This is an exciting and stimulating course for students who have developed a proven enthusiasm for the subject. The course provides an interesting and lively involvement in a broad range of art and design activities which students can then use to develop their own ideas. The breadth of study makes this a challenging course for motivated and creative individuals and opens the door to a wealth of career opportunities in the visual arts.
Summary of course content
• Practical exploration and refinement of the use of a broad range of materials, processes and techniques, e.g. drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture and digital imaging
• How ideas can be conveyed and interpreted in images and artefacts
• The use of knowledge of other artists’ work to develop ideas and provide sources of inspiration
• How to critically evaluate your own work and present ideas to an audience
• Visits to local and national art exhibitions will take place during the course
• Formulating aims and objectives
• Planning a project
• Taking notes and record-keeping
• Assessing the reliability and validity of sources
• Critical thinking
• Research methodology
• Referencing and plagiarism
• Decision making
• Presentation skills, including how to handle a question and answer session
• Evaluating the project and your own strengths and weaknesses
You will be assessed on the practical work that you produce throughout the two year course. This will be supported by written annotation and research into other artists and designers and students will also be required to produce an extended essay as part of component one in Year 13. During Year 12, students will concentrate on acquiring and refining practical skills and learn how to use these alongside their artist research in the development and refinement of creative ideas.
Component one: In Year 13, you will develop work for a personal investigation into an idea, concept or theme, supported by written material; this will count for 60% of your total A Level marks.
Component two: You will be asked to produce personal work in response to one of eight exciting starting points, which will count for 40% of your total A Level mark.
Methods of working
Much of the course involves the experimentation and refinement of practical art and design skills; however, in developing students’ critical understanding there is a significant amount of written work. Fine art includes drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture, and students will have the opportunity to explore many ways of working. Observational drawing and critical and contextual studies are an essential part of this course and form the starting point for visual research and exploration of ideas and images.
Where the course leads
The visual arts offer an expanding and exciting range of careers for talented individuals in a large and growing area of the UK economy. Students can progress to a higher education course in a wide range of visual arts specialisms or in other subject areas.
Special entry requirements
Self-motivation and tenacity are important attributes for a successful fine art student of this demanding but rewarding course.
It is preferable that students achieve a grade 6 or above in an art and design subject at GCSE. Where no previous art qualification has been taken, prospective students will need to demonstrate a proven enthusiasm for the subject.