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Fine Art A Level at Westcliff High School for Boys

Course description

This specification provides candidates with opportunities to develop personal responses to ideas, observations, experiences, environments and cultures in practical, critical and contextual forms. This specification lays an appropriate foundation for further study of Art and Design or related subjects in Higher Education. In addition, it is suitable for the diverse range of candidates who wish to develop their interest in and enjoyment of Art and Design, fostering its value in lifelong learning. Candidates are required to participate actively in their course of study, recognising and developing their own strengths in the subject and identifying and sustaining their own lines of enquiry. 

Course content

The Advanced Subsidiary Curriculum: Unit 1: Portfolio (Teacher Assessed moderated by AQA). 50%

This is a Portfolio Unit, in which a teacher led course of studies is designed to give the students skills in all aspects of Fine Art based visual communication and related artistic language. The unit is constructed into an initial skills based set of activities that explore a range of materials and how they are appropriate to use. Students are introduced to the work of real artists and use this investigation to inform their own studies. Students are encouraged to work from primary sources. It is essential that the students learn how to review and refine their progress and demonstrate a clear journey towards considered outcomes through educated analysis and selection of ideas. This unit is crucial in guiding the students to becoming independent learners. There is no restriction in the scale of work produced but candidates should carefully select, organise and present work to ensure that they provide evidence of meeting all four assessment objectives. 

Unit 2: Externally Set Assessment (Teacher Assessed moderated by AQA). 50%

This is seen as the bringing together of the learning pathways from Unit 1. The board will set a paper with a number of broad-based thematic starting points. Students will be given the paper on 1 February and will work towards a number of possible outcomes, over a period of weeks. Students will be expected to work form primary sources and investigate a number processes with appropriate materials. They will be expected to source the work of a number of artist that demonstrate the uses of good practice. The board require one 5 hour controlled assessed piece and a number of substantial developmental outcomes. 

The A2 Curriculum: Unit 3: Personal Study (Teacher Assessed moderated by AQA). 50%

This unit is the beginning of the student getting to grips with the idea of being a fully developed independent learner. The unit demands a keen interest in the written academic nature of Fine Art and it applications in providing visual outcomes which demonstrate a through grasp of techniques, materials and concepts. This a practical unit with written elements in which candidates are expected to develop a personal investigation based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished piece or pieces.

It is a requirement that the students complete a 1000-3000 word written thesis on the work of Artists that they see as being beneficial to their gaining an appreciation of work methods of real artists. Written material of a critical, analytical nature can be included in a variety of forms, such as a personal study, a journal, a log, reports on gallery visits or an evaluation and reflection on candidates’ work and that of others. Sources should be identified and a bibliography and list of visits should be included.

Unit 4: Externally set Assessment (Teacher Assessed moderated by AQA). 50%

Separate question papers will be set for each option by the examination board. These will consist of a choice of eight questions to be used as starting points. Candidates are required to select one. Preparatory work should be submitted in any appropriate form, such as mounted sheets, study-sheets, sketchbooks, workbooks, journals, models and maquettes. Towards the end of the examination period candidates should complete 15 hours of unaided and supervised time, the first 3 hours of which should be consecutive. Candidates should produce a clearly defined selection of work that makes up a whole, leading to a finished piece or pieces. Candidates will be assessed on their ability to work independently within the specific time constraints, developing a personal response, and addressing all four assessment objectives. 

Entry requirements

Students will require at least a B grade in GCSE Art. 


Candidates should produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas including painting, drawing, mixed-media, sculpture, land art, installation, printmaking, film, animation, television, video and photography: lens-based and/or light-based media. In the A2 units, candidates are required to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained in the AS with greater depth of study. This might be achieved by, for example: greater specialisation in a particular medium or process, extended development of particular themes, ideas, concepts or issues, and further theoretical research.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 09 June 2015

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