Parent & Carer Information
At Plymouth College of Art we believe in high-quality education for life in contemporary arts practice, as the creative catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation. We place the aspirations and support needs of every student at the very heart of our creative enterprise.
Our pre-degree campuses at Palace Court and Palace Studios are home to five hundred 16-19-year-old students studying Extended Diploma, Foundation Diplomas and the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP) in arts, performing arts, crafts, design and media, and it is here that we provide a safe and creative environment, where your child/young person can grow, learn new skills, and become more independent.
We are committed to supporting your child/young person on every step of their creative journey. Below you will find information about our Parents' & Guardians' Evenings, our Code of Conduct and Attendance, Safeguarding and Key Dates for your diary.
Regular attendance is key to any student’s success and we require them to be at every lesson, unless they are ill or have another genuine reason.
If absence is necessary, either the student, or the parent or guardian will need to let us know in advance with as much notice as possible using the links below.
- If your child is a registered Plymouth College of Art student and can self-report, please ask them to visit My Timetable and select the Report absence (student) button at the top of the page.
- If you are a parent or guardian reporting an absence on behalf of a registered Plymouth College of Art student, please complete the college's absence reporting form.
If there are concerns about the attendance or academic progress of your child/young person and they are under the age of 18, you will be kept informed through our intervention process.
Of course, you are free to make appointments to see college staff at any time to discuss your child/young person's progress, particularly if you have any concerns.
If students are aged over 18 at enrolment, we will need their permission to talk to you about any college issues.
Twice a term, based on assessment, project work, tutorials and feedback we measure our students’ progress according to the expectations that we set for each individual.
A report will be sent out to the parents/guardians of students under the age of 18 at the end of each term which is a snapshot of progress and includes attendance, target grades, academic, character, English and Maths, and IB subjects (if applicable). These can then be discussed fully at parents' evenings which are arranged in a timely manner.
A traffic light system is used to articulate the progress each individual is making according to the expectations set. The traffic lights are:
- Blue - Exceeds Expectations: The individual is exceeding the expectations we have for them and is making excellent progress.
- Green - Meet Expectations: The individual’s progress is on track and will achieve the expectations set for them.
- Amber - Just Meets Expectations: Some minor work is needed to achieve the expectations set for this individual.
- Red - Below Expectations: Some significant and serious work is needed to achieve expected progress.
The college expects its students to follow the Code of Conduct whilst at the college, and failure to do so will mean they will progress through our Intervention Framework.
We aim to resolve issues through interventions and after an informal warning, recorded on the students electronic record, there are three stages of intervention.
If a student is told they are at Stage 1 of this process, then you will receive a letter/email inviting you into college to discuss the issue, agree targets and if appropriate, sign a behavior contract. These targets/contracts will then be monitored, where we expect this will then be resolved.
However we will invite you in to the college again should your child/young person not meet the agreed targets, and failure to continually adhere to the Code of Conduct could lead to Stage 2 and furthermore onto a Stage 3 withdrawal meeting.
What is an Extended Diploma?
An Extended Diploma is a vocational qualification run over two years and the equivalent of three A-Levels which has a Pass, Merit or Distinction outcome and a maximum of 168 UCAS points.
What is a Foundation Diploma?
This is a post A-Level one year course that prepares the student for degree-level study with a maximum value of 285 UCAS points and has Pass, Merit and Distinction outcomes. This course is free for 19 year olds.
What is the IBCP?
The International Baccalaureate Careers Programme (IBCP) is an internationally-recognised framework of career-related education for post-16 students that seeks to develop confident, critical thinkers who are prepared for modern life and equipped with the cross-cultural skills needed to succeed in their future careers, within the UK and across the world.
Fees, Finance & Funding
For more information, please visit our Fees, Finance and Funding page.
Why does my child/young person have to take English/Maths?
Students that attend our Level 3 courses will do so as part of the Study Programme which includes English and Maths and will help students to develop the essential skills required within employment and everyday life. Our lessons are directly linked to the arts and give students the potential to achieve greater success in their chosen area of study and in the workplace. These lessons will develop the following skills:
- English, to improve reading, writing, speaking and listening
- Practical Maths, for everyday life
- Problem-solving skills
- Employability skills, including letter writing, CV writing and interview techniques
- Students joining the College with a GCSE English or Maths at Grade D will be required to resit their GCSE
How do you make sure my child/young person is safe?
The college believes that it is always unacceptable for any student to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all students by commitment to practice that protects them effectively. The college is committed to:
- providing a safe learning environment for all students with equal protection from all types of harm and abuse
- identifying children, young people and vulnerable adults who are suffering or are likely to suffer significant harm, and taking appropriate action to see that such children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe, both at home and at the college
- working in partnership with students, staff and other institutions to promote a safe learning environment
The college complies with recent Government legislation regarding ‘Prevent’ responsibilities, aiming to raise awareness of the risks of extremism including radicalisation.
If at any point students feel they need to talk to someone about any issues around being safe either inside or outside the college, then they can talk to their tutor, Subject Leader or our designated safeguarding person: Carol Edwards, who can be contacted by telephone on internal phone number 227 (for students) or by email: email@example.com.
The college also insists that all staff, students and visitors wear a college ID lanyard and card for easy identification and visual checks to ensure that the correct people are in our buildings. These ID lanyards are to be worn at all times and access can only be obtained to the Palace Court and Palace Studios buildings using the swipe security within them.
How do I report an absence on behalf of my child/young person?
If you are a parent or guardian reporting an absence on behalf of a registered Plymouth College of Art student, please click here.
