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Photography A level at St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College

Course description

The UK creative industries were worth a record £76.9 billion to the UK economy in 2013. Growth in the creative industries was higher than in any other UK industry and was three times the average increase in the UK economy during this period.

The sectors, which include advertising, architecture, crafts, design, film, games, publishing, museums and galleries, music, technology and television, are an important source of job creation for the UK. 

Studying Photography at St Charles Sixth Form College is the first step to becoming part of the UK creative industries. The skills you will be taught as a photography student at St Charles will prepare you for a diverse range of pathways – whether it be; fine art, fashion, photojournalism, advertising, film, medicine, forensics, etc. St Charles can help you to prepare for the next step, and begin your creative career path.

Course content

The qualification consists of 2 components –

  • Component 1: Personal Investigation (60% of A Level) 
  • Component 2: Externally Set Assignment (40% of A Level) 

Both components are internally assessed and then externally moderated.

Entry requirements

Minimum 6 GCSEs at grade A*- C (including English Language) for A Level study programmes.

A Photographic portfolio that demonstrates both an interest and ability in the subject area is required – This can be provided digitally on a USB or SD card or in print and ideally will contain between 25 and 30 images. Try to include photographs that give your own unique perspective of the world whether it is the angles you photograph from or the content of the images you take - the best portfolios will have a sense of the photographers’ personality/interests.


A Level qualifications are assessed against 4 main criteria:

  • A01: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.
  • A02: Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
  • A03: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.
  • A04: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Financial information

Students are not required to purchase expensive photographic equipment and cameras are provided for students to use.  We do require students to buy a photography kit upon arrival to the department at a cost of £20 this will include sketchbooks, film and photographic paper, colour digital printing, stencils and mount board/foam board for exhibition purposes.

Future opportunities

Most students who wish to pursue Photography beyond A Level go onto study a Foundation Diploma, and then access Higher Education, which is the preferred route for most creative degree courses.  Many students also progress straight to degree level.

The department has built links with many leading creative universities, and many students gain places at prestigious institutions such as University of the Arts London Colleges (Central Saint Martins, CCW, LCC LCF), Ravensbourne, Middlesex, and further afield in Newport, Edinburgh, Newcastle and many more.

The range of specialisms applied for is diverse, but may include Fine Art Photography, Film & Television, Fashion, Animation, Advertising, Commercial Photography, Media & Communication, Visual Communication, Professional Photography, Photography & Digital Imaging, Creative Media Production.

Further information

There are many extra curricular courses and events to get involved in as a student in the Art Department. Recent examples include an in house photography and bookmaking course in collaboration with a local hospital, a Photography course and exhibition at Central Saint Martins, Summer schools in Product Design, Interior & Spatial Design, Fashion Design, Photography and Textiles with Ravensbourne, Chelsea and Camberwell College of Arts, an animation course with the Courtauld gallery, as well as in house life drawing sessions. We also invite tutors from higher education in to offer portfolio advice to support students applying to higher education.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 12 October 2016
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