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The visual arts, from film production to photography and fine arts to fashion, are an integral part of our culture. This creative art and design-based course offers student the opportunity to explore the remarkable impact photography has on our lives and opens the door to a wide range of occupations, particularly within new media and communication. Covering a wide range of practical and research skills, this is a course for determined, motivated and creative individuals.

Topics covered

• Use of cameras; lenses, aperture, exposure
• Black and white photographic printing
• Photograms
• Studio lighting
• Digital photography
• Image manipulation and the use of image manipulation software
• Early developments in photography
• The photographic portrait
• Documentary photography
• The photographic avant-garde

Yr12 Curriculum Overview

Yr13 Curriculum Overview


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 produce a portfolio of work, covering a wide range of photographic processes and approaches. With this portfolio, you will show how you can develop ideas, concept or themes and refine work into an accomplished final piece. This will count for 60% of your total A Level mark.

Component two: You will be asked to produce practical photography-based work in response to one of eight exciting starting points issued by the examination board. This will count for 40% of your total A Level mark.

Methods of working

The majority of the course is practical and requires students to organise their time outside of lessons to seek out opportunities to take photographs as well as complete extensive coursework tasks.

Throughout the course, students will be expected to discuss and justify their work in group seminary and tutorials.

For the duration of Year 13 students are required to show increasing independence and intellectual challenge in their work.

Skills acquired

Students will learn black and white photographic processes as well as digital imaging techniques and how to use these in the production of a personal portfolio of creative work. The principles of critical and visual analysis of the work of a wide range of photographers and artists will be developed, identifying techniques used and exploring intentions and then incorporating these into the students’ own work.

Where the course leads

The visual arts offer an expanding and exciting range of careers for talented individuals in a growth 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. To progress to a degree in photography, students would normally be required to take a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Special entry requirements

Organisation and tenacity are important attributes for a successful student, as well as motivation and the ability to seek out exciting image-making opportunities. 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.