Art & Design


Why should I study this subject?

Are you creative and imaginative?

Do you enjoy exploring ideas and looking at things in different ways?

AQA GCSE Art and Design is about looking, learning, thinking and communicating. You will enjoy developing your understanding of the visual world, learning practical skills and responding to ideas and issues in ways that are personal to you.

The course offers you the opportunity to use your creativity to express yourself. You will develop your understanding of creative processes, your ability to observe and to think, to solve problems and to communicate in a visual way. It will enable you to work independently and to make your own discoveries by exploring ideas, other artists’ work and different materials and techniques. Art and Design gives you the skills and knowledge to create personal and imaginative work. If you have an adventurous, creative and enquiring mind and are excited by shaping and determining the visual world around us, then this could be the subject for you.

It is an exceptionally enriching and stimulating subject. While many pupils opt to take Art for GCSE because they greatly enjoy the subject and/or because they possess natural artistic flair, the vast majority do so because they recognise its broader educational value. The increasing dominance of visual communication in the modern world – perhaps one of its defining features – means that art is a very important academic subject. It is worth noting that in the UK economy, the Creative Sector (underpinned by visual artists) is second only to the Financial Sector as a generator of income for the Exchequer.

Other information you may want to know… A few myths dispelled:

  • You do not have to be ‘brilliant at drawing’ to gain a top grade for GCSE Art and design. Photography; using computers to manipulate imagery; using video; doing art historical research; establishing meaningful links with other subjects such as music, drama and history; coming up with good ideas…these are just some of the things which make the most successful GCSE artists.
  • Some people may tell you that there is ‘far too much coursework for art’. This is an oversimplification. Whilst the proportion of the final GCSE grade determined by coursework is high (60%), it is sensibly spread over one-and-a-half years, the final half year being devoted to the exam unit. Pupils have ample time to manage and complete their coursework, which is nothing to be afraid of.

What will I study?

As part of the course you will learn the creative Art and Design process by producing research, ideas, recordings and presenting this in a sketchbook using the following mediums:

Fine Art: for example drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, lens-/light-based media, photography and the moving image, printmaking, mixed media and land art.

Graphic communication: for example communication graphics, design for print, advertising and branding, illustration, typography, Character design, Game design, multimedia, motion graphics, signage and exhibition graphics. Use graphic communication techniques and processes, appropriate to students’ personal intentions, for example:

Photography: for example portraiture, location photography, studio photography, experimental imagery, installation, documentary photography, photo-journalism, moving image: film, video and animation, fashion photography.

Component 1: must show evidence of working in areas of study drawn from two or more of the units taking into account the distinguishing characteristics of art and design.
Component 2: must show evidence of areas of study drawn from one or more of the units.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through two components:

Component 1: Coursework (Sketchbook/Portfolio of Evidence) which is worth 60% of the final grade. This component is followed from September of Year 10 until January of Year 11. This is made up of several projects, workshops and tutorials.

  • Foundation Project: Combining all skill sets from each option (Fine Art, Graphics and Photography)
  • Mini Project (Yr10)
  • Personal Project (Yr10 /11):You choose the type, style and subject in collaboration with your teacher.This project allows you a deeper level of personal response and freedom to develop skills and knowledge in an area of your own particular interest.You will research a wide range of artists and investigate current ideas and past examples in relation to your chosen theme.

Component 2: Externally set Assignment (Exam Project) which is worth 40% of the final grade. It runs from January-April of Year 11 with preparation time, including a 10 hour timed period over several days/weeks in which to complete a final Piece. Both components are evidenced using sketchbooks , Eportfolio and final pieces.

What skills will I learn?

In choosing a creative subject you are developing a wide range of personal and technical skills that will be part of every lesson and integrated ethos e.g. problem solving, independent learning, research skills, critical analysis, evaluation, communication and organisation skills. You will develop skills in personal motivation to meet deadlines. The course has many small deadlines to enable you to persevere and improve the quality of your work as you go along.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Know the most significant artists and designers within history and the different types of art movements.
  • Research and respond to a range of art and artists.
  • Develop your skills in recording this will include many types of primary observations and the use of images.
  • Learn how to use a range of media e.g. graphic pens, ink, watercolour, acrylic, photoshop (editing software)
  • Use different techniques; painting, illustration, printing, drawing (wet and dry skills) and 3D manipulation, basic photography and digital media including animation/ Video skills.
  • Learn how to critically respond to artwork, understanding their ideas,messages and context.
  • Understand the visual language of art and design.
  • Learn how to critique and annotate work through an evaluative process.
  • Learn how to present final works and outcomes into a gallery space for exhibition.

What equipment will I need?

Art and Design does require you to have a set of basic equipment at home e.g. graded pencils, paints brushes, paper to allow work to carry on beyond the classroom. You can borrow items but only for short periods of time as stock is limited. You can purchase your sketchbook or use a school book.

How will this subject develop my sense of character and culture?

Art, and Design will provide you with a wider understanding of global issues and expose you to a range of cultural ideas through researching visual art. It will help you to communicate through images and read and reflect on what we see within our society. In capturing life you are capturing history, society and culture.

Where can this subject take me?

This qualification can take you on to further study at A level or higher education. Art and Design is an excellent subject to show an employer your versatility as well as creativity, commitment and diversity. There are many careers that are connected to the visual arts where art is an essential skill.
You may decide to continue this qualification and pursue one of the following professions: Artist, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Architect.

Where can I find out more?

What other subjects would compliment my learning in this qualification?

The Curriculum Team

Miss P Barron
Teacher of Art
Mr P Plunkett
Subject Leader of Architecture
Mrs S White
Subject Leader of Art and Photography