Please make sure you report absence on the day as retrospective absences cannot be corrected.
Can I contact a tutor to discuss the progress of my child/young person?
We are happy to hear from any parent or guardian wanting to discuss their child/young person's progress, and you can call or email our reception desk using the details below to arrange this. However we can only do this if your child/young person is under 18. If they are over 18 they will need to have given us consent to discuss their progress with you.
Palace Court Reception (Pre-Degree centre – also covers Palace Studios)
Phone: 01752 203448
Can I find out more about Learning and Disability Support at Plymouth College of Art?
GCSE English and Maths
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on 5 January 2021 that all GCSE and A-Level exams in England are cancelled in 2021. Since this announcement it has also been confirmed that students will be awarded a Centre Assessed Grade, putting trust in the teachers and not using an algorithm this year. We await further information to understand the finer details about how GCSEs will be assessed in 2021.
Functional Skills English and Maths exams
Although it has been announced that GCSE exams will not run this summer, Functional Skills is a vocational exam with different regulations. Therefore, we will need to await guidance on how to progress and we will continue with our current plans until we hear future updates.
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) expects schools to hold the exams scheduled in May as planned, however they have also made provision for centres to use calculated grades if in lockdown at the time.
We will host the first cycle of International Baccalaureate Career Programme exams in spring 2021. We are also planning to facilitate mindfulness and study skills workshops in the lead up to what will be a stressful and busy time for our IB students.
The IBO has already increased the weighting % of IB coursework* which will be marked by external examiners this year. They are continually monitoring the global situation but, for now, PCA and all national IB students are continuing to work towards the May exams.
*except ESS and Maths, where no changes have been made to the assessment structure.
- Friday 30th April 2021, 1.30pm - 3.00pm, IB Business Management Paper 1
- Monday 3rd May 2021, 9.30am - 11.30am, IB Business Management Paper 2
- Tuesday 4th May 2021, 1.30pm - 3.00pm, IB History Paper 1
- Tuesday 4th May 2021, 1.30pm - 3.00pm, IB History Paper 2
- Thursday 6th May 2021, 1.30pm - 3.00pm, IB Maths Paper 1
- Friday 7th May 2021, 9.30am - 11.30am, IB Maths Paper 2
- Monday 10th May 2021, 1.30pm - 4.00pm, IB English Literature (SL) Paper 1
- Monday 10th May 2021, 1.30pm - 4.00pm, IB English Literature (HL) Paper 1
- Tuesday 11th May 2021, 1.30pm - 3.00pm, IB Environmental Systems & Societies Paper 1
- Wednesday 12th May 2021, 1.30pm - 4.00pm, IB Environmental Systems & Societies Paper 2
- Wednesday 19th May 2021, 1.30pm - 4.00pm, IB Psychology (SL and HL) Paper 1
- Thursday 20th May 2021, 9.30am - 11.30am, IB Psychology (HL) Paper 2
UAL Level 2 Diploma, Extended Diploma and Foundation Diploma: End point assessments and External Moderation
UAL have confirmed that they are awaiting further clarification and guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual regarding Vocational and Technical Qualification (VTQ) assessments. Whilst working with the Federation of Awarding Bodies and other awarding organisations to seek this clarification on how UAL qualifications will be assessed in 2021, it is likely that colleges will be asked to complete Centre Assessed Grades once again, however we await formal clarification.
Information for Parents
Over the last three years we have been continually developing and improving on our Pre-Degree progression and careers provision. Our intention is to continually keep working towards college’s ethos of continual creative learning and social justice via the Pre-Degree Character project, whilst also driving toward 100% achievement of the Gatsby Career Benchmarks. The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of 8 guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges.
Parent and Guardians’ Evenings
Following on from Parents’ Evening events in early November 2020, the next round of events will be held late January and early February 2021. These will be held remotely, using either telephone, email or Google Meet for video calls. If you are a parent of a Pre-Degree student and you wish to attend, please book an appointment via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wednesday 27 January 2021, 4:30pm - 6:00pm: Parent and Guardians’ Evening for Extended Diploma and Level 2 students followed by a Progression Q&A Session - your chance to ask questions about university finance, student accommodation, the application process and what to expect from Higher Education.
- Wednesday 3 February 2021, 4:30pm - 6:00pm: Parent and Guardians’ Evening for International Baccalaureate and English and Maths students, followed by a Progression Q&A Session - your chance to ask questions about university finance, student accommodation, the application process and what to expect from Higher Education.
Information for Employers and other providers
Our college provides a number of qualifications including the International Baccalaureate Career Programme, we offer a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design course, a suite of 6 UAL Art and Design Extended Diploma courses including Graphics, Illustration and Game Arts, Film, Animation and Media Production, Production and Performance Arts, Photography, Fashion and Textiles and Art and Design and a Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design in Art and Design course.
Our students are able to engage with a number of work experiences from across a multitude of industrial sectors including: Construction, Engineering, Design and Technology, Visual Communication, Architectural design, Fashion, Media and Marketing, Radio as well as in the Public and Health sectors, which helps them to build upon new and existing skills to align these with professional practice and industry expectation.
Following a short Ofsted inspection on 23 and 24 May 2017, Plymouth College of Art's dedicated pre-degree campus was judged to be “good,” maintaining the outcome of the college’s previous inspection in May 2013.
In the face of developments in the structure and location of FE teaching at the college itself, and the changing educational and political landscape in the UK, this result is a significant recognition of the college’s ongoing commitment to pre-degree education as part of a continuum of creative learning and practice in the region.