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Fine Art A Level at Thomas Rotherham College (TRC)

Course description

Fine art is used to communicate ideas and messages about the observed world.  The A Level encourages exploration of different materials, processes and techniques.  The start of the course is workshop based, teaching a range of Fine Art Skills including drawing, painting, a range of printmaking, photography (digital and dark room) and sculpture. 

After this introductory workshop period, students are encouraged to develop their own specialism, explore their own concepts and ideas free of external constraints whilst continuing to develop and explore their skills.  Students are encouraged to base their work around their own individual identity, incorporating cultural influences or personal experiences and interests.


Course content

Although the majority of the assessed work is practical, there is a separately assessed written essay. This encourages student to explore the work of other artists who inspire them, and look at their work in a wider context.


Drawing and other materials processes
Drawing in Fine Art forms an essential part of the development process from initial ideas to finished work; from rough sketches, to diagrams setting out compositions for installations or as part of three-dimensional work. You will get the opportunity to use a variety of tools, materials and techniques to do this, including pencil, charcoal, printmaking, pen and ink, paint, textiles and sculpture.

Contextual understanding and professional practice
An important aspect of the course is to consider the work of artists and use understanding gained from this to inform the progression of your own personal creativity. Research will be conducted from a wide range of sources; for example, from historical works in museums to contemporary art shows and fairs.

You will become familiar with contemporary and emerging concepts and learn how to analyse and critically evaluate fine art work, demonstrating an understanding of purposes, meanings and contexts. 

Study Visits

Day trips to Art Galleries and sketching field trips.


Entry requirements

Grade 4 GCSE Art or related qualification (Grade 6 if taken in combination with another Art based course).
If you haven't had the opportunity to take a GCSE in a required subject, you can still apply for this course by submitting a digital portfolio of your work. Please see the website link for more information on how to do this.  


The course consists of two components:

Component One (60%) is coursework and will start in September and continue for approximately 4 terms. 

Component One allows you to develop your technical and analytical skills through the use of workshops and the development of a journal exploring a set theme.  This component also includes a separate written study based on contextual research. This will be completed alongside your practical work.


Component two (40%) is the exam unit which sets a theme to be explored with a timed test at the end in which you produce your final outcome under exam conditions. 

Financial information

Day trips: small contributions towards transport.

Sketchbooks: Students will need to buy their own sketchbooks, however we have high quality monogrammed sketchbooks available to purchase at cost price from us. We recommend buying these from the department to ensure that they are of a good enough quality. These range from £5.50 - £7.00

Starter portfolio pack including basic materials – £10.00 (subject to materials/availability).

Printer Credits – Art is a visual subject and will rely heavily on good quality print outs.  Students are given a certain amount of 'printer credits', however, they may need to top this up. 

The Art Department provides a lot in terms of consumables such as paint, printing ink, glue, fabrics etc. However, you will need to purchase your own paint brushes, pencils, pens, canvases and paper. We buy these in bulk and sell them on at cost in order to keep prices as low as possible. To help with the cost we offer a levy system where students can pay an amount to the art department and have the cost of materials deducted as they go.   

Future opportunities

This course could lead onto higher education in areas of art and design, photography, architecture or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to art and design such as an Architect, Interior Designer, Artist, Illustrator or fashion designer.

If you want to pursue a career in Architecture you will need also Maths and Physics along with an Art based A level.

Most of our students progress onto a broad range of Art Degrees at University. These range from Fine Art to Architecture, including Textiles, Interior and Fashion Design, Illustration, 3D Design, Graphic Design, Film and Animation.

Further information

To find out more about this qualification visit the Art department at one of our Open Evenings, or speak to school/college careers staff.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 15 February 2018
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    • The College is situated on Moorgate in Rotherham, about a 15 minute walk from the centre of Rotherham.  Buses leave the central Rotherham Interchange every 10 minutes and the journey takes approx. 5 minutes. 

      We also run dedicated bus services to ease your journey to and from College.  See for details and route information. 

      The College also has on-site permit parking for students, with priority given to students with the greatest distance to travel.