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Head of Faculty: L.Fozard

View examples of students’ work in our Visual Arts Gallery HERE

This is a linear A level, a two year course with all examinations and assessment at the end of the second year; there are no AS examinations.

We aim to provide and portray a lively, challenging and happy environment in which students can learn and explore, where students are encouraged to break new boundaries in terms of their own personal development.  The department encourages diversity and celebrates other cultures.  Most of the teaching is initially group based but emphasis is placed on weekly one-to-one discussion with staff, allowing us to give pertinent direction and guidance in the use of media and resources.

Course Content

Year 12 and 13 Course Content (A Level where applicable pre-reform)

Students will learn how to convey and interpret ideas, feelings and meanings into their photography work, recording experiences and observations mainly in visual form. Students will explore, discuss and evaluate images, themes and artefacts and use their understanding to develop and realise the full potential of their ideas through their photography work. Students will be encouraged to participate in all aspects of photography such as visits to art galleries, museums and exhibitions. All work will be assessed against the AQA Art and Design (Photography) criteria. You will also have educational visits to a variety of places to explore themes and generate a variety of images from your given starting point.

Students will develop practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of relevant techniques, processes, technologies and resources. They will learn how to convey and interpret ideas, feelings and meanings into photographic work, recording experiences and observations mainly in visual form. Students will explore, discuss and evaluate ideas, through still shots and moving film, using their understanding to develop and realise the full potential of their ideas through the techniques of Photography. All work will be assessed against the AQA Art and Design syllabus.

Entry Requirements

It would be of benefit for students wishing to join this course to have a grade in Art GCSE of at least a C, though this is not essential. We are also looking for students who are keen to experiment and try new things, as well as working with a wide variety of materials. A portfolio of either photography or art work will be required on application to assess your suitability. This should include a selection of photography (minimum of 10 photos).


100% of Advanced GCE: You will produce a portfolio of work for your coursework and Component 1 portfolio and Component 2, externally set assignment.

Component 1: Personal Investigation

–  60% of the full A Level
–  Internally set and marked
–  Externally moderated
–  Work required: Work journals, coursework, final piece/s and a 1500 word personal study

The first section of the component aims to give you the opportunity to develop new skills and refine skills that you already have. We aim to stretch and challenge, taking you out of your comfort zone whilst researching a variety of artists and photographers. Later on you will develop your own creative ideas and personal interests in a chosen area of art and design, building on the work and skills developed throughout the first year. We will encourage you to find an independent and relevant style that allows you to express yourself fully. You will also be asked to respond to a variety of sources that can further inform and influence your developing practical skills and knowledge. Support and guidance will be given throughout with weekly tutorials.

Making connections to the work of others forms a fundamental part of your understanding and we will encourage you to visit galleries and exhibitions locally and further afield. This becomes more and more important as your work develops and you start to sustain ideas, use of media and evaluate the impact that the work of others has had on your own. You will conclude with a written piece of work that will run alongside your practical explorations and final pieces. You will use sketchbooks to present your work around themes such as landscape, experimental photography and portraiture.

Component: Externally set exam from the Exam board.

–  40% of the full A Level
–  Externally set
–  Externally moderated

This is different from Component 1 as this component is set by the exam board and takes the form of a question with a theme to explore. Past exam themes have included; objects and objectivity, how water has been expressed in textile work and exploration of techniques used by specific cultures.

By this stage in the course, your confidence will have grown and your skills will have developed, enabling you to develop your own personal and creative direction. You will be asked to produce a body of work that not only means something to you but demonstrates fully your understanding of the processes and practices of photography and film to communicate your own ideas, thoughts and feelings. During a preparatory period of around 10 weeks, you will work though the creative process whilst continuing to make connections to the work of others. This will culminate in a final piece being produced in 15 hours under exam conditions. 

Financial Information

There is a cost of £20 to cover printing Students should have their own basic digital camera. It would also be of benefit if students had have their own SLR or Bridge Camera.

The Academy will not charge for books, materials, equipment and instruction in connection with the National Curriculum or Statutory Religious Education taught at school, except where parents have indicated in advance their wish to purchase the product.

Exam Charging Policy:

–  Students with less than 85% attendance may, under the discretion of the Sixth Form Office, be asked to pay for their exam entry.

–  Exam resits that are made at the request of the post 16 students will be charged at full price.

–  When it is not possible to obtain a refund, full price will be charged to students for:

    –  the Summer Exam entry, if they withdraw from the subject after 20 April.
    –  non-attendance at an exam without good reason.

BTEC students, who leave the Academy prior to the conclusion of the course, will be charged £50.

Future Opportunities

Photography has a huge array of job opportunities through self employed as a freelance Photographer, Media, Fashion, Graphic Design, Advertising, and Retail display.


Further Information

Study at A2 demands a great deal of time spent working in addition to the weekly lessons and home learning, this must be taken into consideration when choosing this subject.