Fine Art  ‘A’ LEVEL

What will you be learning?

The ‘A’ Level Art and Design course is now linear and there is no longer an AS component. In the first term students will undertake a series of workshops that are designed to introduce them to drawing and painting techniques linked to key artists. Students are encouraged to experiment and explore new ways of working and develop a personal response to a theme or starting point. The emphasis in the first year of the course is very much on exploring ideas and finding potential techniques, artists and areas of interest which can then be explored in greater depth in the second year of the course. Observational drawing is an integral part of the course and the first half term focuses on this skill. Students complete a portfolio of work and at the end of the year they will undertake a mock exam.

In Y13, students produce a personal investigation into an area of fine art that they are interested in. They are encouraged to work on a much larger scale and also in a more individual way, producing a sketchbook of supporting studies and a series of final outcomes. Students must also complete a written and illustrated investigation that is linked to their practical work. Students are assessed on their personal investigation and also undertake an externally set assignment which is completed under controlled conditions.

Sixth form students are offered extra-curricular activities to help support in their application to higher education such as life drawing, visits to Art galleries and museums, foundation and degree talks, portfolio advice and university workshops and open days.

The department encourages students to think critically and reflectively about the subject and to use their imagination and intuition when producing their own work.  The support they are given allows students to gain competence and confidence in order for them to take creative risks and experiment with ideas, materials, tools and techniques and ultimately produce dynamic and personal works of art.

What is meant by Fine Art?

 Art based study can be defined as practice that usually involves the development of personal work and lines of enquiry determined by the need to explore an idea, convey an experience or respond to a theme or issue.

Assessment objectives

The assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all A-level Art and Design specifications and all exam boards.  The course builds on the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired at GCSE.  Each component is marked out of a total of 96 marks. As the assessment objectives are equally weighted in each of the components, there is a maximum of 24 marks for each of the assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding
  • AO2: Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops
  • AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress
  • AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements

 Course content:


Component 1: Personal investigation Component 2: Externally set assignment
What’s assessed 

Personal investigation

What’s assessed 

Response to an externally set assignment


  • No time limit
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of A-level

  • Preparatory period + 15 hours supervised time
  • 96 marks
  • 40% as A-level
Non-exam assessment (NEA) set and marked by the centre and moderated by AQA during a visit to the centre. Visits will normally take place in June. Non-exam assessment (NEA) set by AQA, marked by the centre and moderated by AQA during a visit to the centre. Visits will normally take place in June.

Career Opportunities?

A qualification in Art can lead to many interesting careers in areas such as the following:

  • Advertising/ Architecture
  • Art galleries/museums/curator
  • Art Historian/ Art therapy
  • Design /Fashion Designer
  • Film, video and photography
  • Illustration/Jewellery
  • Software, computer games and electronic publishing
  • Music and the visual and performing arts
  • Publishing/ Radio / Television
  • Teaching / Theatre Design

Further Information

  •     Mr Southgate,    Mr Cornley,   Mrs Covington