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Art & Design: Fine Art Edexcel A Level at St Bernard's High School

Course description

Students will produce practical and critical contextual work in one or more areas including painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, land art, installation, print making, film, animation, video and photography.  Drawing is a compulsory element of the course.

Students will need to generate and develop ideas, research work of other artists, record first-hand observations, experiment with media and processes, and review and refine ideas towards producing a personal and meaningful outcome.

Course content

Year 12

Unit 1:

  • The emphasis of this unit will be on the development of understanding and skills using an appropriate range of materials, processes and techniques.
  • Students should produce a collection of materials that exemplifies work carried out during the Year 12 course.

Unit 2:

  • An externally set assignment will be provided by the exam board with a broad theme to be used as a starting point.
  • Students are required to create preparatory work that should be presented in a sketchbook.
  • Following the preparatory period, students must complete 10 hours of unaided, supervised time.
  • In the 10 hours students must produce a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes, informed by their preparatory work.

Year 13


  • This a practical unit supported by a written essay.
  • Students are required to conduct a practical investigation into an area, issue, concept or theme that interests them.
  • The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of finished outcomes.
  • 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.

Unit 2:

  • Following receipt of the externally set assignment paper, students should consider the broad theme as a starting point and create preparatory work that should be presented in a sketchbook.
  • Following the preparatory period, students must complete 15 hours of unaided, supervised time.
  • In the 15 hours students must produce a series of finished outcomes, informed by their preparatory work.

Entry requirements

  • B Grade in Art and Design at GCSE level.
  • BTEC applicants will be considered on the strength of their portfolio


Year 12

  • Unit 1: Coursework Portfolio 
  • Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment 


Year 13

  • Unit 1: Personal Investigation supported by written element 
  • Unit 2 : Externally Set Assignment 

This course will suit students who enjoy the opportunity to explore independently and develop their own intentions.

Future opportunities

There are many careers in art, craft and design.

Often students opt to take a one-year foundation course before applying to a specialist art course at degree level.

For careers in the creative industry a Fine Art course will provide a varied portfolio of evidence.

Past students have gone on to pursue careers in the following fields:

Fine Art, Illustration, Product Design, Textile Design, Theatre and TV Set Design, Costume Design, Art Restoration, Teaching, Architecture, and Art Therapy.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Bernard's High School directly.

Last updated date: 04 January 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years


  • More information
    • In line with current educational thinking, all Key Stage 5 courses have fully integrated the full range of Thinking Skills.  These ensure that our students develop life-long transferable skills, become independent and resilient learners and are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.  These enable all students to be independent enquirers and creative thinkers who can be focused team workers and effective participators because they can be self-managers of their workload and thus reflective learners.

      All courses emphasise opportunities to develop the core skills of communication and ICT, with many also placing emphasis on application of number.  In addition, the process of learning is enhanced through a problem-solving approach to the curriculum which facilitates students in improving their own learning and performance. These skills dovetail with the development of independent learning, so crucial for a successful Sixth Form student. Students will have the opportunity to broaden their skills by participating in either of the following as part of their core curriculum: AS Citizenship, AS Government & Politics or an AS Critical Thinking Programme. These provide students with an additional AS qualification and increased UCAS points for university entry.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to undertake an Extended Project Qualification should they desire.  This is designed as a ‘stretch and challenge’ opportunity and is highly regarded by major universities and potential employers. All Sixth Form students also undertake a general RE course which focuses on transferable skills of research, debate and presentation.

      In order to support a healthy lifestyle, students also have the opportunity to continue with a range of PE and sporting activities.

      A full tutorial programme is offered which focuses on the needs of young adults as they make the transition from the school environment.  In addition, the ‘Gifted, Able and Talented’ Programme will offer the opportunity to attend external conferences, as well as Easter and Summer Schools.

      Work Experience and work shadowing can be arranged and are a valuable preparation for the next stage of a student’s career.