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Arts Award qualification information

Arts Award is an exciting range of national qualifications, available at five levels and open to anyone aged up to 25. It nurtures young people's individual interests in arts and culture, building their confidence while equipping them with life skills for education and future employment. Arts Award evaluates the knowledge, understanding, creativity, communication, planning and review skills that young people develop through involvement in the arts, rather than assessing a specific artform skill level.

A key aspect of Arts Award's appeal is its flexibility. It recognises all art forms, from fashion to poetry, rapping to dance, sculpture to film, as well as arts administration and technical roles. It can be delivered in a wide range of arts education settings, from schools and colleges, to youth clubs and uniformed groups, to theatres, galleries, libraries and museums. Participants can also present evidence in any format they choose, including films, photographs, sketches, performances, blogs, diaries and interviews.

Four Arts Award levels – Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold – are recognised on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). The highest level, Gold, is worth 16 UCAS points towards a university or college application. There's also an introductory level, Discover, aimed at younger children.

Which level is right for the young people you work with?

If you're thinking about arts accreditation, bear in mind that Arts Award Discover and Explore qualifications are for learners up to the age of 25, with Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Awards open to those aged 11 to 25. The levels represent a system of progression, but there's no requirement to have passed a particular level to progress to the next. The list below gives an overview of ages and stages:

  • Arts Award Discover is designed for ages 5–9 (particularly Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2) but is open to anyone aged up to 25.
  • Arts Award Explore is designed for ages 7–11 (particularly upper Key Stage 2) but is open to anyone aged up to 25.
  • Bronze Arts Award is designed for ages 11–14 but is open to anyone aged 11 to 25. This qualification involves working at the same standard as GCSE grades D–G/3–1)
  • Silver Arts Award is designed for ages 14–16 but is open to anyone aged 11 to 25. This qualification involves working at the same standard as GCSE grades A*–C/9–4.
  • Gold Arts Award is designed for ages 16+ but is open to anyone aged 11 to 25. This qualification involves working at the same standard as an A Level.

Each level of Arts Award involves a mix of guided learning hours (GLH), led by an adviser or other adult, and independent learning hours (ILH). Together these add up to the suggested 'Total qualification time' (TQT). The actual amount of time needed to complete a qualification will depend on the skills and experience of each individual or group, so the assigned TQT is for guidance only.

The next table shows the approximate hours of learning required for each level of Arts Award. Click on the links in the first column to read the qualification specifications. Or take a look at the combined qualification specification for all levels.

Qualification Title
Title on registers and level
Qualification number
Guided learning hours (GLH)
Independent learning hours (ILH)
Total qualification time (TQT)
Not regulated
20 hours
Entry Level Award in the Arts (Entry 3)
25 hours
10 hours
35 hours
Level 1 Award in the Arts
40 hours
20 hours
60 hours
Level 2 Award in the Arts
60 hours
35 hours
95 hours
Level 3 Certificate in the Arts
90 hours
60 hours
150 hours

For further details, download the Arts Award qualification information.

Is Arts Award a funded qualification?

For information about Arts Award fees and funding, take a look at our costs page. Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award may form part of a publicly funded 16–19 study programme (or a 16–25 programme for learners with additional needs) in a school, college or workplace. Check for specific funding available on the Learning Aim Reference Service (LARS), or find further details in our qualification factsheet.

Arts Award can only be delivered in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Arts Award qualifications are regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) in England, CCEA Regulation in Northern Ireland and by Qualifications Wales. The awarding organisation is Trinity College London (TCL). Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England.

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