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Art and Design: Photography A level at Waddesdon CofE School

Course description

Whether you study the AS only, or AS and A2 courses, the approach to the courses are very similar. The A2 goes deeper and naturally the standards are more challenging.

Students will be introduced to a variety of photographic experiences, media, processes and techniques. They will explore practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas including portraiture, landscape photography, still-life photography, documentary photography, photo-journalism, experimental imagery, photographic installation, video, television and film.

Entry requirements

GCSE (B or A Grade) in Photography is preferable but students who have not followed the course will be welcome subject only to a portfolio consultation with the Head of Art. You should have an aptitude for the subject, demonstrating creative skills and an ability to compose an image. You should have an understanding of the basic elements of photography – depth of field, light value, law of thirds, aperture, shutter speed, bracketing and so on, and also some understanding of the place of photography in the world – its history and its purpose. You should be prepared to work hard at developing your abilities and devoting a substantial amount of time to the subject. Students who have not followed the course previously will be required to submit a portfolio of work at or before their consultation. They are advised to contact the Head of Art to discuss the requirements of the portfolio.


Advanced Subsidiary (AS)

Component 1 Coursework No time limit 60% of total AS marks

The coursework is centre-assessed and moderated by AQA.

Candidates are required to submit a portfolio of photographic coursework made up of a number of photographic shoots, which must be accompanied by preliminary/supporting research. This component should be a clearly defined selection of coursework that demonstrates evidence of the working processes involved, addressing all four assessment objectives, development of ideas, experimentation and selection, recording skills leading to the outcomes. Analysis of photographers will be an integral part of the portfolio.
Component 2 Externally Set Assignment 10 hours 40% of the total AS marks
This unit is set by AQA, centre-assessed and moderated by AQA.
The Externally Set Assignment offers a choice of topics that have been created by AQA. Students choose one. The assignment is in two parts: a preparatory period where candidates carry out their initial research and investigations and identify photographers whose work they wish to make connections with; and a timed 10-hour unaided test where candidates are required to respond to their initial investigations and plan further developments and make design outcomes. Once students start the 10-hour period they will not be allowed to work on the preparatory work

Advanced Level (A2)

The full A-Level qualification is made up of the two units studied at Advanced level. The approach to the work builds upon the structure and approach of the AS course but is totally separate from it.
Component 1 Coursework 60% of the total A-Level marks
The coursework is centre-assessed and moderated by AQA.
Students are required to conduct a practical investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. The written element must be between 1000 and 3000 words and link to the practical work made in the investigation. The investigation should be a coherent, in-depth study that demonstrates the student’s ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning from an initial starting point to a final realisation.
Component 2 Externally Set Assignment 15 hrs 40% of the total A-Level marks
A range of questions is set by AQA, centre-assessed and moderated by AQA.
Following receipt of the AQA paper students should consider the starting points and select one. Preparatory work should be presented in any suitable format, such as mounted sheets, journals or portfolios.
Candidates have a 15-hour Controlled Test. Once students start the 15-hour period they will not be allowed to work on the preparatory work


Future opportunities

There are many careers in photography and film. Most of these progression routes require further study at an art school, further education college or university. Specialised courses are available. Others may go directly into work in such fields as advertising or a commercial photographic studio.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Waddesdon CofE School directly.

Last updated date: 09 June 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years