Diploma in Forwarding Upholstery Development

Verified and assessed by the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers

1 year/part-time The British School of Upholstered Furniture

Applications closed until 2020


Course Details

Diploma awarded by the British School of Upholstered Furniture, Verified and assessed by the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers

Course tutors: Gareth Rees, Gregory Cupitt-Jones and specialist guest lecturers

Start date: 6 September 2019

Contact days: One day a week (Friday), 9am-4.30pm with an hour for lunch

Contact hours: 260 hours

Venue: The British School of Upholstered Furniture, Unit 6, Manor Farm Barns, High Street, Nettlebed, Oxon, RG9 5DA.


Certificate type: Diploma

Duration: The course runs for one year part-time, through three terms from September to September, spread over 42 weeks:

  • Term 1  Sept 6- Dec 20 2019

  • Term 2  Jan 6- April 3 2020

  • Term 3  April 20- Sept 2020

Parking: Free on-site parking

Course contact: Gareth Rees

Enquiry email: schoolofupholsteredfurniture@gmail.com


Course fees: £3500 inc Vat

Accessibility: The school is located in a period building set over two floors. Disabled access is limited. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.*




Course Overview


Who the course is for: The course is aimed at those with traditional upholstery experience. It is technically an advanced course that could supplement learning for those who have finished or are about to finish the AMUSF diploma, or would be suitable for those who have enough basic grounding and want to forward their learning (see course requirements and application process for further details).

Course aims: The course aims to move both students’ skills and the trade into a more forward-thinking ideal, progressing contemporary use of traditional upholstery techniques in 21st century design, and enabling students to be creative while retaining strong historical foundations.

By the end of the course, and following a programme of historical and critical studies and research both theoretical and practical, students will have designed and created one new substantial piece of upholstered furniture to their own design, to the highest possible standards and design specifications, using traditional processes. Students will showcase their work and methods at an end of year show.

After the course students will have increased confidence, be able to make informed decisions regarding correct upholstery applications and have a greater understanding of professional practice opportunities for their future in the trade.

 This is the only course available verified and assessed by the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers.


Tutor statement

The main tenet of the course is to develop a good historical grounding in the development of techniques and to allow students to develop and apply their skills and knowledge in design theory, analytical thinking and the use of practical handskills. Students will create a new piece of furniture of their own design, unhindered by the ethics and honesty required when working on a pre-existing piece of historical furniture.

Throughout the year an examination board will meet and inspect work at four major stages. Marks will be given at each of these stages, so that at the end of the year an accumulative mark is awarded. We feel that it is essential that the foundation stages are included in assessment, as this thoroughly demonstrates a student’s development, choices and critical understanding of their work. The final piece will be supplemented by all practice pieces, notebooks, journals and a Viva Voce, along with a written dissertation or presentation on an area of furniture history.

We feel that this course will fill an essential gap in upholstery training in the UK. 

Gareth Rees



Course requirements


Participation/attendance: Students will be expected to attend the school one day per week on their allotted day during term time, with the aim of receiving all the contact hours allotted as scheduled. Students will need to participate actively in group tuition and exercises, and hand in work required at dates specified for the purposes of ongoing assessment, marking and verification.


Home study: A minimum of 12 hours a week home study, year round, is recommended in order to achieve the course aims. Self-initiated research into materials, techniques and design history is expected, and time given to develop practical work such as samples, testers and final pieces will be required outside of allotted contact hours.


Communication: Although the majority of credits are for practical work there are integral written elements to the study. Students’ written and spoken English needs to be of a sufficient level to make clear their understanding of their upholstery process for their Viva Voce and for their ‘Contextualised Report’. Students may choose to submit either a 5000-6500 word Dissertation or a 20 minute Presentation. Presentations can be either live, video or audio recording. The course is delivered in English.*


Additional course costs: Fees, plus cost of frame and materials used on final piece and samples. The school will set some practice pieces which are covered by course fees. Students to supply their own tools and materials.


Learner Agreement: At the beginning of the course all students will be asked to sign a Learner Agreement stating that they believe themselves able to complete the course at that time. Students are asked to impart openly any information that may affect their learning, so that tutors can adapt delivery according to those needs, offering appropriate support when required, to enable all students to complete the course to time and full potential. *



Non-discrimination policy  


*BSUF have a non-discrimination policy and will aim to make the course accessible to all learners whose work meets the application requirements. Differentiation of student needs will be considered and work adapted when required on a person by person basis.



Application process


Applicants should submit detailed pictures evidencing the upholstery process of one substantial piece of furniture which they have upholstered, a covering letter explaining their reason for application and a current CV.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview and assessment. Successful applicants will be offered a place (five places are available for the 2019 cohort). Unsuccessful applicants will be given feedback and guidance on how to further their skills and knowledge.

Application deadline: 20 July 2019

Interview date: End of July 2019

Application via email only: schoolofupholsteredfurniture@gmail.com





100 credits are available. The course is broken down into four assessed areas of course content: Practical Work; Contextualised Report; Design Assessment; and Research and Development. All four modules must be submitted for assessment in order to complete the course.

Assessment of student Practical Work is marked at three key stages throughout terms 2 and 3 (50 credits). Students are expected to document their Research and Development throughout the course and this is marked at the end (30 credits) along with a Contextualised Report (10 credits) and Design Assessment (10 credits).


The marks available are: Pass 50-59 %; Credit 60- 69%; Merit 70-79%; and Distinction 80% and above.

Verification: All assessed content is verified by independent upholstery professionals and two course tutors. All practical work is assessed by a panel of five.

A PDF of the course overview is available here.  PDF Download of course overview

The British School of Upholstered Furniture

Address: Unit 6, Manor farm barns, High street, Nettlebed, Oxon RG95DA

01491 641385

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