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Art and Design AS and A Level at Tapton School

Course description

This is a chance to work with a wide range of exciting and interesting materials on a course where new skills and techniques are taught in a series of compact workshops.

Students will be encouraged to visit galleries; school trips are planned to London and Paris.  Learning from the work of others is intergral to the course.  Students are then enabled to follow their own paths with a wider vision.

Course content

Skills workshops:

  • Fine Art: Drawing and painting using a range of techniques and styles.  You will use a range of mediums, including oil, chalk, pastel, charcoal, pencil, acrylics, mono-printing, etching and water colours.
  • Textiles: Batik, screen printing, felt making, silk painting, weaving, free machine embroidery.
  • Sculpture: Clay, card, wire construction, plaster.
  • ICT: use of Abode Photoshop, digital camera.
  • Design: Aspects of design e.g. architecture, graphics, text, posters, packaging, related ICT.
  • Research: As part of the programme of study, students must research and leanr from investigations into the work of other artists, crafts persons and designers.

At AS Level, the AQA  specification has two components:

Component 1: Portfolio coursework: 60% of marks at AS. Students must produce  work in at least two of the areas listed above and produce relevant outcomes.

Component 2: Externally set Examination: 40% of marks at AS.  Set by the board, a series of starting points distributed on 1st February.  A lead-in or preparation time to allow for investigation and idea development followed by 10 hours of unaided supervised time to produce a finished outcome.  Preparation work must stop at the beginning of the first session and be stored securely with the exam officer between exam sessions.


At A Level, the AQA specification has two components:

  • Component 1:  Personal investigation: 60% of marks.  This is a practical investigation supported by written material.  Students are required to produce in depth investigations into an idea, issue, theme or concept of their choosing.  This will be supported by a written response of 3000 words max of continuous prose.
  • Component 2:  Externally set Examination: 40% of marks: Set by the board, a series of starting points distributed 1st February.  A lead-in or preperation time, followed by a supervised exam of 15 hours where students work unaided to produce a finished outcome.  Preperation work must finish at the beginning of the first session and be stored securely with the exam officer between exam sessions.
  • Students at Tapton invariably follow a very individual course of study, using the initial workshops to extend , develop skills and techniques., and support the developments of ideas.  contextual studies are at the core of our teaching in a very practical way.

Entry requirements

Grade 5 at GCSE, in Art and Design or a related subject e.g. Tech Graphics or Textiles, although students with extenuating circumstances, and the right attitude could do well, and might be accepted.

A grade D is needed in AS Art to progress to the A Level.


  • Throughout the course students will take part in peer-group and self assessment in order to familiarise  themselves with the Assessment Objectives, and become more objective in their skills of critique.
  • Staff review work with students on a one-to-one  basis regularly, giving support, feedback and set targets for improvement and progression.
  • Both units are internally assessed  at the end of the course, and marks are moderated by a visiting assessor from AQA.

Financial information

A contribution to materials is requested at the beginning of the course to enable us to offer such a broad and exciting course.  This is not likely to exceed £15.  In addition, you will need basic personal equipment and a sketch pad and folder.  All of these are available at competitive prices from the school shop.

Future opportunities

Progression in Art and Design is diverse. 

Students often attend further study at foundation level to further develop skills and decide a direction which could range from Architecture or theatre and costume design through Fine Art, to Fashion, or interior furnishings or graphic and product design.  The opportunities are very wide.  Many of our students have progressed on to direct entry to study Architecture, Marketing, Interior Design, Fashion etc. 

In our increasingly visual society, there are many varied routes to take; to explore ideas further you could look out for the 'Art and Design Courses' guide series published by Trotman which includes UCAS and Non-UCAS institutions, or search the UCAS website.

Recently one of our students told us that she was accepted on a Medicine course because 'Art' developed creative thinking, she did get 5 A*'s though!

Students have gone on to study Fashion, Architecture, Fine Art, Teaching, at Glasgow, London Royal College, Cambridge etc.

Students have gone on to study Fashion, Architecture, Fine Art, Teaching, at Glasgow, London Royal College, Cambridge etc.

Further information

Exam results are consistently outstanding, with the vast majority of grades at A or A*.

High standards and excellence is our expectation. Last year 30% of students gained an A*; 65% A*-A; 95% A*-B; 100% A*-C.  In 2014 50% of students gained an A* and 75% A*-A, and 88% A*-B.

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: 20 November 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 year