. All Foundation Year students applying to university since the inception of the course have gone on to top-ranking universities and the School is recognised for producing well-rounded students with high-quality portfolios.  

The Foundation Year is a unique full-time course which enables students to focus on a broad variety of skills-based workshops alongside their developing studio practice the outcome of which is a strong and distinctive portfolio. Although students will require a specific number of UCAS points to apply to BA courses, once their application has been accepted it will largely be portfolio and interview which will determine if they are offered a place. 

Accreditation is something that we review annually to ensure that we deliver a contemporary and relevant course for students who want to go on to study an arts-related subject at BA level, progressing to a career in the creative industries. 

Q. What qualification will I receive at the end of The Foundation Year?

Students will receive a certificate of achievement issued by the Royal Drawing School. The course is not accredited and therefore does not qualify for UCAS points. It is however directly relevant to students hoping to take a degree in Fine Art or a related subject, as well as those looking to progress directly into a wide range of careers for which the skills learned on the course will be very beneficial. Helpful and expert advice and guidance on progression from The Foundation Year is one of the key benefits that we offer students.

Q. What are the fees for The Foundation Year?

Through the generosity of the Royal Drawing School’s donors, The Foundation Year is free to all students aged 18 and 19 on 1st September in the year that they start the course. There are some 100% bursaries available to students over 19 and these will be allocated on a means-tested basis. The full cost of the course for fee-paying students is £5,000.

Q. What do our students go on to do?

Following graduation, previous students have progressed to a wide variety of BA courses in subjects including Fine Art, Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Photography, Animation, Graphic Design, Architecture, Illustration, Theatre Design, and Technical Arts and Special Effects at top-ranking universities including the Architectural Association, Camberwell College of Arts (UAL), Central St Martins (UAL), Falmouth University, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Glasgow School of Art, Goldsmiths University of London, Newcastle University, Slade School of Fine Art (UCL), The Ruskin School of Art, The University of Edinburgh, University of Brighton, University of Bristol, University of Leeds, University of Oxford, and Wimbledon College of Art (UAL) among others. Since the course's inception all students applying to BA courses were placed at top-ranking universities.

Q. Who can apply to The Foundation Year?

The course is tailored to recent school-leavers. To apply you must be 18 or above on 1st September in the year that you start the course; i.e. if you are applying for entry in September 2018, you must be 18 or over on 1st September 2018. We do however welcome applications from over-19s, who feel that the course may help them to realise their ambition to progress to higher education or into a relevant career. We are only able to accept applications from students who are UK or EU passport holders.

Q. How do I apply to The Foundation Year?

The first step is to complete our online application form.

Q. What should I submit in my portfolio?

The portfolio should display a sense of personal investigation through a range of drawing and painting media. It should include a maximum of 25 sheets, which should include examples of the following:

    • Drawings that express a curiosity for looking at the world around you. (These should be directly from observation as well as drawings made from photography).

    • Pieces that demonstrate an ability to work across a range of materials, media and sizes. (Please include photographic evidence of any 3D work, installations or larger pieces where applicable).

    • Sketchbooks demonstrating your personal artistic ideas and direction as well as exhibition/gallery responses and inspiration from artists.