The Drawing Gap Admissions Policy

Admissions Policy

This Policy describes the admissions process for The Drawing Gap, a course for school leavers at the Royal Drawing School, and is designed to ensure that our admissions process is consistent, transparent and promotes fairness and equality.  It is also intended to inform prospective applicants of the details of the admissions process to help them through the process and also to manage their expectations of the School.

At the Royal Drawing School, we recognise our community is enriched by a diverse student body, and faculty.  Our aim is to make all our courses as inclusive as possible.  We are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all, irrespective of: age; gender (including gender reassignment and gender identity); race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin);  being married or in a civil partnership; being pregnant or on maternity leave; disability; religion or belief (including no-belief); sex or sexual orientation; caring responsibilities; socio-economic class; and whether such an identity is actual or perceived or whether this is by association with persons from any of these equality strands. This policy supports our objectives of diversity and inclusion.

1. Who can apply?

The RDS actively seeks to attract the widest range of students who will benefit from our courses. We recognise the value in a broad range of talents, backgrounds and opportunities. 

This course is designed for people who have just left school, or are transitioning between Further Education, Higher Education and employment. The course will most benefit those aged 18 and 23. You must be 18 or over on the day term starts. 

We will consider a wide range of qualifications and relevant work or life experience as evidence of suitability.  

Applicants are expected to show a portfolio of work demonstrating an interest in visual ideas and creative practice and a level of studentship appropriate for study on an intensive high-quality programme. 

The Drawing Gap is a fee-paying course. From Autumn Term 2022 the fee will be £3800. The Royal Drawing School is proud of its charitable status: bursaries and scholarships are available. Please contact us for more details on eligibility and how to apply. 

2. Selection Panel

Each year the Academic Board of the Royal Drawing School appoints a Selection Panel responsible for assessing the suitability of a candidate for study on The Drawing Gap in accordance with the School’s published admissions requirements, and to offer applicants places. 

The Selection Panel is also responsible for making recommendations to the School’s staff of any reasonable adjustments (in accordance with the Equality Act 2010) that the Royal Drawing School should make to support and enable students to complete The Drawing Gap course. 

The minimum configuration of the Selection Panel is one member of Royal Drawing School senior faculty, a member of the programme’s Core Faculty, and a member of staff. The Board is chaired by the School’s Director of Education. Other members of the School’s faculty and staff may be invited to join the panel. Any change to the Selection Panel must be agreed by the Directors of the School, and the Academic Board must be notified.

All members of the panel have equal voting rights and responsibilities no matter their experience or connection to the school (other than the Chair of the Selection Panel who is non-voting). The Chair is responsible for ensuring that every member of the board understands their rights and responsibilities and for the integrity of the admissions process.

3. Application and assessment process

Each year the Royal Drawing School publishes its admissions requirements online and in other literature for applicants to make a decision on whether to apply based on accurate, timely and clear information. 

Important dates relating to the application process are published on the School’s website alongside other information for applicants including FAQ’s.

Applications typically open at least three months before the application deadline. 

We provide a range of opportunities for applicants to visit the School in order to understand the course and facilities available.  We welcome prospective students to attend in person Open Days or virtual events. 

The assessment process happens throughout the application window so candidates can be offered places as soon as possible, and so they can plan their commitments in the time after leaving School.

  • The Selection Panel meets monthly during the application window to consider applications and offer places to those candidates they believe will benefit from the course. (More information on how the Panel makes decisions is in the assessment section, below).
  • Because the panel offers places on a rolling basis, it is an advantage to apply early in the application window.
  • If the places on the courses are filled, those still applying or interested in applying will be informed by the School. A waiting list be started and candidates who meet the required standard will be offered places in the order the School received their application.


3.1 Assessment

All applicants apply via the Schools website,  by filling out our online application form.  The form asks for information about:

  • Personal Details
  • Digital Portfolio Upload  
  • Personal Statement (max 500 characters)
  • 2 Referees
  • Education and any Employment
  • Equal Opportunities Monitoring*

Referees should know applicants in an academic or professional capacity if possible, and be prepared to comment on work ethic, artistic practice, interaction with other students/colleagues and suitability for higher education.  Referees may be contacted during the application process.

