Guide to Art, Design and Technology Courses

Art and Design (A Level, AQA exam board)

Why study Art?  

The course will equip you with the skills, knowledge and understanding to access a wide range of careers in the creative industries or progress to higher education.  It will also develop your analytical skills, organisational ability, and time-management skills; it will allow you to see the world around you from a unique perspective. You do not need to have studied Art at GCSE but will need a portfolio interview if this is the case.
 
What can it lead to?  
 
A variety of creative fields including: illustration, interior design, graphic design, theatre costume and set design, fashion, architecture and advertising. It can also lead to other careers like teaching, museum education and art therapy.
 
What are the areas of study?  
 
Following an introductory programme in Year 12, allowing you to develop skills in a range of media and techniques, you will complete two components.  Component 1 is a Portfolio (60% of the A Level); you select your own area of interest to explore and through research, investigation and experimentation and you will develop a creative body of work to submit.  Component 2 is an externally set assignment (40%), a theme that you are required to develop into an exam piece. You are required to investigate artists and visit exhibitions, showing how these artists have influenced your own work.
 
 

Art and Design: Graphic Communication (A Level, AQA exam board) 

Why study Graphic Communication? 
 
You will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding for entry to employment in the art and design industry or progression to higher education.  You will undertake practical structured learning with the flexibility to specialise in different design areas directly relevant to employment within the industry, including digital imaging, illustration, photography, 3-dimensional design, and art. 
 
What can it lead on to?
 
The flexibility and range of units on this course lead naturally on to the design industry, where those seeking employment will produce a comprehensive and varied portfolio covering a breadth of relevant skills.  This can lead to diverse careers such as graphic designer, animator, set designer, illustrator, art director or creative director.  Or this could also lead to a leadership position within a creative organisation such as an advertising agency or industrial design firm.  This qualification can also be used for entry for higher education courses and careers, not just in graphic design but also in media, fashion, journalism, fine art, education and music or film studies.
 
What are the areas of study?
 
This qualification focuses on the recognition of achievement through practical graphic communication skills - blending artwork with photography, analytical and planning skills, 3-D design, editing skills and artistic presentation.  You may choose to explore interactive media such as web design, advertising, packaging design, design for print, illustration, communication graphics, or branding.   You will undertake one internally assessed coursework unit which requires you to conduct a practical investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme of your own choosing, covering a variety of design techniques.  This coursework unit also includes a sustained critical and contextual study of design practitioners relevant to your theme, which may include the practice of artists, photographers, designers or craftspeople.  In addition, you will take an internally assessed examination unit which will further develop your skills and understanding of graphic communication.  Both units are externally moderated following internal assessment.  Participating in relevant competitions and exhibitions is also encouraged and can help you to promote yourself and build up your contacts within the industry.
 
 

Art and Design: Photography (A Level, AQA exam board) 

Why study Photography? 
 
You will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding for entry to employment in the photographic industry or progression to higher education.  You will undertake practical structured learning with the flexibility to specialise in different photographic areas directly relevant to employment within the industry, including digital imaging, darkroom technology, studio photography, photojournalism, documentary photography and art installation. 
 
What can it lead on to?
 
The flexibility and range of units on this course lead naturally on to the photographic industry, where those seeking employment will produce a comprehensive and varied portfolio covering a breadth of relevant skills.  This can lead to a myriad of careers in the industry from photographer to set designer, art director to make-up artist, picture editor to cinematographer and many more.  This qualification can also be used for entry for higher education courses and careers, not just in photography but also in media, fashion, journalism, fine art, education and film studies.
 
What are the areas of study?
 
This qualification focuses on the recognition of achievement through practical photography skills, analytical and planning skills, editing skills and artistic presentation.  You will undertake one internally assessed coursework unit which requires you to work to a theme of your own choosing, covering a variety of photographic styles.  This will involve exploring four separate and distinct ideas relating to your theme, followed by further developments of your ideas which will lead to the presentation of a final piece or series.  This coursework unit also includes a sustained critical and contextual study of current and historical photography relevant to your theme.  In addition, you will take an internally assessed examination unit which will further develop your skills and understanding of photography.  Both units are externally moderated following internal assessment.