Fine Arts College

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Fine Arts College
Centre Studios
41-43 Englands Lane


Coordinates51°32′48″N 0°09′53″W / 51.5467°N 0.1646°W / 51.5467; -0.1646Coordinates: 51°32′48″N 0°09′53″W / 51.5467°N 0.1646°W / 51.5467; -0.1646
TypeIndependent school
Established1978 (1978)
Department for Education URN100084 Tables
PrincipalMs Candida Cave
Age13 to 19

Fine Arts College is an Independent school and sixth form in Belsize Park, London, founded in 1978 by artists Candida Cave and Nicholas Cochrane.[1] It averages around 200 students at any time; the majority are A-level students with roughly 40 students at GCSE. The school offers over 25 A-level subjects in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The college also offers a Portfolio Course specifically designed for post-A level students wishing to apply either for an Art Foundation course or direct entry to a degree course at university or art school.

The Principal is Candida Cave MA, CFA Oxon, and the Vice-Principals are Edmund Knox, MPhil London, MA Oxon and Margaret Park, BA Sussex.


The College was founded in 1978 by artists Nicholas Cochrane and Candida Cave and was originally located in the YMCA on Tottenham Court Road, teaching just History of Art and Art. By 1982; the College had relocated to Belsize Park and expanded its curriculum to cover the core academic subjects. In 1994, the College opened its GCSE department, and in 2002 the College moved into Centre Studios, which remains its main site today.

The College became part of the Dukes Education Group in 2015.[2]

In 2018, Fine Arts introduced Fine Arts School, for students in Years 9-11.[3] Fine Arts School offers a full-time curriculum in creative as well as academic fields.

Academic Performance[edit]

The College offers a broad curriculum of over 25 A-level subjects in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as 15 subjects at GCSE. Students entering Year 9 at the School will be introduced to a broad academic curriculum including English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies, and a choice of a foreign language. Fine Arts also runs a Portfolio course for which students are free to experiment across the four Arts courses offered.

Fine Arts College is considered one of London’s most successful non-selective independent colleges. In 2017 76% of GCSE results were A*-C and 68% of A level results were A*-C.[4] The College consistently ranks exceptionally highly for 'value added' between GCSE and A-level.[5]

The College’s teaching style is “relaxed but enthusiastic” and centered around group discussion with class sizes averaging eight and rarely surpassing ten.[6] Ofsted’s latest report noted that “Teachers’ excellent subject knowledge and expertise engage and inspire students” encouraging them to “offer their ideas and respond to challenges with great enthusiasm” while expecting “high levels of independence, creativity, and concentration”.[7]


Today the College operates across three separate sites all within about 200 yards of one another and all located between Belsize Park, Chalk Farm and Swiss Cottage tube stations. The main site, Centre Studios, was originally a Victorian Dairy. Today it houses the academic departments as well as the Fine Art, Graphics, Music, Music Technology, Media, Textiles, Film Studies, and Drama studios. The two other sites consist of the Photography building, and Lambolle Place, the Social Science department.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Tutors in the Media[edit]

In the media[edit]

Kayvan Novak played the part of 'Brian Badonde', challenging Nicholas Cochrane to an art duel for the series Facejacker.[citation needed]

Gideon Summerfield, an artist with ambition.

Former Belsize Park pupils to launch UK’s first anti-FGM billboard advertising campaign

Absolutely Education interview the principle Candida Cave in the Spring 2018 issue. (p. 72-75) [9]


External links[edit]