Art & Design: Photography

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This is a creative, art based course. Students will learn the techniques of both digital and film photography and apply this knowledge and understanding to their own practice. Ideas, themes and projects will be teacher led but student developed in the first year, with experimentation and exploration being encouraged.

Year 13 will focus more on the students’ own practice and students will be expected to evidence the work of those artists and photographers who have influenced and informed their work. The Externally Set Assignment (ESA) will form the last few months of the course, leading up to an exhibition of all coursework and exam (ESA) work in June.  

Awarding Body:   AQA

Specification:       Photography, code 7206


Grade 4 in GCSE English.  

Course Content & Assessment



The Personal Investigation is intended to form a basis on which students develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in creating a rich visual language in the context of selected ideas. Ideas provide the starting point for all Art and Design practice, form an integral part of the creative process and lie at the heart of assessment for Photography A Level.

This Unit incorporates two elements; practical work and a written personal study. Practical investigation and application forms the basis and foundation of this Unit. Students will identify areas of study and will pursue their own creative and visual ideas in their chosen area of Photography. Students will demonstrate the ability to resolve issues and express ideas that emerge as part of the process of creating photographic images. Students will be given opportunities to generate and develop ideas, research primary and contextual sources, record practical and written observations, experiment with media and processes, and refine ideas towards producing personal resolved outcomes.  Students will be expected to build on and develop their existing skills and demonstrate skilful use of the formal elements within Photography. In developing these skills students will experiment with a wide range of media and methods, learning to manipulate materials in order to describe the observed forms, images and objects.

Alongside this students will be researching, evaluating and analysing the work of others’ photography, art, craft and design. The choice of photographers or artists studied will depend on the nature of the practical study, and both will inform the other. The Personal Investigation should have as part of its outcome a written piece of work. This will be assessed as part of Unit 1.


The unit comprises two major elements: preparatory work and a 15 hour timed piece. The preparatory work will incorporate a portfolio of practical developmental work and annotation. Students work through ideas, processes, experimentations and explorations for the timed test with guidance from the teaching staff, demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the skills, processes, media and materials learnt during Unit 1.

Students will receive the title for the ESA in January of the second year and produce their final piece of work for the assignment in May during the 15 hour period of sustained study (the timed test).


Practical Personal Investigation – 60% of total marks.

Externally Set Assignment (practical exam at the end of Y13) – 40% of total marks.

Art & Photography Department

Subject Leader Miss S Gomersall
  Mr B Woolf
  Miss K Leigh
Art Technician Mrs E Clark


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