Digital portfolio
An applicant’s digital portfolio should comprise of 15 images that demonstrate their artistic practice.

Images should be saved as JPEGs or PNG files, no larger than 200dpi and maximum 4MB per image. Please ensure images are of good quality. Works should be created within the last three years.

Animators may submit short video files or a combination of video and 2-D images of work within their Additional Works. Please limit each video file to 2 minutes.

Every image must be labelled in the following way:
TitleOfWork_Dimensions_Medium.jpeg i.e. Untitled_25x25_CharcoalOnPaper.jpeg (Dimensions should be measured in centimetres.)

During the admissions process, the Selection Panel review all applications that have been submitted to the school correctly.  

The Drawing Gap is an intensive, skills-based programme that requires personal commitment to artistic learning.  The Selection Panel will offer places to students they believe will benefit from the course. They will look for evidence of artistic ability, potential, curiosity and studentship. The Drawing Gap is designed for anyone who wants to broaden their creative thinking and problem-solving skills, not only those who have skilled artistic facility. 

We aim to contact all applicants by email or letter within a month of the date they submitted their application to let them know whether or not they have been offered a place. 


*This information is used to enable us to ensure our processes are fair and consistent, and is not considered as part of the admissions process.

3.2 Offers

Deferred entry
The Royal Drawing School feels it is important that applicants’ current circumstances and artistic practice are taken into account when offering a place on the course, therefore, we do not normally offer a deferral system. In some cases, deferral to the following course may be possible. The School will decide on a case-by-case basis. 

If after formally accepting a place on School Leavers Programme, or at any point whilst studying on the course, a student decides to leave the course, they will be asked to formally give up their place and will not receive a completion certificate for the course, nor may they list the course on a professional CV. 


3.4     Feedback

The Royal Drawing School does not normally provide feedback to applicants about assessment.


4. Appeals

Appeals can be made within one month of the application process closing. Appeals will only be considered if the Royal Drawing School has made an administrative error or mitigating circumstances have not been properly considered. Appeals will be referred back to the Selection Panel, or if required, to members of the Academic Board. The School will not accept appeals against the educational judgement of the Selection Panel in the context of an applicant’s ability to succeed on The Drawing Gap. The Selection Panel’s decision is final.


5. Plagiarism and Fraudulent Applications

All work and material submitted during application process must be the work of the applicant. The Selection Panel will evaluate the originality of all work and any anomalies found in portfolios, personal statements and qualifications will be investigated. Applicants will be made aware of the evidence found and be given the opportunity to make representations. The Royal Drawing School reserves the right to reject any application if there is evidence of plagiarism or fraud.


6. Applicant Communications

The Royal Drawing School recognises the importance of keeping applicants informed throughout the application process. 

Important dates relating to the application process are published on the School’s website alongside other information for applicants including FAQ’s and Open Day dates. 

Key updates are provided throughout the admissions process and are usually communicated via email.  Communications include, but are not limited to:

  • Acknowledgement of application via email 
  • Confirmation of rejection or offer on the course.
  • Information relating to student visas and UK settlement (where applicable) for overseas students
  • Information about scholarships and bursaries.
  • Welcome and enrolment information
  • Student Agreement and other documentation

Fair Access, Diversity and Inclusion

The Royal Drawing School actively seeks to attract the widest range of students who would benefit from our course. We recognise the value in a broad range of talents, backgrounds and opportunities.

7. Removing financial barriers and providing access to financial support

The Drawing Gap is a fee-paying course. From Autumn Term 2022 the fee will be £3800. The Royal Drawing School is proud of its charitable status: means tested scholarships and bursaries are available to support those students who require additional financial support whilst on the course. Scholarships and bursaries are means tested after applicants have been offered a place and awarded before the start of the course.


8. Academic requirements

Places are offered based on the quality of the work presented in the portfolio, supported by the applicant’s personal statement, not on academic qualifications or achievement. 

Following an independent review in 2019, the Royal Drawing School currently chooses to remain unaccredited. We have taken this decision to ensure that people from all backgrounds and experience can apply and access the course based on talent and aptitude.

We also welcome applicants from other disciplines such as English, History, History of Art, Science, Math etc. The Royal Drawing School welcomes and encourages applications from all backgrounds

There is no written component during The Drawing Gap. While there is a critical studies component to the course, students are not required to produce any written work. This allows students to focus on developing their visual literacy through skills based artistic practice and tuition.


