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When NEC student Rosa decided to give herself a second chance at further education, it was not for lack of success the first time round. She had achieved 11 GCSEs and 3 A levels with good grades, “so from an objective data point of view, it was positive”. At the same time, however, she hadn’t really had the opportunity to pause and think about what she really wanted:

“The system didn’t give me the space I needed to realise what subjects and kinds of study were right for me, which left me feeling quite disenchanted and let down by my studies at A level.”

A keen artist, Rosa found NEC after a recommendation from “a very trusted art history teacher.” She wanted to have another go at finding fulfilment through learning, and also broaden the options available to her for university. She enrolled on the NEC A level History of Art course in October 2020. 

The change in subject matter accompanied a welcome change in approach: Rosa had never studied by distance learning before, but found that the flexibility of the course made it easier to manage her own time effectively and motivate herself to work. Exchanging emails and talking on the phone with her tutor enriched her experience and kept it “grounded in a personal relationship”, while she advises any students thinking of following the same path to take themselves on field trips to see for themselves the different artworks covered in the course. 

“Lots of my A level experience involved self-doubt and having to find ways beyond grades and academic success to value myself and what I have to offer. Studying at NEC gave me a chance to restore my confidence at my own pace on my own terms, for which I will be forever grateful.” 

Rosa is now going on to study for a BA in Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol, specialising in Art History with the long-term goal of completing an MA in a fine arts subject. “If I ever need to further my education independently at any point in my life, I will definitely come back to NEC!” she says. 


Our A level History of Art course has been one of our most popular courses. You can read further blog posts about it here:

  • Dr Leah Clark, Senior Lecturer in Art History at the Open University, explores the importance of studying Art History and the transferable skills that it teaches
  • Daisy’s case study demonstrates the importance of studying to expand her own contextual knowledge as a newly qualified Arts and Design teacher. 
  • Aasha found that studying History of Art A level as a teacher helped to both improve her teaching and benefit her students. 
  • Sarah’s story shows that History of Art can help progress even a fully-fledged career.

Interested in studying A level History and History of Art? Take a look at our bundle deals on A levels here.

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