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ART and DESIGN (Fine Art)

Why choose Art at A Level?

This course encourages an adventurous and enquiring approach to art. You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of past and contemporary art practice and be able to produce artwork that embraces a range of ideas. Work produced for this course will demonstrate the use of practical, intellectual and creative skills, and give visual form to individual thoughts, feelings, observations and ideas.

You may wish to study A Level Art if you are creative, imaginative, willing to experiment with different materials and enjoy drawing or making artwork. You may also choose to study A Level Art in order to continue your developments from GCSE or if you intend to follow an art related career path.

What does the Art A Level course involve?

If you choose to study Fine art, you will be working with a range of 2D and 3D media to develop your visual skills in drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. You may wish to work in alternative media, which includes contemporary approaches such as installation, land art and digital technology.

Over the duration of the two-year course there are four papers, two at AS level and two at A2 level. All of the artwork you produce throughout the course will contribute towards your final grade.

The work produced in lessons is coursework and contributes towards 60% of your overall mark. There is a coursework unit both at AS and A2 level. The coursework is based around a broad theme which will allow you to explore your ideas and develop your skills and understanding of materials and artists. You will build up a portfolio of work which will include sketchbook/s, development work and finished pieces of art work. Additionally at A2 level you will produce a personal study which will take the form of an illustrated essay.

At the beginning of February you will be given the externally set assignment. This will give you a range of starting points based around a specific theme. You will have approximately three months to work through the paper and plan your ideas and final piece for the timed test. During this period of time you will be supported by the art team in order to develop your ideas and plan your piece. The timed test will take place over two days, at AS level the test lasts for eight hours and at A2 it lasts for twelve hours. This part of the course contributes 40% of your overall mark.

How will I study A Level Art?

You will embark upon a structured course and study a wide variety of skills, techniques and materials. You will be encouraged to develop an adventurous and informed approach to exploring your own ideas, making art and understanding the work of others. You will be enabled to develop your own interpretations of an individual theme in order to develop and stretch your own strengths and skills.

The work you produce on the course must include supporting studies which are usually in the form of a work journal or sketchbook. You will be expected to work in your sketchbook in your own time at home.

Teaching is undertaken by two of the specialist art teachers with support given by the whole of the art team.

All students are given the opportunity to attend a rich programme of extra-curricular activities including; personal tutorials, additional out of hours sessions, workshops, life classes and visit major exhibitions and galleries in Europe.

How will I be assessed?

The examination board we use is Edexcel and the Syllabus codes are:

AS; 8FAO1, A2; 9FAO1.

There are four units over two years. In each year there is an externally set assignment which is equal to 40% of the overall marks and the personal portfolio which is equal to 60% of the qualification.

The AS units (year one) may be awarded as a discrete qualification, or it may contribute to 50% of the full A Level qualification.

All of the work you produce for this A Level will be assessed internally by the Art Department. These marks are then verified by an external moderator from the examination board.

There are four main areas which you will be assessed on:-

  • Developing your ideas informed by contextual sources, such as other artists’ work;
  • Experimenting and refining techniques and materials;
  • Recording your observations, thoughts and ideas through drawings, photographs and texts;
  • Producing personal responses and finished pieces of work.

What qualifications do I need to start the Art A Level course?

Ideally, before undertaking an A Level in Art, you should have achieved an Art qualification at GCSE level. However, there are exceptions to this and in some circumstances individuals may study the course without having an Art GCSE qualification. If you are in this position, further guidance should be sought from the Head of Department. Most importantly you should enjoy the subject, have some experience in using different materials and feel that you are enthusiastic and motivated to develop your knowledge and skills to a higher level.

With what other subjects does A Level Art fit?

Studying an A Level in Art complements a wide range of subjects, as it stretches creative thinking skills which are very useful in any subject. The nature of the course is both creative and practical, therefore you may wish to complement any set of subjects with Art in order to study a broad curriculum.

What can I study at University with an A Level in Art?

There are a large number of Universities which offer a wide variety of degree courses specialising in many different art disciplines. An A Level in Fine Art provides a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to take into many other art disciplines such as architecture, art history, illustration, graphic design, fashion or photography.

You may wish to explore your skills further by undertaking a degree in Fine Art or through studying a pre degree foundation course, in order to develop your own individual specialist area.

How will an A Level in Art help me in my future life and career?

You may wish to study A Level Art for its own sake, or you might wish to follow a career in art, where you will need to use the skills developed during this course. An A Level in Art can act as the starting point for many careers such as fine art, architecture, animation, areas within advertising and photography and digital media, to name a few. Whichever you choose, the study of art can help you develop transferable skills, which you can take into any career.