Art & Design Photography AS/A2 Level (AQA) at The North Halifax Grammar School
Examining Board – AQA Photography is a practical course with options to allow students to develop their preferred slant on this wide subject. Often this relates to other A-level subjects, university courses or career intentions. As the course develops, there are options for the following kinds of photography: • documentary • art (aesthetic), including landscape, portraiture and still-life • photography for graphic design • fashion photography • industrial and architectural • scientific • photo-journalism / publishing • experimental The course has three learning areas, combined in coursework projects:- • developing ideas and taking photographs • working on photographs digitally, using Photoshop • using critical / contextual / historical sources to develop ideas Candidates are introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of photographic, media, techniques and processes. They should explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to Photography. Their responses to these examples must be shown through practical and critical activities which demonstrate the candidates’ understanding of different styles, genres and traditions. A visit to London, Paris or New York is made in the upper sixth form as part of this area of study. Students use journals or sketchbooks to underpin their work. There is no specific requirement for candidates to demonstrate drawing skills in this endorsement unless they wish to. The course at NHGS makes use of digital photography: there is no darkroom work involved on this A level. All processing and editing of photographs is carried out using Photoshop software. Printing is done using laser and large-format inkjet printers. The subject is an expensive one to run and candidates are asked to contribute £25 towards the cost of materials in each year. This is also the case in other centres offering Photography.
A-Level Photography Results at NHGS 2012 A*- B 82% A*- E 100% 2013 A*- B 91% A*- E 100% 2014 A* - B 87% A* - E 100% 2015 A* - B 95% A* - E 100% Is Photography for you? There are no specific GCSE subject requirements in order to take photography. The following should be noted, though: • Photography is 100% coursework: if you don’t respond well to the long-term demands of coursework and deadlines you will not cope. • There is no requirement that you can draw (although you can, if it suits you). There is a requirement that you can communicate visually to a high standard, using other methods. • At NHGS the course is run with an emphasis on critical studies: as such, there is more reading and writing than you might expect. Course Structure Advanced level Photography is structured around the assessment units: two units are completed in each year of the course. AS Assessment Units Unit 1 - Coursework Portfolio : 60% of the total AS marks A series of practical and critical exercises which develop photographic and critical skills. Includes an extended project. Set and marked by the centre and moderated by AQA. Unit 2 - Controlled Test : 40% of the total AS marks : Externally-Set Candidates select one of five projects. This externally-set assignment will last from February until the end of the course. Candidates may produce preparatory work and a finished piece or pieces or work of a wholly developmental nature. During this period candidates complete 10 hours unaided, supervised time, in which they focus on developing their work. A2 Assessment Units Unit 3 Personal Investigation : 30% of the total A Level marks Candidates are required to develop a practical personal investigation based on an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by a written element of 2000 words, leading to a finished piece or pieces. Unit 4 - Controlled Test : 20 % of the total A Level marks : Externally-Set Candidates select one of eight starting points. The externally-set assignment period will last from February until the end of the course. Candidates should produce preparatory work and a finished piece or pieces. Towards the end of this period candidates complete 15 hours of unaided, supervised time. Beyond A-Level What do Photography students at NHGS go on to do? Here are the numbers for the past 2 years. Art & Design Foundation Course 4 Bakery 1 Business Management 1 Creative Writing 1 Electronic Engineering 1 Events Management 1 Fashion Marketing 1 Fashion Photography 1 Film & Media Production 2 French 1 Interior Design 1 ITV Post Production (Job) 1 Journalism 1 Marine Biology (Oceanography) 1 Marketing with Advertising 1 Music 1 Nursing 1 Photography 2 Policing 1 Primary Education 1 Royal College of Music (Voice) 1 Science 1 Sociology with Criminology 1 Textile Design 1 All of the Universities above, accepted Photography as a valid A-Level for entry onto these courses. How to hit the ground running… To make a good start in this subject you could (1) start a collection of photos that you think are good ones, your favourites, and (2) if you have a camera, get your head around the manual and experiment with how it works. For further information please contact Mr D Allen, Head of Photography
To find out more about this qualification, contact us, ask your Connexions Personal Adviser or school/college careers staff.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The North Halifax Grammar School directly.