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A Level 1 and 2 Art and Design Q&A with Jess Broad, Suffolk New College

two clay tiles, the left shows a face with blue hair, the right is abstract turquoise and red pattern
two clay tiles, the left shows a face with blue hair, the right is abstract turquoise and red pattern
Artwork by Level 1 and 2 Art and Design students at Suffolk New College
Written by
Jess Broad, Lecturer and Teacher Development Coach at Suffolk New College
Published date
26 November 2021

Jess Broad has worked as a Lecturer at Suffolk New College (SNC) for 12 years across all levels of Art & Design. Nowadays, Jess focuses solely on Level 1 Art and Design and Level 1 Media which Suffolk New College run as specialist pathways.

“I started my role delivering BTEC courses, however it wasn’t long after that SNC started to switch over to UAL courses, starting with the original Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. I first heard about the courses when we started offering them and the excitement that went with delivering courses that gave tutors the freedom to deliver more engaging lessons and content.”

As a creative practitioner herself, Jess has interests in textiles, printmaking, drawing and illustration, which she uses to fuel her teaching at Level 1, as well as exploring an even wider variety of practices with students. Alongside her teaching, Jess is a Teacher Development Coach, supporting other staff with their teaching, planning and assessment. She is also an External Moderator for UAL Awarding Body.

As a tutor what do you enjoy about delivering the Level 1 and 2 Art and Design qualifications and in what ways does it allow you to explore your role as an educator?

When I chose to only teach Level 1 Art (Media wasn’t in the same area at that point) it was because I knew that my passions lie with supporting students who need more than just the art education - they need a confidence-boosting, positive experience of education that they probably haven’t had previously.

I had been teaching some entry-level skills for lifestyle courses at that time and got so much reward from working with students with additional needs that I was happy to focus my teaching on those students. I am the only tutor that delivers Level 1 Art and I find that really helps my students because they have that consistency of delivery, and they know my expectations when it comes to their behaviour and attitude.

It also means I can really get to know my students well, so I am able to tailor the way I work with them to their needs, which often includes diagnosed conditions like ASD, anxiety and depression. I really enjoy that I can give those students a positive start to their college education that they then take to higher-level courses (my students typically progress to Level 2 qualifications).

The UAL Level 1 and 2 Art and Design qualifications are entry-level qualifications. What type of student would be suitable for a qualification at this level?

As mentioned above, I tend to get students who have additional needs or students who have had a negative experience of school. For example, something has led to them not being able to attend classes or maybe they haven’t been able to do their exams. I regularly have students’ that progress from our Inclusive Learning Department as well as those who have studied Entry Level 2 or Entry Level 3 courses before specialising in Art.

I am happy to accept any students who have an interest in art because I know that they will get everything else they need while studying the course. I find Level 1 and Level 2 courses really put the students on a level footing with each other which helps their confidence from the start. They may have been in mixed ability classes at school and felt left out because they weren’t high academic achievers. On Level 1 and Level 2 courses they have that shared experience, so it makes them feel more equal with each other.

I also regularly have students who speak English as a second language and have studied ESOL courses before coming to the Level 1 courses. These students require other adaptations to delivery such as visual examples and alternative ways to record their descriptions or reflections on their work. We often record discussions instead of expecting these students to always write.

What are the benefits of studying Level 1 and 2 Art and Design qualifications?

There are so many benefits to studying at Level 1 and Level 2. Students who are less confident get a safe space to work in and get used to the processes we use on art courses before moving to the fast-paced and deeper thinking required of the Level 3 course. They are great introduction courses to Art for a student who may not have been able to study Art during school, which is sadly becoming more common now. They also give students tasters of different specialisms that they may want to choose on higher-level courses in the future.

How do these qualifications prepare students for the next stage of education and life in the creative industries?

As I said in the previous question, these courses act like an introduction or a building block to develop more specialist skills or in-depth thinking skills within art. The processes we take the students through with each unit reflects the way they would work in a job in the creative industries, and at Suffolk New College we regularly incorporate work-related projects to get students used to working to briefs or in a way that reflects professional environments.

Why should centres deliver UAL Level 1 and 2 Art and Design qualifications?

There are always going to be students who need that extra support with their maths and English, their confidence and sometimes a slower pace to help them achieve. Level 1 and Level 2 courses give them just that and allow them to follow their passions in art and design that they may not be able to explore otherwise.

The reward you get from seeing these students learn, improve, and gain confidence is why we teach in the first place, I think. Art and Design should be accessible to anyone that wants to do it because it changes lives, I know that - my students tell me so.

Why should centres looking to deliver these qualifications attend this event? (What will you be discussing as a speaker)

Good question! I’ve worked with Level 1 and Level 2 students for 12 years, so I know these students and the huge reward you get from working with them. I’m super passionate about these courses and the students I teach, I’m told you get that from my personality so hopefully, you’ll be engaged and inspired by my own experiences. I’ll be talking about the projects I deliver, how I work with challenging students and those with additional needs, how I deliver a whole qualification on my own and probably some anecdotes! I love supporting fellow tutors as well as students so I really hope people will get something from my talk!

Hear from Jess and other tutors and students of our Level 1 and 2 qualifications at our Spotlight event on 7 December.

Book your place below.