Sixth-form a-level-artdesign

A Level

Art & Design

What could this course lead to?

Further study in Art and it’s subsidiaries: Photography, Graphic Design, Fashion, Interior Design, Textiles, Art History, and many more besides, which might lead to a wide range of professions as diverse as architect, designer, illustrator, photographer, director, curator, arts administration, product designer etc.

GCSEs required

The majority of students would have studied Art at GCSE.

What will I be studying?

The areas of study represent different fields of practice in Art to accommodate students who quite naturally develop an interest and skill in a particular type of art or media. Each area of study embraces a range of specialisms and is not meant to be definitive, prescriptive or comprehensive.

Area of Study Specialisms:

  • Fine Art – painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, alternative media and lens based media
  • Three-Dimensional Design – ceramics, sculpture, product design, environmental design
  • Photography – lens and light based media, experimental photography, film and video, multi-media

In practice, we find at Sidcot that most students can be accommodated by the Fine Art syllabus, which gives the widest scope for investigation in a variety of media, unless they wish to make a particular study of Photography or Three Dimensional Design. Students can take more two of the above endorsements, if they chose to study Art in two option blocks.

Students who wish to specialise in Textiles will take the AS or A Level in Textiles rather than in the Art Department. 

We have wonderful facilities for Fine Art, with spacious and light studios, 3D studios for ceramics, sculpture and mixed media work, specialist facilities for digital media, photography, film making and website design, including a traditional darkroom. Students can experiment in a range of disciplines, or choose to work wholly in one area, such as printmaking or sculpture.

The department has three kilns, a glass kiln, several printing presses, welding equipment and a plaster studio.

During the course, students will develop ideas that demonstrate analytical and critical understanding of their work and that of other artists. In experimenting with media, materials, techniques and processes.

Students will demonstrate an ability to reflect on their work and progress. Students will produce a portfolio of work which realises the intentions of the individual.

Are there any trips or extracurricular activities linked to this course?

There are a large number of trips associated with the course, both locally, nationally, and occasionally internationally. 

What benefits does this subject have for university entrance?

Art is a highly regarded subject and a good foundation for any number of courses involving artistic creativity and research. Many of our students progress to the top London colleges such as the University of the Arts and St. Martins School of Art.

What skills or learning approach do I need for this subject?

Because the course stresses individual development and freedom of exploration, it is essential and natural that students share responsibility for their progress as artists. In this respect, students will be expected to work in excess of timetabled requirements.

How is it examined?

AS Level

Portfolio of Work – 60%

  • Candidates produce a portfolio of work from starting points, topics or themes determined by their centre
  • The focus is on work that shows exploration, research, acquisition of techniques and skills

Externally Set Assignment – 40%

  • Candidates select one starting point from a question paper
  • Candidates are given several weeks in which to plan and prepare
  • Candidates are then given 5 hours of controlled time to realise their ideas

A Level

The A Level is a separate qualification from the AS   Level, and will be examined at the end of the second year of study.

Personal Investigation – 60%

  • Candidates submit one major project which has a personal significance
  • The investigation includes a related personal study that must be between 1000 – 3000 words.

Externally Set Assignment – 40%

  • Candidates select one starting point from a question paper
  • Candidates are given several weeks in which to plan and prepare
  • In 15 hours of controlled time, candidates work to plan and then realise ideas into a final outcome


Coursework units are internally set and assessed and externally moderated.

We expect students to mount a major exhibition of their work at the end of the course, and invite the external moderator to assess the work exhibited.

What syllabus do you follow?

AQA: www.aqa.org.uk

Examination method

Portfolio and assignment.

Independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 - 18 in Somerset

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