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GCSE Art and Design

Exam Board: AQA

Why should I choose this subject?

The study of Art and Design provides a balance with the more academic subjects, giving pupils the opportunity to develop and extend their creative, imaginative and technical skills. Through experimentation with a range of traditional and digital media, such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and ceramics, pupils explore and investigate the visual world. They develop their critical skills, making connections and reflecting on the work of artists and designers, and learn to communicate their own ideas and opinions. Pupils are able to express their individuality through sketchbook research and the development of high quality final responses.

What does the subject consist of?

At Kingham Hill we focus on Fine Art which allows pupils to explore ideas, convey experiences or respond to a theme or issue of personal significance and interest. The 4th form begins with two introductory units, “Play and Process” which encourages experimentation in a series of short, fun, practical workshops allowing pupils to broaden their experience and develop their creative thinking. Unit 2 focuses on building confidence in approaches to observational drawing, painting and ceramics. During 5th form pupils focus on Unit 3 “ Personal Choice”, their major, extended project where, with support, pupils select a theme in which they are personally interested and produce an in-depth body of work leading to a final response, using any media or techniques they wish to explore. Unit 4 is an extended examination project; pupils choose, and explore a theme from the AQA question paper, developing their own ideas and responses in class. The final piece is completed under supervised conditions.

How is this subject assessed?

This is a coursework-based subject. Component 1: “The Portfolio”, consists of Units 1, 2 and 3. This is worth 60% of the final mark. Component 2 is the examination project (Externally Set Assignment) and is worth 40% of the final mark. Work is marked in accordance with the four assessment objectives where pupils are expected to show the ability to respond to artists, record, experiment with materials and ideas and produce a resolved final response. Regular feedback and support is given throughout the two years to help pupils achieve their best.

Whom does the subject suit?

Above all, we want to see pupils who show a real enthusiasm for, and interest in, Art and Design. It can be the first step for those pupils considering a creative career and a fantastic balance with academic subjects. Pupils should demonstrate some ability to draw, experiment with materials and develop ideas. We love to see pupils with imagination, curiosity, a willingness to learn and to challenge themselves. Pupils will need to respond to the work of other artists so some written analysis will be required.

What else should pupils consider before choosing this subject?

This is a linear specification and pupils need to be able to sustain a project over a period of some weeks. Independence, self-discipline and resilience are therefore very important as well as commitment and a willingness to respond to feedback.