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Photography A Level at St Paul's Catholic School

Course description

Photography is increasingly popular as an A level choice. It provides the perfect opportunity to learn to produce work at a professional standard, at the same time encouraging the exploration of photography as an artistic medium. Students will explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to photography from the past and recent times.

Students will develop visual language skills such as the formal elements, ability to respond to an issue, appreciation of composition, appropriate use of the camera, presentation and layout, digital media skills and the techniques related to printing, manipulating and editing photographic images. Responses will be through practical and critical activities using digital techniques and processes.

Course content

The A Level course is a two year course. The first year will consist of a foundation year where students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of skills and areas of photography, such as Portraiture, Still Life, Photojournalism, Fashion, Documentary, Experimental Imagery, Multimedia, Photographic Installation and Moving Image.

Students will also have the opportunity to be involved in trips where they can experience art work and artifacts first hand. This will act as a base for their coursework component in the second year, where students can choose which two areas they wish to focus on for their A level.

The course consists of two components: a coursework component and an externally set assignment, each covering four assessment objectives (AO1-4) as outlined below.

The coursework element is equal to 60% of the overall grade with the exam making up the remaining 40%

Entry requirements

5 A*-C grades at GCSE or their equivalent; these should include Art and English. A student who has not gained a GCSE in Art and/or English may be considered after the submission of a portfolio of work and/or an essay.


Component 1: Students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical work should make connections with artists, designers, photographers or craftspeople and this must be supported by written work of between 1000 and 3000 words.

Component 2: Students respond to a choice of 8 questions, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints, developing a personal and meaningful response which addresses all the assessment objectives and leads to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes.

AO1: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

AO2: Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Future opportunities

Studying Photography provides you with both technical and transferable skills that could lead to a range of careers in the creative industries such as: photography, film, advertising, animation, geological surveillance, architecture, graphic design, game design, digital printing, and illustration to name a few.

This exciting course supports progression to further and higher education in Art and Design and other creative and analytical subjects, builds skills of observation, creative problem solving, evaluation and 30 analysis, as well as providing all students with a rich platform to inspire a lifelong interest in and enjoyment of Photography.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 10 June 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years