The Foundation Year, run by the Royal Drawing School, is a one year accredited skills-based course with five days teaching per week. Limited to 60 places, the School ensures one-to-one tuition, with a supportive learning environment in an inspiring part of London’s Docklands buzzing with creatives and artist studios. This intensive course helps students to develop the making and thinking skills needed for the next level of study and provides a route to a number of creative disciplines. The School awards a minimum of 50% of students a scholarship or fee reduction every year.


  • High tutor to student ratio
  • Taught five days a week
  • Skills-based teaching centred around drawing
  • Weekly life drawing classes in the first two terms 
  • Disciplines: Painting, Sculpture, Drawing,  Printmaking, Animation, Ceramics, Photography  and Design
  • Facilities include painting and drawing studios,  sculpture studio, kiln, print room, photography  darkroom and Apple Mac computer suite
  • Supportive environment 
  • Weekly Contextual Studies lectures and gallery visits
  • Guidance with UCAS applications and portfolio preparation
  • Accredited Level 3/4 course with UCAS tariff points
  • Students awarded a Diploma in Fine Art
  • All students from previous years applying to BA courses placed at top-ranking universities
  • Unique London riverside location in the thriving  creative community at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Docklands

Students explore a wide range of Fine Art media including painting, sculpture, animation, printmaking and photography, with drawing emphasised as a means of informing and expressing ideas. Throughout the year drawing from observation in the studio, on the streets of the city and from art in galleries and museums, remains at the core of the programme.


Places are limited to 60 students to ensure regular one-to-one tuition along with group crits, access to studio space and individual mentoring. The Foundation Year is directed by Daniel McAuliffe and teaching is led by a team of Senior Core Tutors with extensive experience in Foundation level teaching. They are supported by both Core Tutors and Alumni Faculty who are graduates of The Drawing Year, the School’s postgraduate level course.

University progression

The course is structured to enable all students to progress to BA degrees in creative subjects including Fine Art, Illustration and Graphic Design, Architecture, Photography, Sculpture, Printmaking, Painting, Animation, Theatre Design, Film, Product Design and Textiles, and full support is given with all applications and portfolio preparation. Guidance is also offered to those seeking to progress directly to apprenticeships and the workplace. Since the course's inception all students applying to BA courses were placed at top-ranking universities including Goldsmiths University, Glasgow School of Art, Slade School of Art, University of Brighton, University of Falmouth, The Ruskin School of Art and Central St Martins.

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I’m amazed at how many different materials and skills I learned about. I have acquired so many new methods and new understandings of art. Alyssa Hart Foundation Year 2013-14