Art & Design

GCSE Art and Design


The course has two elements, one being the Coursework Portfolio (60% of the total mark), and the Examination (40% of the total mark).


Students follow a Fine Art course that includes drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, mixed-media work. In addition, all practical work is informed by art historical studies relevant to the content of each project. We advise all students to complete at least three units of coursework for their portfolios. We also encourage each student to be experimental in using wide ranges of materials and processes and to create an entire unit of coursework based on an individual interest.


We recommend that all students visit art galleries in Kent and London and contact artists in order to learn from seeing original works of art and discussing art with creative people. Students are also expected to participate in all departmentally arranged trips to London and other venues. There is an emphasis on independent learning skills and all students are expected to do their best at all times.


In January of Year 11, the students receive the examination paper and have a few months during which to create preparatory work. That work is taken into the examination and referred to for the final piece.


All types of employers (including providers of apprenticeships) whether in the creative industries or not, universities and colleges greatly respect, value and appreciate the huge range of skills anyone studying art will develop, a range of skills that is greatly in demand. One of the essential qualities an employee must have these days is the ability to think creatively. It is a world full of problems and people who can resolve them through innovative thinking are much in demand.


Art also provides many other vital skills such as developing skills in information gathering and selection, analysing works of art, reflecting on their own work as artists, designing and composing works of art, applying understanding and knowledge to their own work, understanding other cultures through studying works of art produced within those cultures and societies, and furthering their skills in independent learning. All students will also improve their critical, reflective, adaptive, and reactive thinking skills.


In conclusion, taking art will equip any student with many skills that are relevant and vital to any area of employment from banking to scientific research, and from tourism to engineering. For those students who wish to pursue a career in the creative industry sector, there are countless opportunities from working in film and television to designing cars, creating stage sets to designing furniture, and from designing buildings to designing their interiors as well as pursuing the many aspects of fine art such as painting and drawing, or art history. This employment sector is enormous, employing over two million people in the UK.



The examination board is AQA


Fine Art A Level Course 

This is a linear course with the examinations at the end of Year 13.

We follow the AQA Specification in Art & Design (Fine Art).

The two-year linear programme contains four Units. Year 12 consists of one coursework Unit, and one internally set assignment, leading to a 5 hour examination. Year 13 consists of one coursework unit and a 15 hour examination. 
The 'Portfolio' in Year 12 and the 'Personal Investigation' in Year 13 require you to be innovative and to experiment as you learn from major artists and apply that learning to practical work. For the externally set assignments you will write at least 2,000 words analysing, describing and appreciating the work of major artists. You will also make notes about your own work and how it relates to the work of selected artists.

Themes for the Units could include landscape, portraits, still life, interiors, buildings and structures, or wildlife. Wide ranges of materials and processes are used throughout the course. You are given a strategic learning programme that is unique to your artistic direction, interests and creative development. Group discussions and one to one discussions are held frequently and recorded.

Trips to galleries provide opportunities for you to engage with original works of art. We also expect you to learn independently, by undertaking your own trips to galleries, exhibitions and by making contact with local artists.
Your work will be exhibited locally, in London and internationally, in both Brussels and Addis Ababa. Previous students of art at Dover Grammar School for Boys have gone on to study art, art history or architecture at university.

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