Accessibility links

Photography A level at Wilmslow High School

Course description

The flexibility of the previous specification has been retained so that students can focus on an area of personal interest. The course has been designed by the art team to play to the departments strengths; offering breadth, depth, creative challenge and opportunities to explore and investigate materials in a rigorous and purposeful manner.

The photography course directly supports progression to further and higher education in photography and lens based media, as well as providing all students with a platform to inspire a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of photographic media.

The AS and A Level courses follow a natural progression from GCSE as the assessment objectives, structure and titles are very similar to those specified in the AQA GCSE Photography Design specification.

Course content

Component 1 – Portfolio (September – January)
At AS level students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of lens based media, processes and techniques. Students will explore the use of digital and traditional photographic techniques. A variety of materials, media and scales will be employed using sketchbooks/workbooks/boards to underpin their work. Work will be of an experimental nature, investigating and exploring the characteristics and qualities of media.

Students will be assessed internally at mid-term (October) and via a final assessment of the coursework Portfolio (January).

Students will also engage in one to one tutorial discussions regarding their work and progress throughout the Portfolio Unit.  The completed Portfolio is moderated internally and externally by AQA.

It is expected that students undertake at least 3.5 hours of study each week that is in addition to lesson time.

Component 2– Externally set Task (Supervised Time – 10 hours)
Students will research, investigate and plan in response to the ‘starting points’ provided by AQA and distributed to the students on the 1st February 2015.  Students will have approximately 9 weeks of preparation time to address all of the assessment objectives. Following the preparatory period, students must complete 10 hours of unaided, supervised time. In the 10 hours students must produce a finished outcome or series of related finished outcomes, informed by their preparatory work.

Work is moderated by AQA, normally in June.

At A Level, students are expected to demonstrate a greater depth of study than at AS. This might be achieved by, for example:

  • Greater specialization in a particular medium or process
  • Extended development of particular themes, ideas, concepts or issues
  • Further theoretical research and increased requirement to demonstrate understanding

through integrated practical and written forms, and other means of communication.

  • More rigorous exploration of an inter-disciplinary approach.

Please see A-Level Performance descriptors and the on-line exemplification materials provided by AQA to ensure clarity on AS an A-Level standards.

Component 1: Personal Investigation
This is a practical Investigation supported by written material.

Students are required to conduct a practical investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of related 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. The investigation must show clear development and show high quality evidence of the student’s ability to research and develop ideas and relate their work in meaningful ways to relevant critical and contextual materials, such as contemporary or past practice of photographers, artists, designers or craftspeople.

The written material must confirm understanding of creative decision making and evidence for the four assessment objectives by:

  • clarifying focus of the investigation
  • critical and contextual understanding
  • recording ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions through reflection
  • refinement of ideas and work as it progresses

The written material must also:

  • Be a coherent and logically structured extended response between 1000 and 3000 words of continuous prose.
  • Include specialist photographic vocabulary appropriate to the subject matter
  • Include a bibliography that identifies contextual references from sources such as: books, journals, and websites, through studies of others’ work made during workshops, gallery visits or residential visits.
  • Be legible with accurate use of spelling, punctuation and grammar so that meaning is clear.

The completed Personal Investigation is assessed internally and moderated externally by AQA.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment
Students will select 1 project from eight externally set ’starting points’. Students will have approximately 9 weeks to research, investigate, experiment and plan extensively, ensuring that all the Assessment Objectives are addressed. Students must stop work on their preparatory work as soon as the first period of supervised time starts. Students may refer to their preparatory work during the supervised time but must not add to or amend.

In the 15 hours students must produce a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes, informed by their preparatory work. At the end of the 15 hours of supervised time all work submitted for this component must be collected in and kept securely in school until it is moderated by AQA.

Preparatory work and the work produced during the 15 hours of supervised will be assessed together, as a whole, against all four assessment objectives.

The completed Assignment is assessed internally and moderated externally by AQA.

Entry requirements

Essential to have at least ‘C’ grade in Art at GCSE.

Further information

Photography A level

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 05 September 2016

Key information