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About the course:

Component 1: Portfolio (Coursework)

60% of the total A Level marks

The portfolio component of the course is generated through an initial foundation in and investigation of the three main genres of painting:

  1. Still Life
  2. Landscape
  3. and Portraiture

Briefs will be initially set and marked by your teacher and towards the end of the first year, you will be asked to further one of the three genres above, developing ideas independently from investigation of various contextual sources and producing outcomes in a range of appropriate media.  From February of the second year, this work will be internally assessed

The intention of this unit is to give student an understanding of the specific challenges presented by these three genres. Students will be directed to experiment with and to control a variety of media and techniques according to the relevance in relation to their idea and according to particular aptitude.

The expectation is that students will generate a body of work (which may include drawings, paintings, 3D work in clay, paper or card, photographs and digital media, annotation and contextual studies) all of which demonstrates the sustenance and development of ideas and an ability to work independently and reflectively, reviewing and refining practical work as it progresses. In the second year, a written study of approximately 1000 words will be required as a result of research into an area of study associated with the practical portfolio.

Assessment will take place termly, but students should recognise the importance of participation in group and personal critique sessions in the development of their own work. Visits to galleries, links with Wirral Metropolitan Borough College and external exhibition of work will also be a part of the course. Due to the very personal nature of the work, it is advisable, but not essential that students purchase a small stock of their own specialised materials and equipment. Students should also be prepared to make regular personal site visits and photo shoots to personalise and inform their portfolio.

Component 2: The Controlled Test (Externally set assignment)

40% of the total A Level marks.

From February in Year 2, students will select an externally set assignment and use approximately a month to prepare a practical response. Students will be given 15 hours in Controlled Test conditions to realise this as their final piece, which should draw upon skills and knowledge gained in the portfolio unit of work.

In the test you are required to demonstrate your ability to respond to:

  1. a given stimulus or issue.
  2. the work of an artist(s), designer(s) or craftsperson(s)
  3. a task that specifies an image, object or outcome to be achieved within a specified time limit.

Both components will be internally assessed by all teachers and then moderated by the AQA in May of the second year of study in an internal exhibition.

How your work is assessed:

Students are encouraged to participate actively in group and personal critique sessions in order that assessment informs the process of making work. A formal critique with two tutors is given twice yearly with written feedback.

What is expected of you:

Students should be prepared to work hard: in study periods, lessons and outside of school for example taking photographs, gathering materials, completing class studies– in essence, students need a passion for the subject in order to make good progress! Adherence to deadlines is essential for prompt feedback.

Students should be prepared to listen and to act upon the advice from all teachers in addition to contributing to critique sessions actively.

Work will usually take place in D21. These rooms are unstaffed on purpose in order that students are encouraged to work independently and to organise work and materials themselves. Students should respect materials and property and clean up accordingly.

What it prepares you for:

Any career where Design or Art History is a feature, for example: Graphic design, Product design, Interior Design, Architecture, Fashion, Sculpture, Animation, Media, Film, Curatorship, Web Design, Game Design, Journalism, Antiques, Urban planning.

Entry requirements:

A strong KS4 portfolio and at least a 5 at GCSE/Level 2 qualification.
N.B Students may find this course challenging if they achieve less than a 5 at GCSE / Level 2

For more information:

If you are an internal applicant, please talk to your art teacher about the possibility of studying Art in the sixth form. Or you may choose to talk to Mrs J Robbins (Subject Lead:Art)

If you are an external applicant and would like more details about this course please email