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Photography is offered as a subject choice at A Level. A knowledge of photography or previous art and design based qualification is preferred. A passion for lens based media is required, as well as the ability to be organised and committed to independent study. The course is studied over two years, the first being dedicated to skills development, the second to building a body of coursework in line with the AQA course specification. Photography is taught by our subject specialist, Mr. Smith. A professional practitioner experienced in both contemporary and historical techniques. The course is designed to not only challenge students to achieve the best they can, but to bridge the gap between A-Level and first year degree study. Students will leave with a sound understanding of the level of study expected at university and be able to read, analyse and contextualise degree level critical theory.


Experimentation with photography is actively encouraged and it is important for students to develop their own voice and form of expression with the medium. Classical techniques such as Lumen printing, film development, medium format, large format and Tintypes can all be explored through the use of our dedicated dark room. Contemporary techniques and skills can be developed through the use of our studio equipment and PC's dedicated to run the Adobe suite.


The AQA Art and Design, specialising in Photography syllabus is studied.

Year 12

Students are thrown back in time to around 470 BC in the very first lesson. The entire classroom is transformed into a camera obscura and we begin to understand the mechanics and the science behind making pictures. Over due course we work our way towards present day and digital cameras, via pinhole, cyanotypes and of course 35mm film. Students are exposed to the wide variety of techniques in image making available to them before commencing their own study in an area of their choice. At each stage students are encouraged to channel their inner curiosity and constantly ask the question, what if?

A portfolio of work is developed and students are able to critically analyse and contextualise photographs as well as photographic critical theory. Elements of art history are incorporated and students are also encouraged to explore moving images, Gifs, animation and video as well as stills.

Solargraphy made by a Year 12 student
Charlie Bell, Year 12 - Unit 1


Year 13

The A2 Course offers students the opportunity to further develop their area of interest, focus their studies and become specialists in their fields.



Component 1:

Personal investigation

• No time limit

• 96 marks

• 60% of A-level


Set and marked by the centre and moderated by AQA during a visit to the centre.


Component 2:

Externally set assignment

Response to an externally set assignment

• Preparatory period + 15 hours supervised time

• 96 marks

• 40% of A-level

Set by AQA, marked by the centre and moderated by AQA during a visit to the centre.


Component 1

In Component 1, students develop 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 artist(s), designer(s), photographers or craftspeople and include written work of no less than 1000 and no more than 3000 words which supports the practical work.

is a practical unit and students must show their learning and developing through sustained photographic study as well as written communication. At this stage the work becomes more sophisticated and students begin to develop their own style and visual language. Students will complete a 1000-3000 essay further exploring their chosen area of study.

Photographic experimentation by Year 13 student
Lawrence Li, Year 13 - Unit 3

Component 2

In Component 2, students respond to a stimulus, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints, developing a personal and meaningful response which addresses all the assessment objectives and leads to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes.

Students are offered a wider range of potential starting points. We begin by first choosing a one word topic to study and then begin to develop ideas based firstly on questioning and imagination which is then backed up by artist research and relevant photoshoots. This platform gives students the ability to display all that they have learnt over the course and their final pieces are exhibited before being marked and externally moderated.

Photographic experimentation by Year 13 student
Eliza Mosely, Year 13 - Unit4

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