Student Support

At the Academy we want to support you for every step of your journey with us. High levels of support and guidance are an integral part of the Academy’s ethos and are designed to help you from first enquiry to the completion of your studies.

The small scale of the institution is advantageous to the provision of student support. It fosters a close community of staff and students where students feel safe and able to seek advice and guidance from a variety of staff.

Please note that the information contained below and within the signposted policies apply to students studying at the Academy on an ‘Academic’ programme of at least 180 hours per academic year. Whilst those studying less than 180 hours on ‘Public’ courses are valued members of the Academy community and therefore afforded the same rights to equality of experience, in regards to quality of provision, safeguarding and expectations of treatment as laid out in our Equality and Diversity principles, these students do not fall under these polices and guidance (or any other) in respect of the Academy’s duty of care to them pastorally.

Please note the following information does not apply to Certificate students. For more information about pastoral support for Certificate students, please see the Certificate Student Handbook and Programme Handbook for details.

You will be allocated a Personal and Academic Tutor (PAT) at the beginning of your period of study at the Academy. You will retain the same PAT throughout studies, except where staff changes prevent this.

These tutorials provide opportunities for you to review Personal Development and Planning (PDP) and seek guidance on academic matters; they are centred around discussions about your academic progress and advice on your choice of Elective Skills Workshops for the following term. These tutorials are also used to discuss pastoral, personal, academic and administrative issues, and to monitor and discuss your targets and general wellbeing. Through these tutorials, PATs provide personalised and consistent support throughout your journey at the Academy, helping to ensure you maximise your opportunities and achievements. Your PAT will be able to refer you to appropriate support services (external and internal) where appropriate.

There are a mixture of group and 1-2-1 tutorials. This will usually be up to 6 times a year (7 for newly enrolled students), including meeting your PAT at least once per term 1-2-1.

For more information please see our Student Support & Guidance Including Tutoring Policy.

Please note the following information does not apply to Certificate students

As part of the Academy’s commitment to widening participation, accessible learning and inclusive arts education a number of bursaries are made available each year in order to assist applicants who would not normally be in a position to study at the Academy. We have a limited number of bursaries (typically 25%) available for students starting their programme in September 2019. Applicants must have been offered a place before submitting a bursary application. The bursary application form can be found here.

Please complete this form and email it to [email protected]. Bursaries are awarded based on need and merit. Bursary applicants will be informed of the decision after the application process is complete.

You will have access to pastoral care throughout your time at the Academy enabling you to seek support for any personal concerns or issues you might have. Please see the ‘Personal & Academic Tutorials’ above.

The Academic Team provide support in conjunction with PATs and Programme/Pathway Leaders for students who may be feeling the pressures of studying. Support is provided by offering confidential advice and referral to external services where appropriate.

You are able to come to the team for issues including:

  • Financial assistance & funding
  • Learning skills development support
  • Monitoring and reviewing progress
  • Careers guidance and support
  • Guidance on extra-curricular activities
  • Advice on further study
  • Assistance for students with disabilities, specific learning difficulties, SEN and other needs
  • Counselling & mental health issues (via external support agencies)
  • Accommodation
  • General welfare advice (travel, part time work, local GP services, external support agencies)

On joining the Academy you are provided information on external student accommodation services, local GP services and other information to enable you to settle fully into student and London life. Please see the Student Life section of our website for more information.


You are fully inducted to the Academy upon enrolment and provided with the opportunity to take part in cross college artistic and social events as part of freshers activities in order to help you integrate into the Academy community. The Academic team and student council also organise other events throughout the academic year in order to maintain and develop your sense of belonging and strengthen the community at the heart of the Academy.


Your mental health is important and our staff and tutors will do their best to look after your well-being, so that if you have difficulties they will be available either to help you themselves, where possible, or to advise you to who to talk to.

If you raise a problem with your PAT (Personal and Academic Tutor ), Programme/Pathway leader, tutor or member of the Academic Team, they will listen carefully and respectfully and offer support. We will keep information confidential, except where sharing it will aid the Academy in referring you to someone who can help.

We will always aid you in finding an appropriate service and may direct you to our wellbeing service, operated by CareFirst. Through this service students can access a range of online wellbeing resources and online and in-person counselling.


All members of Art Academy London’s community, including vulnerable/protected groups should be free to work, learn and develop their potential without fear of violence, abuse or exploitation within the Academy environment, irrespective of their age, gender, disability, racial origin, religion, belief and sexual orientation; they will be valued and their rights to protection and safety fully respected. Safeguarding is accorded utmost priority at AAL. Our safeguarding policy can be found here.

We value the rich diversity of our students, staff and alumni, which is fundamental to our character. This diversity informs our teaching and learning and our employment practices, producing both inspired practitioners and leading professionals. We value diversity and  recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture, and that this difference brings great strength to an institution such as ours. We recognise that patterns of under-representation and differences in outcomes at the Academy can be challenged through positive action programmes. We respect the rights of individuals, including the right to hold different views and beliefs. We will not allow these differences to be manifested in a way that is hostile or degrading to others.


