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Art and Design A Level at The Archbishop's School

Course description

The main purpose of any course in Art and Design is to develop your ability to appreciate the visual world and in turn to respond to it in a personal and creative way.

The skills you explore will be varied.  Among them you will develop a working knowledge of materials, practices and technology within art and learn the skills to interpret and convey your ideas and feelings using art and design.  You will improve your imaginative and creative powers and your experimental, analytical and documenting skills.  You will also develop a specialist vocabulary and the knowledge and understanding of the place of art, craft and design in history and in contemporary society.

Course content

Unit 1 Coursework – 50% of the total A Level

This is a structured project taking students up to their exam. Beginning with an exploration of a theme, students will take part in workshops to broaden and develop their base of skills.

This work consists of two elements:

  1. Practical work and
  2. A personal study.

Students will pursue their own creative and visual themed ideas with guidance from tutors. Practical work should arise from students’ current interests and experiences in Art and Design. They must support their own work with examples of research from the world of Art and Photography. The presentation of this study can take many forms. Students will be expected to compose their own study question and write their own project proposal with support. Practical work needs to be approached prolifically with a separate written document developed alongside it. The presentation of this study can take many forms. This may be:

  • A presentation on CD or DVD with text
  • A collection of images produced by the student with a written text
  • A study in a book form which may include images produced by the student

Unit 2 Externally Set Assignment – 50% of the A Level

Students will be given a theme to work on in the spring term from which to create preparatory studies. This research will culminate with an eight hour timed exam. The theme is set externally by the exam board.


How can I develop my full range of skills by doing this course?

As well as covering the advanced level study of Art, this course will enable you to develop some Key Skills that will be essential to you whatever you go on to do afterwards.  The Key Skills you can develop during this course are:


The Key Skill of communication is integral to the study of AS/A-Level Art and Design will be assessed as specified in the mark scheme.  This involves, amongst other skills, the ability to:


  • Summarise the information found in many different types of sources – e.g. books, paintings, museums, galleries, the Internet.
  • Use accurate and relevant information and research as a starting point for personal practical investigations.
  • Make sure that written work is legible and that its meaning is clear.
  • Choose suitable images to illustrate your ideas clearly.
  • Analyse & discuss your own and others work in group situations.
  • Present your ideas and the development of your investigations to an audience visually and verbally.


Other Key Skills appropriate to the study of art are:


  • Information Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Entry requirements

The best foundation for success in AS and A-Level Art is a good grade at GCSE.  However, this isn’t a requirement.  If you have an aptitude for the subject, if you are creative and enjoy drawing and painting, you will have the basic skills to succeed.  However, AS/A-Level Art is not an easy option and you should be prepared to work hard at developing your abilities.

You should have an understanding of the basic elements of art – colour, tone, form etc. and also some understanding of the place of art and design in the world – its history and its purpose.  Above all, you should have an interest in creating and understanding art and the determination to develop that interest.

Future opportunities

There are many careers in art, craft and design.  Most of these require further study at an apprpriate college or university.  If you are unsure about whether to make a career of the subject, the best thing to do is to speak to your art teacher who will know about the courses on offer in your area or elsewhere.

At present, most students wishing to take art or design further will go on to do a one year ‘Foundation’course at an art college or college of further education before applying for degree courses in more specialist areas of art and design.

You might wish to go into a job where it is useful to have had experience of art, craft and design, or where you will need to use some of the skills developed during this course.  These might include careers in such fields as advertising, marketing, design, architecture, publishing and the media.  The study of Art can also help you develop transferable skills that you can take into any career or job.  Success in AS/A-level Art requires determination and dedication.  However, whichever future path you choose, it can be a very rewarding beginning.

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: 30 January 2017
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