A Level Art, Craft and Design


What is it about at sixth form level?

At this level, you will start gaining a more profound understanding of the processes and techniques involved in the production of art. You will want to develop your flair for creativity and we will want to help you channel it by exposing you to new ideas. We will be pushing you beyond your comfort zone so that you can realise your full potential.

Lower sixth

Our approach is to support and encourage the development of analytical and expressive skills in appropriately structured projects. You will be encouraged to familiarise yourself with different materials and techniques: line and tone, colour, harmony and composition. We will introduce a range of two-dimensional media: everything from printmaking to painting and figure drawing. You will learn how to develop your ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding. You will explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, and review and refine your ideas as your work develops. You will record your ideas, observations and insights relevant to your intentions, reflecting critically on your work and progress. As a student in the heart of London, you will have access to some of the world’s best museums, galleries and exhibitions. This will result in a personal and meaningful response which, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will develop your skills and understanding to a higher standard. You will continue to be given close technical instruction and supervision, but you will be required to adopt a much more independent and student-led approach. You will be working on your personal investigation, which is the first of the two components of your final assessment. It has two parts. The first is a major, in-depth, practical, critical and theoretical investigative project or theme-based portfolio and outcomes. The second is an integrated and extended written piece of critical and contextual analysis (1,000 words minimum).

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

An A level in Art, Craft and Design is an excellent basis on which to apply to study the subject further at art college or university as, along with the skills, it will provide you with the portfolio you will need for your application. It is also very useful if you wish to work or study in areas relating to design, fashion and architecture. The course will develop your skills in drawing and visualisation and these have value far beyond courses such as those mentioned already. Engineering and medicine provide two excellent examples of where these skills are of great importance.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need some experience in art that has been formally assessed, such as an (I)GCSE in Art. You will need to be used to working in a drawing and painting medium. Although not essential, it is beneficial to have some experience with photo-editing software such as Photoshop.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

The AS is a one-year course and is entirely assessed by coursework, this being the results of your thematic approach to an internally-set theme.

A level

The A level is a two-year course and all assessment takes place at the end of the second year. There are two components. Component 1 is your personal investigation, which is the coursework component. Component 2 is the externally set assignment. You will be required to develop independently a personal response to one of a varied range of stimuli within spaecified time constraints. The assignment consists of a series of visual (including moving image) and written stimuli set by the exam board. You will develop your response over a preparatory study period. Following the preparatory study period, you will be allocated a period of 15 hours sustained focus study to realise your response unaided and under supervised conditions. Component 1 is worth 60% of the A level and Component 2 is worth 40% of the A level.


History of Modern Art
By H. H. Arnason
Published by Thames & Hudson, ISBN 978-0500237571

The Story of Art
By E. Gombrich
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 978-0714832470 

The Story of Modern Art
By N. Lynton
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 978-0714824222

Art of 20th Century
By K. Ruhrberg, M. Schneckenburger
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 978-0714824222

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: WJEC Art and Design B650QSL, A level: WJEC Art and Design A650QSL

Greg Ioannou
Head of Department