Key Stage 4

Exam board: EdExcel

Students in Year 9 who opt to take Photography will complete a diverse range of workshops covering composition, focus, exposure, colour and lighting.  They also follow a series of exercises designed to develop Photoshop based digital editing skills, they are taught to develop traditional photography skills using the school darkroom and they learn to use studio equipment effectively.  Students also develop a personal project with ideas of their choosing, covering skills in portraiture, still-life, landscape and macro photography. GCSE students are encouraged to access the darkroom facilities outside normal lesson times.

Term 1 – Photography theory, darkroom techniques and nature project

Term 2 – Photoshop skills and ideas of their own choice

Term 3 – Photoshop skills, physical editing skills and ideas of their own choice

During Years 10 and 11, students will take an independent approach to their GCSE personal project and will select their own ideas to investigate. This theme will be explored and developed using a wide range of skills and techniques reflecting the style of both contemporary and historic artist links. The pupils will produce an exciting and original personal portfolio in reflection of the four assessment objectives and will explore a range of photographic techniques.

Key stage 5 

Exam board: AQA

Component 1: Personal investigation 96 marks (60%)

Students are required to conduct a practical investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. There is no restriction on the scale of practical work produced. It must confirm understanding of creative decisions, providing evidence of all four assessment objectives by:

  • clarifying the focus of the investigation
  • demonstrating critical understanding of contextual and other sources
  • substantiating decisions leading to the development and refinement of ideas
  • recording ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions by reflecting critically on practical work
  • making meaningful connections between, visual, written and other elements.

Component 2: Externally set assignment 96 marks (40%)

Students are to choose one question from a range of questions supplied by the exam board. Following receipt of the paper, students need to consider their starting points and select one. Following a preparation period, students have a 15-hour period to produce their finished outcome. There is no restriction on the scale of work produced.

Department staff

  • Mrs K Cato -  Curriculum Leader
  • Mrs D McHale - Art and Photography Teacher
  • Ms B Inscoe - Art and Photography Teacher
  • Ms J Whitfield - Art and Photography Teacher
  • Ms K Shiels - Design Technology, Art and Photography Technician
  • Mr P Bates - Design Technology, Art and Photography Technician

Useful websites and resources - Useful glossary of terms and advice on techniques step-by-step videos – search the technique you want help/advice on. - lots of articles and advice from teachers and students. Includes lots of examples of very high-quality art portfolios from all over the world.  Perfect inspiration for all years. - Design website dedicated to up and coming artists and photographers

AQA exam board website (Key Stage 5):

EdExcel exam board website (Key Stage 4):