Art and Design A Level is for people who enjoy creating works of art and have a talent for doing so. The syllabus is very broad, which enables students to focus on virtually any aspect of art including painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture and alternative media (photography, textiles, video, installation and graphics). Students will be required to work in one or more of the disciplines. Any combination of disciplines is permitted.
All students studying A Levels must have at least five GCSEs at grade A* – C (grade 9 – 5) in academic subjects, including English Language at grade C (grade 5). Two of these must be B grades (grade 6).
Specifically for Art you will need to have GCSE Art at grade C (grade 5) or above OR Level 2 BTEC Art and Design at Merit or above. If you do not have a GCSE or BTEC in Art, you will need to show evidence of your artistic commitment through a portfolio of work.
WHAT DOES THE COURSE INVOLVE?
The first year (AS Level) is divided into two components. In September, the theme of the first component is chosen by the teacher and work begins. The second is set by the examining body (AQA) and starts in early February, with practical project work, followed by a 10-hour practical exam in which a final piece, or pieces, are produced.
Students gather mainly visual resources, and are shown how to undertake different forms of art and develop responses to those visual resources as well as how to evaluate and modify their own work. Students will create sketchbooks/portfolio of practical artwork. Students’ work should include experimentation with materials and techniques, development studies and final outcome(s) for each component.
In the second year (A Level) the course is again divided into two components, the first includes a 1,500-3,000 word illustrated essay about an artist or art movement of the student’s choice. As in the first year, students are encouraged to develop their imagination, artistic and investigative skills as well as their ability to critique their own work so as to develop their ideas more effectively. The second component is an Externally Set Assignment and involves a practical project of work and development, concluding with a 15-hour exam (in which the final piece is produced).
HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?
AS Level (Year 1):
In April/May there will be a 10-hour supervised session during which you will produce a Final Piece of work derived from the developmental work you have produced as a response to your selected exam question. Most of the work is practical, but detailed and coherent annotation of your work is also required. Everything the student produces during the year is assessed.
As A Level Art and Design is a Linear course, the marks for the AS year are not included as part of the overall A Level grade. The final A Level result is based only on the two projects of work undertaken in the second year of the course. In April/May there will be a 15-hour exam. All the work produced during the year is assessed, including the piece(s) produced during the exam.
WHERE CAN I GO NEXT?
Most A Level students go on to study at university. Students who wish to pursue art as part of a career path will usually continue to a one-year Foundation course in Art followed by a degree in a particular field such as: Fine Art (painting, print, sculpture, video), Photography, Fashion and/ or Textiles, Graphic and Media Design, Product Design or Ceramics.
Art can be useful to a whole series of different careers including product design, graphic design, design, illustration, TV advertising and website design.