International School of Creative Arts

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by International School of Creative Arts's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from International School of Creative Arts is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Students are encouraged
to push the boundaries of
Executive Director, Colin Kerrigan,
conducts a critique with students
Established in 2009, in association with University of the
Arts London (UAL), International School of Creative Arts
(ISCA) is now a fully independent and thriving school
for pre-university study in art and design. Based in south
Buckinghamshire, at ISCA’s heart lies the notion of “creativity
through skills”. ISCA develops talented creative individuals by
preparing them for the demands of further study and industry.
Executive Director Colin Kerrigan explains that ISCA provides
every student with the core skills and support they need to
realise their full creative and academic potential.
ISCA’s success has been achieved through careful development planning and
investment in key areas, in tandem with an enthusiasm for innovation and the
belief that true creative freedom is achieved by mastering the underlying skills
of one’s craft. We work to build relationships with industry professionals and
higher education institutions, so that students understand the expectations and
opportunities that lie ahead. We aim to be at the forefront of pre-university study
in art and design and to equip students, from diverse cultural backgrounds, with
the necessary technical and intellectual skills to progress to leading international
creative arts universities in both the UK and overseas.
Academic excellence
The learning environment at ISCA is entirely student-centric, intended to identify and
nurture students’ talents by supporting and encouraging meaningful engagement
in all creative activities. This allows skills to be improved, intellect to be developed
»Executive Director:
»Founded in 2009
»Based in Wexham, south
»Services: Fully independent
centre for pre-university study
in art and design, for students
aged 16 to 19
»No. of students: 85
»No. of staff: 25
International School
of Creative Arts
Highlighting best practice
and self-confidence to be built. It is
supported by our belief that students
should be taught in small groups, by
enthusiastic, highly talented staff,
who are committed to our values and
ideals. All of our staff have experience
teaching at A level and university level,
while they are all professionals in their
own field – our fashion teachers are
professional designers and our art
instructors are professional artists. We
also focus on continual professional
development for our staff, to ensure
they are up to date with best practice
and comfortable with our tutorial and
Portfolio development and
individual support
We are conscious of our responsibility
to prepare students for a future in
higher education, and therefore our
role includes ensuring that students
pass the mandatory examinations
and, crucially, for their progression to
university, prepare an incisive portfolio
of work to support their application.
The groundwork that we provide in
preparing students with transferable
skills for their future studies is equally
invaluable; inducting them in the
methodologies and academic practices
they will encounter, as well as preparing
them for the demands of higher
education. We achieve this, above
all, through a system of tutorials and
critiques, which are a primary form of
assessment at ISCA. These sessions help
students get a sense of where they are
in their development and, importantly,
to develop the resilience required to
give and receive feedback on their
work, a vital skill in the creative world.
Redefining art and design
An interdisciplinary approach
encourages students to redefine subject
boundaries and to make connections
between different areas of learning.
We hold that this provides the best
possible preparation for progression to
universities worldwide, as it deepens a
student’s understanding by permitting
them to revisit a concept or skill from
different perspectives, looking for the
new in the old, for the extraordinary
in the ordinary. Interdisciplinary study
also allows tutors to apply methods
and language from more than one
academic discipline to examine a
theme, issue, question, problem, topic
or experience.
Critical and creative thinking
Critical and creative thinking lies at the
heart of teaching at ISCA as it underpins
all art and design learning. As a core
skill, critical and creative thinking
gives students an understanding of
how to evaluate knowledge, clarify
concepts, consider alternatives and
solve problems. It encourages students
to think broadly and deeply, using
skills, reason, logic, resourcefulness
and imagination, all of which will stand
them in good stead both in higher
education and the world of work.
“Teaching is excellent
and focuses clearly on
the academic and career
needs of individual
students” ISI Report
June 2018
ISCA provides
every student
with the core
skills and
support they
need to realise
their full
creative and
A level plus
We have carefully considered the shape
of our curriculum so that it fulfils our
dual commitment to interdisciplinary
study and critical and creative thinking.
Students receive a broad understanding
of art, craft and design while also
gaining practical and creative skills using
a variety of materials and techniques.
In order to strengthen the curriculum,
we have introduced the OCR Level 3
Cambridge Technical Diploma in Art
& Design, which can accommodate
fine art, fashion textiles, graphic
communication and 3D design. The
diploma is structured to ensure that
emphasis is placed on the development
of core skills in each subject area.
This provides students with a strong
foundation, prior to the commencement
of A level studies in year 2. At A level,
we offer students varied combinations of
art and design subjects. Options include
critical and contextual studies, fine art,
graphic communication, fashion textiles
and 3D design. Maths is also available
for those students who require it.
In their second year, students are
also given the unique opportunity to
develop and hone their understanding
by spending one day a week at the
world-famous UAL Central Saint
Martins. This equips them with the
skills necessary to take the next step to
higher education, while expanding and
enriching their portfolio.
Academic support, which includes
targeted English language tuition and
the development of study skills, forms
an integral part of our curriculum.
We have also introduced a pre-A level
programme, a pathway for students
who lack the skill set required for A level
study, leading to the Cambridge iGCSE.
University progression
Our success in securing places for
our students at the best institutions
is notable. Over 98 per cent of
students go on to higher education
study, with the majority studying at
one of the UAL colleges – the largest
university for creative arts in Europe.
We also send a number of students
to London universities such as UCL
and Goldsmiths, while we have had
students study at Parsons in New York
and Paris.
The future
As we move forward, we aim to
continue to hone our approach, while
developing the methods that have
established our global reputation and
success. We will continue to innovate
and tackle issues in our unique way. By
continuously reflecting on our teaching
styles and following the lead of the
creative industry, we can ensure our
students achieve the most up-to-date
understanding of the creative sector.
We will continue to use cutting-edge
technology to further improve our
educational offerings and ensure
our students are at the forefront of
innovation in years to come. Based
25 minutes outside central London,
we will continue to capitalise on the
world’s most successful centre for the
creative industry through maintaining
links with outstanding institutions and
businesses. Our links give our students
as deep and broad an understanding
as possible, and our programmes offer
them an opportunity to study at some
of the best universities in the world.
Over 98 per
cent of students
go on to higher
education study,
with the
studying at one
of the UAL
colleges – the
largest university
for creative arts
in Europe
Students prepare an
incisive portfolio of
work to support their
university application

This article was sponsored by International School of Creative Arts. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister