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Art and Design - AS / A level at Ipswich School

Course description

Art and Design have an extremely broad role in education. In addition to developing the languages of literacy, oracy and numeracy, we need to become visually aware if we are to be discriminating and critical in respect of the world about us. Additionally, the growth of confidence and skills in art and design can help us become familiar and comfortable in dealing with our own feelings and intuitions and in empathising with the conditions of others. The practice of art and design can prove personally uplifting for students and provide them with deep and moving experiences which go far beyond the skills, knowledge and understanding associated with learning in many other areas of the curriculum. This subject can relate to other subjects across the curriculum forming links with Classical Civilisation, History, Design Technology and other less obvious areas. Combined subject visits are made to other countries as well as Art trips to cities as far afield as New York.

The AS and A2 examinations are intended to meet the needs of the following groups of candidates:
those who, whilst having an interest and aptitude in the subject, are not intending to study the subject beyond AS or A2
those who undertake further studies in art and design after leaving school
those who will study subjects or take up careers for which an art and design background is relevant.

We normally expect students embarking on an advanced course in Art and Design to have achieved at least a B grade at GCSE or equivalent. However, this is not a formal requirement. A portfolio of work would need to be assessed. Self-motivation and good organisation are key attributes for success in the subject.

Both AS and A2 aim to encourage an adventurous and enquiring approach to art and design. Successful candidates should be able to demonstrate an understanding of past and contemporary art and design practice and be able to produce artwork that embraces a range of ideas. Students will be able to take one of the following approaches according to their strengths and interests after consultation with their teacher:

Course content

Art Unendorsed AS and A2

Unendorsed means that the student covers two or more disciplines e.g. Fine Art and Print. These qualifications in art allow the student to follow a more general approach to the final outcome of their work. As an example, the first year of study might include the following:
Unit 1 may have work which includes three dimensional studies and a series of paintings based on a study of Lucien Freud
a final examination resulting in either a three-dimensional piece or a painting.

The nature of this work therefore might embrace any combination of the endorsed titles listed below over one or two years` study.
Endorsed Titles

These allow the student to specialise in one of the following:
Fine Art (drawing, painting, sculpture and print making)
Three Dimensional Design


Graphic Design.
Students who decide to take the endorsed approach must stay within the limitations of the area of study throughout their one or two years` study.

A requirement of the AS and A2 courses is that candidates keep a work journal. The work journal is a combination of sketch book and time-based record. It will contain evidence of the development of candidates` ideas including reference to the work of others showing understanding of meanings, contexts and the ability to make skilled judgements, using an appropriate visual/verbal form.

The units of study for the AS and A2 levels are:


Year 12 (AS)

The total submission for the first year consists of two units of work known as Art and Design Coursework and Art and Design Externally Set Assignment.


Coursework is structured to encourage breadth and depth in the development of students` visual language. This consists of a body of work which may include several outcomes in a single medium or a variety of mediums. The choice of these is through advisory negotiation. This unit represents 60% of the AS award and 30% of the A2.

Externally Set Assignment:

This aspect of the subject is available from February in the year of the examination and is 'Thematic' in format. There is no set period of preparation for the ESA. This unit represents 40% of the AS award and 20% of the A2.

There is an eight hour timed test at the end of the preparatory period.

Year 13 (A2)

Students opting to continue through to A2 have the opportunity to enjoy a course of study which allows them more autonomy. As in the previous year it consists of two units of work - Coursework and an Externally Set Assignment.

This consists of a body of work which may include several outcomes in a single medium or a variety of mediums. As the practical work progresses, work from the personal study provides the focus for contextual analysis and connections. The choice of these is through advisory negotiation. This unit The Ipswich School Art Department offers expertise across a range of media - drawing, painting, textiles, photography (including computer manipulation), and sculpture. With four studios there are different environments to encourage creativity. Our students have a good record of success and of continuing their Art beyond A level.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 20 May 2014
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