Sixth-form a-level-artdesign

IB: Group 6

Visual Arts: Higher & Standard Level

What could this course lead to?

Further study in Art and its 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

A student will normally have studied Art at GCSE.

What will I be studying?

We encourage our students to develop their artistic skills by discovering their own particular artistic paths, and we offer facilities for a very wide range of possibilities in Fine Art, Three-Dimensional Design, Photography and lens-based media, and Textiles. Students can work in areas as diverse as glass casting, scrap metal welding, installation art, beautiful and functional ceramics, digital film making and animation, traditional watercolour, oil painting, and printmaking techniques such as etching and screen printing; the possibilities are boundless.

The IB in Visual Arts has three basic components, a comparative study, process portfolio and exhibition. In the comparative study students analyse and compare artworks by different artists, exploring artworks, objects and artefacts from differing cultural contexts. The process portfolio is a ‘working 
journal’ charting the student’s progress through the course, with evidence of analytical research, experimentation, exploration, interpretation, recording of gallery visits and research into established artists and working practices. Students are encouraged to explore their own cultural roots, and their journals may develop marked themes, and should strongly reflect the students’ own artistic interests, complementing the practical work that they do, charting how their work has developed, allowing the examiner to understand the studio work that the student has produced, and to see the breadth and depth of the study that the student has undertaken. The exhibition comprises a selection of the practical work that students produce over the five term course.

What benefits does this subject have for university entrance?

The IB website states: “Engagement in the arts promotes a sense of identity and makes a unique contribution to the development of each student. Study of the visual arts provides students with the opportunity to develop a critical and intensely personal view of themselves in relation to the world.” Art as a traditional subject is highly regarded and essential in pursuing some careers. Students who study at Sidcot become very visually literate and confident using a range of traditional and contemporary practices and processes. They are highly prepared for the many creative degree courses at university and eventually for careers in the many thriving creative industries. Our students leave our course as flexible confident practitioners who have a wide range of skills and a sound knowledge of contemporary processes. Many of our students progress to the top London colleges such as the University of the Arts and St. Martins School of Art.

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

There are regular specific activity sessions such as a weekly life drawing class, ceramics, glass fusing, photography, computer graphics, jewellery and printmaking activities, as well as occasional ‘one off’ sessions such as printmaking days and a life     drawing weekend.

There are also trips to galleries, both locally and to London, and occasionally further afield. There are also a wealth of trips and activities using the surrounding beautiful countryside and geological features around Sidcot to inspire creativity. 

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

“The artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist.” – Eric Gill

The IB course should be a journey of personal discovery. Along the way students will develop both the practical and intellectual skills to express their ideas and carry out their creative intentions.

How is it examined?

Students mount a final exhibition of their studio work in the February/March of the second year then photograph a specified number of representative pieces from their exhibition, along with a selection of pages from their workbooks, their comparative study presentation, and a curatorial statement, and these slides are uploaded to the IB site to be examined. The number of work book pages, final pieces, and extent of the study is dependent on the specific option that the student has chosen.

Comparative Study 20%

Process Portfolio 40%

Exhibition 40%

Higher Level

Students are given 5 periods a week in school, but are expected to work outside school as well.

Standard Level

Students are given 3 periods a week in school, but are expected to work outside school as well.

Will I have to do coursework?


Examination method

Examination is entirely based on the work that students produce in the three components of the course.

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

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