A Level

Art and Design or Photography A Level

Art and Design:

Edexcel Specification (A Level 9AD0 or just AS 8AD0)

‘Creativity is a function of leadership. It requires navigating uncharted territory and having the courage to face adversity to bring your vision into fruition’

Linda Naiman

What is this subject about?

Art at A Level is about developing an adventurous approach to your practical skills and ideas. You will gain a deeper understanding of past and contemporary art, crafts and design in order to produce thought provoking work, within sketchbooks and on a large scale. The course is designed and assessed to document your thought processes and show a journey of ideas, portrayed with various creative media.

You will build upon your strengths from the Art GCSE, developing skills which support your studies in every subject. You will improve your ability to research and analyse information, solve problems, find, and understand links and connections which will result in creative personal outcomes. Painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, computer-aided design, animation, film, textiles and life-drawing are amongst the most common media employed, but candidates are encouraged to introduce any media they feel necessary to their work.

What do you need to know before taking this course and what kind of student is this course suitable for?

The course is suitable for students who have achieved the minimum of a ‘B’ grade for GCSE Art. If you think you want to do any Art, Architecture or Design-related subject in higher education you must take Art at A level as these university courses require you to show an Art portfolio as part of the application process. Art can also be one of the subjects you take at A level because you enjoy it and because it compliments your other choices to show you are well rounded. It can be taken as an AS if you want to do it for just one year, although this can not be converted in to an A Level, if you change your mind you will need new work for the A level.

“We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted…it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, less expensively.”

Annette Byrd, GlaxoSmithKline

What will I learn on this course?

Unit 1: Coursework - Body Language

This project is based on a personal response to changing themes such as 'Body Language'. You will go through a series of skills based workshops before developing your ideas in to a final piece. There will be at least one trip to a gallery or museum and a workshop both usually in London and occasionally abroad to places such as Paris or Barcelona.

Unit 2: Externally set exam theme

After initial research into a general theme (a past paper set by the exam board for A level or an exam theme set for AS level by the exam board) the focus of the exam project is chosen by you with teacher support. You can develop your personal interests tailored to university applications and use the materials you wish to develop your skills within.

Unit 3: Coursework – Practical work and personal study (essay)

This involves an in-depth critical study of your choice on a theme within the field of Art and Design. You also produce a written essay of a minimum of 1000 words plus practical support work. There will be at least one trip to a gallery and museum and a workshop usually in London and occasionally abroad.

Unit 4: Externally set exam theme

The theme is set by the exam board but you can develop it to suit your interests and tailor it to your degree subject if desired. The aim is to extend your personal interests and skills with processes of your choice to places such as Paris or Barcelona.


How is this course assessed?

The course is made up of coursework and exam projects. There are no written exams, although you are expected to support your practical work with critical appraisal including an essay for the second year of the A level. For the AS, or first year of the A level, there is a 10 hour exam to make the final piece. Then for the second year of the A Level there is a 15 hour exam for the final piece. As with GCSE Art there is an exhibition at the end of each year to show off your work to family and friends. Your work is marked by the Art teachers and then by external moderators during the exhibition. Usually students taking this subject get excellent results and find the course very rewarding.


How will this course benefit me in the future?

You can use the portfolio you will have created to continue your Art studies at degree level, opting for a wide range of courses available nationally, with Architecture being a popular choice. It is also popular to complete a one-year 'foundation' course and then to study a more specialist three-year degree course. This course will help you in all areas of study by improving your creativity, flexibility, research and problem-solving skills.





Edexcel Specification (A Level Photography 9PY0 or AS Photography 8PY0)

 “You dont take a photograph, you make it.Ansel Adams (American Photographer)

 What is this subject about?

 Photography has been used by practitioners to record, document and present examples of everyday life, in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. It has also been used as the vehicle for artistic expression, communicating personal ideas about the world around us. It is used to convey personal identity more widely than any other art form, is applied in the creative process across art, craft and design and is widely used in social, commercial and scientific contexts.

 The development of affordable lens-based technology has changed the way that both professionals and the public use photography.  The Photography A Level includes works in film, video, digital imaging and light-sensitive materials. Specific techniques and processes will be used to convey messages and create works related to other disciplines, such as web-based animations, photographic images in printed journals, and light projections within theatrical or architectural spaces.

 Students will learn to define their image before it has even been taken by scouting locations and by planning a shot around specific weather conditions or time of day, using filters, lighting, reflectors, props, makeup, or backgrounds to control each element within the frame. Students will learn to consider the application and implications of new and emerging technologies that can be used in conjunction with traditional and digital photography materials.

 Students will become familiar with contemporary and emerging concepts and learn how to analyse and critically evaluate photography, demonstrating an understanding of purposes, meanings and contexts.

 Students are required to develop practical and theoretical knowledge including:

      the operations and principles of creating a photographic image, including the use of available and controlled light, lenses, cameras and light-sensitive materials, including digital and non-digital

    a range of materials used in photography, including print and screen-based materials

    how the formal elements evoke responses in the viewer

    the processes for production of digital and print-based photographs

    methods of presentation of photographic images

    sustainable materials and production processes in the construction of work

    the potential of collaborative working methodologies in the creative process.

  Digital Photography Focus

 Students will develop integrated knowledge, skills and understanding of the following:

     the principles of digital photography, including the pixel and digital processing

    viewpoint, white balance, composition, focus, aperture, shutter speed, exposure, shooting modes, histograms

    the use and qualities of image acquisition hardware and software, image manipulation and analogies between digital and other forms of photography

    the relationships between colour and tone for screen and print-based media, screen calibration, colour gamut, file formats such as raw, jpeg, tiff, png

    the use of a range of source material, software and hardware in the generation and development of ideas.

 What do you need to know before taking this course and what kind of student is this course suitable for?

 You do not need to have taken GCSE Art or Photography previously but this may help. You need to be prepared to work creatively, showing development of your ideas and documentation of each piece of work in your sketchbook. You will need to be prepared to develop technical photography skills. It is not an easy option, it is for students with a passion for photography.

 It is advised that you have your own DSLR camera although the Art Department does have some equipment which may be borrowed.

 How is the course structured and assessed?

 60% Coursework

You will be given a broad theme and teacher directed workshops which you will then develop in to personal projects. There is one written personal study, which is a minimum of 1000 words and worth 12% of the coursework. There are four clear assessment objectives to meet.

 40% Externally set exam

You will work on an exam project from February to May on a theme set by the exam board. You must then make a related final piece within 15 hours over two to three days in May. As with the coursework there are four clear assessment objectives to meet.

 How will this course benefit me in the future?

 You could use your Photography portfolio to get on to an Art Foundation Course or a relevant degree. This course will help you in all areas of study by improving your creativity, flexibility, research and problem-solving skills. You will also be able to take excellent photographs which will be useful throughout your life.