Accessibility links

Art and Design (Photography) AS & A Level at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

Course description

The course looks at both the practical and aesthetic aspects of photography. You will observe and appreciate the works and styles of other photographers and develop your own approach through conventional and digital technology. A Level Art & Design is one of the first qualifications to change to a two year A Level from September 2015. The majority of students will now follow a two year programme with their work being assessed in the second year. Marks are split equally between coursework (based on teacher-led themes) and a practical exam based on a theme set by the Edexcel exam board.

Course content

You will study 4 units over 2 years to full A level. Students will still have the option to sit a one year AS level if they are unsure about undertaking a two year programme. Whether you choose to take the AS or full A Level in Art and Design related subjects they will need to work continuously throughout the course to develop the creative, analytical and written skills necessary to achieve in these subjects.

Further features of the new A Level:

  • There is a greater emphasis on drawing skills in all of the Art syllabus’s
  • There is a greater emphasis on independent work
  • There is a written essay in the second year which is now a separate piece of work with specific marks awarded

Unit 1: Practical Coursework – Assessed by coursework

You will develop your understanding of the formal elements of Photography in colour, line, pattern, shape, texture, tone etc. You must maintain a work journal showing evidence of your research, analysis, idea development, outcomes, and visual and/or written evaluation. You will be concerned with the relationship between ideas and art and design practice in Photography. Ideas form an integral part of the creative process and as a photograph is produced, ideas and outcomes are modified. You must develop a personal response to a given starting point, working sequentially through a series of ideas and outcomes, towards a well-considered conclusion or conclusions. Broad thematic starting points as assignments will provide opportunities for translating your own ideas through learning about photographic processes.

Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment - Assessed by preparatory work and an external timed exam

The externally set assignment will consist of a title / theme from which you will make a choice. The work produced during the examination must be unaided, and demonstrate clearly what you have learnt during the course.

Unit 3: Practical Work linked to a Personal Study – Assessed by coursework

You will be required to research, evaluate and analyse your own work in relation to that of other artists and photographers. It will involve visiting exhibitions and galleries, and extensive research of theories of Art and Design as they relate to Photography. You will identify creative practical work, undertake investigative research and develop a range of practical solutions that illustrate the development of your own visual language in Photography, showing sensitive use of materials and processes. Your work will include a personal written illustrated study of 1,000 - 3,000 words linked to your practical work. 

Unit 4: Externally Set Assignment - Assessed by preparatory work and an external timed exam

This is the culmination of the course. You will be given a theme to investigate during a preparatory period, in advance of a controlled test of 12 hours. This will give you the opportunity to show to what extent you now understand the formal elements of the processes and practices that you have used.

You will follow a structured course which combines the practical elements of taking and producing photographs, alongside documenting your ideas in a workbook that forms part of your final year submission.

Entry requirements

At least five GCSEs at grade C or above to include English Language and Art. You will need a genuine interest and enthusiasm for observation and looking, along with an organised nature with a capacity to be self-motivated.

Financial information

There will be a studio fee of £25 per year to cover the cost of materials, workbooks, specialist papers and colour printing.

Future opportunities

AS Photography is a useful subject for those thinking of continuing with a career in Art and Design. Our students progress onto a wide range of prestigious Arts universities nationwide, studying subjects such as Fine Art, Fashion and Textile Design, Photography, Animation and Graphic Design. After university, students gain employment as freelance artists, photographers, art critics and graphic designers.

Further information

The course is taught in a dedicated Art block equipped with an extensive library of art books and access to the college IT network facilities. You will need to supplement the basic materials offered by the college with an investment of your own such as a digital camera, a memory stick and a box of photographic inkjet paper. You will be encouraged to produce and maintain a portfolio of your own work.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Richard Taunton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 19 October 2016

Key information

Venues