9. Contextualised Admissions

Contextualised admissions is defined as information and data used by educational establishments, to assess an applicant’s prior attainment and potential, in the context of their individual circumstances. The aim is to form a more complete picture of the applicant.

Contextual data includes educational, geo-demographic and socio-economic background data, such as historic data about an applicant’s school or college. Contextual information relates to individual applicant circumstances.

The Royal Drawing School recognises that Academic and socio-demographic inequalities mean that some students may not have benefitted from the same level of opportunities, qualifications, and support during their education and while preparing for their application.  The Royal Drawing School is committed to widening access and participation for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

9.2 Meeting the needs of applicants with a disability or with additional support needs

The Royal Drawing School welcomes applications from candidates with a disability or additional support needs. Such applicants will be considered against the same criteria as all other candidates following the process outlined in this policy.

Applicants are invited to disclose their access needs at all stages of the application process (initial application, portfolio review/interview/offer etc). They are encouraged to do so as early as possible in the application process to ensure that necessary support arrangements can be put in place to support them during the admissions procedure. 

In the event that a candidate with a disability or additional support needs is deemed eligible for an offer of a place, staff will contact the applicant to discuss the additional support the applicant is likely to require in order to manage their circumstances. 

As a small institution we are able to respond to individual needs on a case-by-case basis and we endeavour to make reasonable adjustments where possible in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.   

International Students

10. Right to study in the UK: documentation requirements 

All new students are required to produce their original passport or an original Biometric Residence Permit before beginning the programme.  This documentation will be verified, scanned and retained in your student file.  Documentation which cannot be verified may result in you being refused permission to continue on your programme. 

 For students of UK or Irish nationality, students will be asked to provide their British or Irish Citizen passport 

For international students:

  • Students with settled or pre-settled status in the UK, we will need to check it via a new UK government online checking system. 
  • Students who do not have settled or pre-settled status in the UK will need another form of immigration permission to study with us. i.e Graduate visa

Read more about requirements for international students in the section below.


11.     Information for non-UK passport holders:

The Drawing Gap is three months long however as the School is not an accredited institution we are unable to accept students on a Standard Visitor Visa. There may be other visa’s that allow you to study with us but the School cannot help with visa applications and is unable to sponsor Student Visas, further information can be found at the UK government page:  ‘Check if you need a UK visa

Disclosure of criminal convictions

We appreciate the important role that education can play in the rehabilitation process. 

A criminal record will not automatically prevent admission to the Royal Drawing School.  We aim to ensure that individuals with criminal convictions/cautions receive fair treatment, in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

First and foremost an offer will be made based on your ability to meet our application process. Upon receipt of the offer, and if you have any relevant unspent Criminal Convictions, you must contact the Admissions Team using the information provided in your offer letter.

If you then declare a Criminal Conviction we will write to you via email requesting further information. Further information could be in the form of a written personal statement from you explaining the details of the offence(s) and the circumstances around them, consent from you to contact your Probation or Support Officer (if applicable) for a detailed report or risk assessment and a relevant character reference. 

We are conscious of our responsibility both to consider the needs of each applicant, ensuring they receive the support required, whilst also safeguarding the public and the RDS community.

The specific details of each case will be considered on an individual basis, including the impact of your criminal record upon the needs of the course and the wider Royal Drawing School community. 

When an applicant’s criminal records checks have been cleared by the RDS and therefore accepted for entry onto the course, they would be expected to self-declare any new cautions/convictions for review.  

The relationship between an applicant/student, the RDS and any third parties is based on trust, confidence and professionalism. Failure to declare a relevant criminal conviction/caution and provide the requested information therefore means a risk assessment cannot be made. This could result in your application being withdrawn or becoming subject to student disciplinary procedures after enrolment.

If an applicant is yet to enrol, they would need to inform the Admissions team at the earliest opportunity to ensure continuation with the course. Or if after enrolment, then they would need to inform their dedicated Student Liaison Officer or Programme Leader. Any new information will need to be reconsidered under the same procedures as described above and could affect an applicant’s/student’s place on the course.

 The Royal Drawing School will treat your information confidentially.