Art & Design (Photography)


Examining Board

Course Introduction
Photography is a three year course for those with an interest in developing visual skills through digital photography who are willing to experiment with different approaches to the subject.

Camera control, composition, lighting and Photoshop skills are developed, as well as written contextual skills, which form an important part of the course.

Students will work to a theme, with structured exercises to guide them and give them confidence in the first two years, which then broadens out to allow their own individual response in Years 10 and 11. 

GCSE Photography is a coursework subject that enables students to fulfil their potential and is individually highly rewarding. Students will be expected to plan and develop work beyond lesson time and supported study is offered most evenings.

Coursework sketchbooks and final outcomes (60% of overall marks)
Externally set assignment (40% of overall marks)

Students may continue to study Photography at A Level. Many students go onto successful careers in Design, Media and Advertising.

Course Content

Year 9
In the first year of the course students will complete a series of short, linked creative workshops using a variety of photographic techniques and processes, working to broad themes such as ‘Unusual Viewpoints’, ‘Portraits’ and ‘Light’.

Unit 1: Coursework
In Years 10 and 11, students will complete two or three thematic coursework projects, responding individually to a given theme. They will be given guidance in how to structure their projects to meet the assessment objectives, which are based on four categories:

  • AO1 Recording: taking photographs that explore different aspects of composition.
  • AO2 Using knowledge and understanding of photographers’ work for inspiration to develop ideas.
  • AO3 Experimentation.
  • AO4 Producing outcomes that draw together the different aspects of research.

Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment
Working to the same assessment objectives students will respond to a theme given by the exam board, which is issued in January of Year 11; before then completing the mounting and presentation of a final group of photographs over ten hours (two days) in May.

Contact Name
Mrs H Roberts – Head of Art

Contact Email


A Level

Photography is primarily a creative course in which an artistic and critical approach is taken to making photographic images. Students will learn creative attitudes and concepts and also technical photographic skills. The Department has specialist studio equipment and a dedicated computer suite. Many students gain places on nationally recognised photography courses.

Coursework/Examination Requirement

Personal Investigation and externally set assignment.

The College expects students to have

Either a GCSE in Art or Photography (Grade 6 minimum) or a photographic portfolio. Their own digital camera, preferably an SLR.


Students who have studied Photography, Film and Animation are found in a range of creative careers such as architectural photography, events photography, photography studios, newspapers, magazines, advertising and website design agencies.

Course Content

Component 1: Coursework - year 1

Students are taught to analyse and critically evaluate photographic images, demonstrating an understanding of purposes, meanings and contexts. They will use photography to develop ideas through sustained investigations and exploration, selecting and using materials, processes and resources. They should demonstrate an understanding of continuity and change in photography in different genres, styles and traditions. The course is delivered through a balance of directed learning activities and supported independent research.

Personal Investigation

From February until June of the first year students develop a personal project that enables them to work in an individual direction. Visits to national galleries are organised to assist in their response to artists and photographers’ work. Students produce final outcomes for this project in May and June.

Component 1: Coursework - Year 2

Personal Study and mock exam: At the start of the second year students are helped to develop ideas for their Personal Study. This usually takes the form of a written and illustrated essay in which students show the depth of understanding that they have about the ideas that inform and inspire their work, through investigating artists and photographers. The Personal Study element is worth approximately 18% of coursework marks. Students complete a mock exam project in which they develop individual ideas and experiments, culminating in an ambitious final outcome made over three days at the start of January of the second year.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

A theme is given by the exam board as a starting point for the students’ own ideas. Students begin work on this in February and generate annotated photographic sketchbooks, either digitally or in hard copy, before producing a final practical outcome over three days in May.

Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Learning Journey

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