AN art and design course at a North-East university has been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

In its first inspection of Sunderland University’s foundation diploma in art and design, based at the National Glass Centre, Ofsted gave the course its highest rating.

The University was praised for helping course students achieve “exceptionally well” and for a culture of “high expectation.”

Loading article content

Inspectors also noted “excellent” progression rates to specialist degree courses and said teaching was “highly effective,” while rigorous assessments helped students improve and develop their talents.

The Ofsted report added students have good opportunities to work alongside experienced artists and to develop excellent practical and technical skills.

The report singled out the university’s use of its National Glass Centre facilities for particular praise, explaining students benefit substantially from the location and high-profile reputation and status the centre enjoys.

“Students benefit from excellent facilities and specialist equipment to support their practical and academic work,” said the report.

“Extensive library and specialist reference collections significantly enhance students’ research and project development. The virtual learning environment supports and extends learning well, including wide-ranging subject specific resources as well as materials and guidance to support their academic writing skills,” it added.

There are currently more than 50 students on the foundation programme at National Glass Centre. It’s a tradition of Higher Education in this country that Art and Design students do a Foundation year to explore different elements of their practice, which is part of a diagnostic approach to deciding which specialism within Art and Design they choose to elect to study at undergraduate level for the next three years.

The University was also commended for access students had to “outstanding” resources, modern technology and activities arranged for students, which included visits to local and national museums and study trips abroad.

Judith Hills, associate dean, said she was thrilled with the report’s conclusions: “We are really proud our foundation course has been rated outstanding in all three aspects, making it the most highly rated in the region.

“It is confirmation of what we believed: that the teaching from experienced academics and professional artists in the inspirational surroundings of the National Glass Centre makes this course unique.”

The students work can be viewed at their end of year show on Thursday, May 29 at 6.30pm in National Glass Centre and all are welcome.