Qualification: A-Level

Awarding Body:
Length of Course:
2 Years

The setup of A level Photography is very similar to a GCSE course in an Art subject.  Students who have this prior knowledge often find it easier to manage time and commitments as they have learned from the GCSE expectations.

The department aims to undertake a continental tour as often as is practical to allow students to view work in some of the greatest galleries in Europe and to be inspired by the places they visit.  In recent years we have visited Amsterdam, London, Paris, Barcelona and Venice.


A Level

This course comprise of:

Personal Investigation (60% of marks)

  • Students submit one major project that has personal significance to them.  They decide this topic in conversation with their subject teacher, after the completion of their year 12 studies.  This topic is heavily personalised and acts as a portfolio in which students can explore a theme related directly to a university course or area of study in further education, for example, Photo-journalism.  The subsequent portfolio produced can then accompany students to university interviews to demonstrate their high ability and level of creative work using manipulation software and camera skills and techniques.
  • Their Personal Investigation is also accompanied by a piece of related critical writing.  This draws upon significant photographers or periods in Photographic or Graphic Design history which relate to their chosen theme.  The essay should be between 3000 and 3500 words and can be submitted as a separate digital document, for example, a PowerPoint Presentation. This assignment acts as an academic accompaniment to the creative characteristics addressed in their portfolio.  It is assessed as part of their whole coursework under the umbrella of assessment objective one.

Exam – Externally Set Task (40% of marks)

  • The format of the exam is identical to that studied at AS level.  Students select one starting point from a question paper set by the board and are given a set period of preparatory time in which to complete it.  This begins on 1st Feb or at the nearest point after this date.  Between February and April they work on their preparatory work in class time, study periods and any gained time at home.
  • At the end of the exam period students are given 15 hours of controlled time to realise their ideas into a final series of outcomes.  This takes the form of three days off timetable, normally at the end of April.
  • The end of the 15 hours exam time signifies the end of the entire A level course.  Some changes and additions may be added to students coursework modules but assessment of work begins in the middle of May internally within the department and subsequently this is moderated.


Relevance to Further Studies and Careers

We believe this AQA course to be the most challenging and rewarding for all students wishing to embark upon a creative career path.  Its breadth and depth have significant impact across a multitude of further education subject areas and establishments. This is reflected in the university entries and submissions in recent years. We have had students apply to study at a range of both local and UK based universities and the growing popularity of digital based creative work also allows students to embark upon more hands on apprenticeships and vocational pathways.

Entry Requirements

No formal requirements