Visual Arts in the Sixth Form
A Level Art (Edexcel)
"...not just a subject to learn, but an activity that you can practise: with your hands, your eyes, your ears, your whole personality" Quentin Blake, Children's Laureate
What is the course about?
The two Art A Level courses offered are about individual expression: it is the vehicle through which you can express your own ideas. You will follow the Edexcel’s GCE in Art & Design which encourages personal, creative and imaginative approaches with increased recognition for new media within each endorsement this allowing you to find a personal and entirely appropriate expression for your ideas.
In all art courses you will be shown how to extend your existing skills and will be encouraged to experiment with materials to enhance your visual language. You will also be given opportunities to discover where your talents and interests lie. As your work gains direction it is important that you relate your own work to that of other artists and designers. This will strengthen your work and provide a context for your own emerging ideas.
All Art and Design courses provide a stimulating and exciting exploration into the varied art specialisms. You will develop ideas by researching into other artists and be encouraged to examine the world around you visually. You will work through a variety of techniques and learn to work with appropriate media, materials and processes. As an Art and Design student, you will be expected to write about your work, to express personal, creative ideas and produce final outcomes using a range of approaches and methods. You will be expected to visit and document galleries and exhibitions. You will primarily develop your art in workbooks and on sheets of paper a range of scales; final pieces are produced in a wide range of sizes and on a variety of surfaces. It is possible to study three Art and Design courses as part of your timetable.
As a department we provide excellent opportunities for our A Level students. These include Life drawing with The Royal Academy, Saturday schools with Wimbledon, Chelsea and Camberwell, Summer schools across all London Universities depending on your area of interest and visits to Art Galleries to enhance your contextual studies.
If you choose to study Fine art, you will be working with a range of 2D and 3D media to develop your visual skills primarily in drawing, painting and printmaking. You may wish to work in alternative media, which includes contemporary approaches such as installation, land art and digital technology for example, using moving images. You will be expected to generate and develop ideas, selecting the most appropriate media and techniques to communicate your ideas effectively.
If you choose to study Photography, you will be working with darkroom practise as well as digital processing. Both media types will also be encouraged to come together in physical manipulation of images through a variety of techniques such as acetate work, collage, burning, and stitching. You will be expected to generate and develop ideas, selecting the most appropriate media and techniques to communicate your ideas effectively.
Qualifications aims and objectives
- intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive capabilities
- investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement
- independence of mind in developing, refining and communicating their own ideas, their own intentions and their own personal outcomes
- an interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of art, craft and design
- their experience of working with a broad range of media
- an understanding of the interrelationships between art, craft and design
- processes and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate
- knowledge and experience of real-world contexts and, where appropriate, links to the creative industries
- knowledge and understanding of art, craft, design and media and technologies
- in contemporary and past societies and cultures
- an awareness of different roles, functions, audiences and consumers of art, craft and design.
What sort of work will I be doing?
Fine Art is about expressing yourself through a variety of media, materials and techniques. For example, you might be exploring collage and mixed media work developed from looking at another artist’s work. Drawing from direct observation is vital too. You will be given a starting point or theme, then have to produce a sequence of related works which explore and visually investigate your theme. You will explore composition, use of colour, creative experimentation, handling and use of paint and brushes, drawing approaches, ways of abstracting, use of tone and texture, and image manipulation.
Fine Art involves a wide variety of approaches and ways of working. You will be involved in all of the above practical activities and will also discuss work with your subject tutor, present ideas, look at the work of fellow students, develop your own practical and decision making skills, produce annotations and notes, develop your work in a range of methods and approaches.
Photography is about capturing your ideas through imagery and expressing this creatively in your picture taking skills. You will be exploring Photographers work and demonstrating the influences that this has upon your own ideas and developmental work. You will explore the formal elements in Photography and use these to capture your images manually both in digital and black and white picture taking. You will then develop these images into exciting outcomes and explore a variety of manipulation techniques both in Photoshop and physical manipulations.
You will be involved in all of the above practical activities and will also discuss work with your subject tutor, present ideas, look at the work of fellow students, develop your own practical and decision making skills, produce annotations and notes, develop your work in a range of methods and approaches.
How will I be assessed?
You will follow the GCE Exam Board – Edexcel
The course consists of an exam at the end of year 13, and a PPE in year 12 for the full A level course.
Component 1 is worth 60% of the final weighting which is coursework and essay based. Component 2 is worth 40% of the final weighting which is externally set and exam based.
The A Level Art Course consists of two components:
All A level Courses
You will select your own theme from a series of set questions and discussion with teacher. This unit
includes a written component in the form of an essay.
60% of final A level grade
Set paper by Edexcel
7 week preparation and a 12 hour exam
40% of final A level Grade
Each component is assessed using four assessment objectives. These can be summed up as: Develop, Experiment, Record, and Present. Each component will be assessed at the end of the A level course and all work is externally moderated in an A Level exhibition. The work is marked out of 90 for coursework (72 marks for component 1 and 18 marks for the essay) and 72 for the exam. is assessed separately out of 80 marks. On completion of a final A level grade from A* - E will be awarded.
What qualifications are needed to take this course?
The minimum requirements to do this A level are 5 A* - C grades in 5 different subjects including grade 4s in English and Maths.
For Fine Art, the best foundation for success is at least a B grade at GCSE in Art or a grade C with a portfolio of work. For Photography students will need to have studied Art or Photography at GCSE level or Media and provide a portfolio of work.
Students will need enthusiasm, a willingness to work hard and persevere with work, along with a keen interest in developing their own skills and learning more about artists.
What extra work can I do?
You should have a commitment to and love of the subject and feel motivated to develop. You can make the most of the opportunities to develop awareness and understanding of the art world around you. Examples of activities that would help you be a success include:
- develop your visual skills
- show creativity, enthusiasm and imagination
- visit galleries, museums, workshops and studios
A Level students have full access to the Art A Level room to complete extra study work.
What do the students say?
‘A Level art allows experimentation and a chance to communicate yourself through art. I was able to build a wider portfolio and learn new skills to help me build a career in art’
‘I really enjoyed the Art A Level. It gave me an opportunity to show my creative side and was a good balance with the more academic subjects I studied. A lot of hard work … but fun’
The Art department has very high expectations - we believe that every student has the potential to be creative in a personal and meaningful way. Learning how to become an artist is hard work but also a lot of fun!