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Component 1: Personal investigation

In year 12 students will complete a Foundation stage working in different areas of fine art: drawing, painting, collage, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. This is supplemented with lessons in critical and contextual studies and trips to central London galleries. Students will develop personal responses to the theme Culture and Society. The development of ideas is documented in a sketchbook and the project culminates in an ambitious final piece.

In year 13 students develop their personal investigation further, creating work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical elements should make connections with some aspect of contemporary or past practice of artists and/or photographers and include written work of no less than 1000 and no more than 3000 words which supports the practical work.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

The title for the A-Level Fine Art exam project will be released in early February. Students have a period of 8-10 weeks (plus the spring half term and Easter holiday) to develop ideas through preparatory studies before spending two days in the department realising a final outcome as part of the 15 hours, controlled assessment.

Year 12

Foundation – Culture and Society

Exploring personal ideas independently through 4-week introductory workshops.


  • drawing
  • sculpture
  • painting


  • printmaking
  • film/photography
  • collage


  • gallery visits, artist talks
  • prepare for A2 Personal Investigation.
  • presentations

Critical and contextual lessons to support understanding and written analysis of modern and contemporary art concepts. ‘Ways of Seeing’ John Berger.

Year 13


Personal Investigation, written and practical components

  • 3 strands on chosen theme of interest
  • five-hour HW pieces completed
  • complete first draft of essay
  • Foundation/degree applications


  • complete final draft of essay and present through Blurb books or Photo Box
  • develop and refine area of interest
  • complete final piece(s) mock exam


  • Exam unit

What have students who have taken this course in the past progressed to?

Students who have successfully completed the A-Level in Art have all been able to secure places on foundation diplomas in art and design and/or first degrees in art and design related areas including architecture and fine art.

How will I learn?

You will have six periods a week of taught lessons which are normally three double lessons. We expect you to arrive punctually, ready to work and equipped with materials you need to complete work. As an Advanced Level student you must be independent and working ambitiously outside of your sketchbook, making artwork in response to your area of interest that stretches and challenges you.

Sketchbooks are vital and are used mostly outside of lessons for you to push independent work forward. Research and writing is on-going throughout the course and most of this will be completed in your own time.

Art trips are arranged throughout the year to central London galleries and students are encouraged to visit and document relevant exhibitions independently in their own time.

How will I be assessed?

Students receive feedback regularly throughout the course so that they are clear about how to progress and develop their ideas further. Feedback takes a variety of forms: written assessment and next steps advice, self assessment, one-to-one tutorials, and group critiques in which students present their work to their peers.

The coursework unit (Personal Investigation) forms 60% of the overall mark for A-Level. Students begin developing ideas for this in year 12 and complete this component in the autumn and spring terms in year 13. The externally set exam component is completed in the summer term of year 13 and is worth 40% of the overall mark for the A-Level.

All student work will be assessed against the following Assessment Objectives.

  • Assessment Objective 1 - Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding
  • Assessment Objective 2 - Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops
  • Assessment Objective 3 - Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress
  • Assessment Objective 4 - Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements

How much time should I be expected to spend on assignments, projects, field trips etc.?

It's important that you complete five hours of homework per week including research and practical.

Which awarding body is the course validation by?

AQA Fine Art 7202

Expected prior knowledge

To succeed in this subject you need to demonstrate creativity, independence, and a genuine interest in an area of art and design that you wish to develop further. You should have achieved a grade B or higher at GCSE in this subject or a similar one such as photography.