Art & Design - Fine Art

Arts, Media and Publishing

Arts, Media and Publishing
Arts, Media and Publishing
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What will you be working towards?

Code Ar02
Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


Why study this subject?

The A Level course in art and design – fine art has been designed to encourage an adventurous and enquiring approach. Successful students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of past and contemporary art and design practice and be able to produce artworks that embrace a range of ideas. Drawing is an essential part of the course, explored and developed through a range of media, including specialist access to and tuition in the use of our impressive printmaking facilities. In order to encourage independent study beyond the scheduled classes, the department contains within it a Sixth Form Studio area in which students can display imagery, work and access the resources available in the department without the need for supervision.

The fine art course we offer encourages students to work as individual practising artists – developing their own ideas as creatively and thoroughly as possible through the exploration of both conventional and unconventional techniques and processes. In addition to the more traditional resources, the department has its own printmaking studio, textiles equipment and digital media including an iMac, an iPad and a graphics tablet on which many students are now exploring the uses of Photoshop and other drawing and digital imaging software to further develop their drawing skills and projects as a whole.

To support their studies further, students are also taken on a range of school-organised trips each year, including a life-drawing workshop at the Wallace Collection in London, attendance at ‘The Creative Process’, a series of lectures by contemporary artists at the Institute of Education in London, and the popular four day residential art trip (location varies each year between a European city – Reykjavik, Florence, Venice, Paris and Madrid – and the Cornish coastline) in which students have the opportunity to work from life to create a series of drawings and paintings of seascapes, landscapes, architecture, etc. and visit the local galleries, museums and, of course, the sights on offer.

If you intend to go on to study art or design-related courses, or even follow a creative pathway in the future, then this course is important for you. University courses that past students have gone on to study include: fine art, illustration, architecture, graphic design, photography, and art history/journalism, to name just a few. The most common route for students wishing to continue the fine art route is to study the BTEC Higher Diploma Foundation course, a full-time art course that introduces students to a range of skills and study areas, building up experience and a practical portfolio before focusing on a specific area. The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Canterbury is well-recognised and the most popular establishment for our students wishing to take this course.

Further to specific arts-related courses, the A Level art & design is now considered amongst the most time-demanding courses on offer and more and more colleges and universities are recognising that gaining a high grade shows that you must be an extremely hard-working, creative, independent and dedicated student; attributes that almost all courses will admire and actively seek in their applicants.


Component 1: Personal Investigation

The personal investigation should be a coherent, in-depth practical study, supported by a written element (see below). Each student must include in their portfolio:

• One extended collection of work or project based on an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student, it should include evidence of their ability to research and develop ideas and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes.

• A coherent and logically structured written response of between 1000 and 3000 words of continuous prose.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

Question papers, sent by AQA at the beginning of February, will consist of a choice of eight themes to be used as starting points, from which students are required to select one. The project will last until the students begin their 15-hour exam (spread over 3 school days) in early May. During these 15 hours, students must produce a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes, informed by their preparatory work. All the work submitted for this component will be marked as a whole, using the same assessment objectives as used in the portfolio component.

How will it be delivered?

Component 1: Personal Investigation

60% of the A Level qualification

All the work submitted for this component will be marked as a whole, using 4 assessment objectives:

• AO1: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

• AO2: Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

• AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

• AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

40% of the A Level qualification

All the work submitted for this component will be marked as a whole, using the same 4 assessment objectives as used in the portfolio component (see above).

Entry requirements

GCSE grade 5 in Art or 5 in related subject (eg Technology).

Your next steps...

Please apply directly to our School if you are interested in studying this subject.