In order to uphold these values and to sustain an accessible and inclusive environment for all students we will:

  • Celebrate the diversity of our community, recognising that it is integral to our success.
  • Comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and demonstrate our compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty, which requires us to have due regard to the 3 principles outlined in the introduction of this document.
  • Challenge and address inequality, by prohibiting unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation as defined in the Equality Act 2010; in relation to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex (gender) and sexual orientation, whether such a characteristic is actual, perceived, or by association. This applies to all stages of the student and staff ‘lifecycles’ and to our engagement with service users, suppliers and external parties.
  • Take seriously any allegation of breach of this policy and investigate it taking action via our disciplinary procedures, where necessary.
  • Embed our Equality and Diversity principles in all our policies, strategies and processes, through active consultation with students and staff, and evaluation of the potential and actual impact.

For more information please download our Equality & Diversity Policy

Students or applicants who declare a disability, specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), long term health condition or mental health disability are asked to complete a ‘Student Declaration and Identification of Support Needs’ form at enrolment. This is in addition to the declaration requested at application and is intended to ensure the capture of information needed to ensure a safe and successful educational career at the Academy. A member of the Academic team subsequently contacts the student to discuss their individual support requirements and agree actions, which are made available to relevant tutors and support staff, informing them of any services and adjustments required.


Art Academy London welcomes students with Special Educational Needs subject to being able to support their individual needs. Our SEND Coordinator has overall responsibility both for their welfare and for enabling them to access the curriculum successfully during their time at the Academy. A bespoke programme of elective skills workshops will be mapped for each student if necessary, and alternative assessment models employed where appropriate in order to provide a parity of opportunity with non SEN students. The SEND Coordinator will act as PAT and first point of contact for all SEN students. The SEND Coordinator and Academic Team also ensure that all other tutors working with an individual student with Special Educational Needs are appraised of the needs of that student, and understand what, if anything, they need to do to support the student and his or her learning.

For more information, or if you have any questions about how we can support your specific needs please speak to a member of the Academic Team.


The Academy is committed to supporting accessible learning and welcomes students with disabilities. Good accessibility practices and the needs of disabled students in academic provision are reviewed on a case by case basis, with all reasonable adjustments such as the re-timetabling of studios and alternative assessment arrangements considered in order to provide services and equal educational opportunities to the individual student or applicant.


Art Academy London will make reasonable adjustments for applicants with a physical or mobility impairment in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. The Academy’s premises are old buildings which inevitably means that access to some areas can be problematic for people with a physical disability. However, work carried out on our main Mermaid Court building over the last few years means that we can accommodate most students with physical disabilities on academic programmes. Where necessary, we will make appropriate arrangements to mitigate any accessibility issues such as rescheduling of classes, workshops, tutorials, lectures and other events to spaces within the main building of Mermaid Court, which is wheelchair accessible. It may also include the provision of facilities to undertake classes and workshops in techniques and processes outside of the dedicated space in which they normally occur (i.e. printmaking) and individual provision of facilities such as storage spaces, where these are normally in unaccessible areas. The library is currently inaccessible to wheelchair users and alternative arrangements are in place for students with mobility issues to access the library resources.

Some of our buildings will remain inaccessible for the foreseeable future (our second building at Mermaid Court). Further improvements are planned to ensure we have appropriate buildings and facilities in the future; we are committed to improving access to all our buildings and are working towards making all areas of our campus fully accessible to all.

Applicants and potential applicants who have mobility difficulties or any other special needs should speak to us and/or arrange to visit the Academy, before completing the application process, to discuss their needs so that they can make an informed decision as to whether the Academy is able to provide an appropriate environment for their studies.

For more information, or if you have any questions about how we can support your specific needs please speak to a member of the Academic Team.


Portable induction loops can be provided during open days, interview and in teaching spaces for those who require them.


If you have another disability, specific learning difficulty, health, or mental health difficulty, we strongly encourage you to contact us to talk about options for support.

Central to the Academy’s ethos is enabling you to become a practising artists. You are encouraged to set goals, develop your skills and review progress through personal developmental planning (PDP). PDP is embedded within our Diploma programmes in the form of Professional Development modules, which provide opportunities to identify and action next steps in planning your career as professional artists and also incorporating reviews of the skills you develop through study into this process. Progress and long-term goals are discussed and recorded through 1-2-1 sessions with staff and tutors and you are invited to reflect on progress and plan your progression through tutorials with your PAT.

Although the Academy does not have a dedicated careers service or advice and guidance department, career and education advice is embedded within  programmes in the form of Professional Development modules which provide opportunities to identify and action next steps in planning your career as a professional artist. This is supported through the artistic tutorial system. Some career guidance is additionally undertaken by the Academic team and you have the opportunity to seek further advice from guest tutors and speakers where relevant.