Sixth Form: Art and Design

Subject Overview

A level Art and Design is designed to encourage you to develop your creative, imaginative and intellectual powers. You will expand your knowledge and understanding of art, craft and design in contemporary society and in different times and cultures. Additionally, you will be given the opportunity to explore personal ideas through sustained investigations using a wide range of materials and techniques. Visits to local and national galleries and museums are a feature of the course and you will be encouraged to experience actual artwork in its many forms.

We are proud of our success rate in Art and Design and many of our students who wish to continue studying Art are accepted for Foundation courses. Foundation students will then progress to a specialist Art Degree course. A level Art and Design will help to open up many lucrative and personally rewarding career paths but above all, the completion of our course will open your mind and will make you a more confident and culturally aware individual.

Entry requirements

Standard entry requirements.

Students will be expected to have gained a grade 5 or higher in Art or Art Photography GCSE.

Strong drawing skills are crucial to success and you should be confident about your drawing ability.  The ability and willingness to engage in thorough independent preparation and research will greatly help your chances of success.

Syllabus (Course Outline and Structure)

We will offer a choice of two specialisms: Fine Art and Photography.

A Level Art and Design consists of two components: a Personal investigation (60%) and an Externally set task (40%).

The Personal investigation has two integrated elements: a portfolio of practical work and a related written study (minimum 1000 words) which explores the context in which your chosen practical area of study exists.

There is a choice of seven themes for the Externally set task which begins at the start of February in Year 13. OCR will provide you with a list of themes.  Each theme offers a choice of written and visual starting points, briefs and stimuli and will lead to a 15 hour final piece after approximately ten weeks of research and preparation.


Both components will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning through an extended response within the context of the creative process. This reflects your ability to develop, refine and record your ideas and will demonstrate your critical and contextual understanding.

Component 01 (Personal investigation)

There are two separate sets of marks to be awarded.

You should produce two elements:

  1. A portfolio of practical work showing your personal response to a starting point devised by you.
  2. A related study: an extended response of a guided minimum of 1000 words. The related written element within the Personal investigation provides you with a further opportunity to demonstrate your ability to construct and develop a sustained and well composed line of reasoning.

Component 02 (Externally set task)

The exam paper will provide you with a choice of seven themes each with a range of written and visual starting points, briefs and stimuli.   You will chose one theme and then spend several weeks in which you will research, plan and develop ideas for a 15 hour final piece. We will determine the amount of time for preparatory study prior to you undertaking your 15-hour supervised time period.

Fine Art (H601) Learners are required to choose one or more area(s) of study, such as:

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape
  • Still life
  • Human form
  • Abstraction
  • Experimental imagery
  • Narrative
  • Installation
  • Working in a genre
Photography (H603) Learners are required to choose one or more area(s) of study, such as:

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape photography
  • Still life photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Experimental imagery
  • Editorial photography
  • Photographic installation
  • The photographic process
  • Moving image

Activities and Trips

Students will be expected to regularly visit local and national art galleries and exhibitions as part of their coursework research.  The Art Department will also organise at least one visit to a major gallery and students will be asked to make a voluntary contribution to the cost of the trip.

Expected Costs

The Art department will endeavour to provide as much as possible.  However students will need to purchase extra art materials as the course progresses.

Subject Resources

Useful Art sites for A Level students

Miss Deakin, Curriculum Leader: Art and Design