Qualification: A Level Photography (AQA)

Course Tutor: Miss J Lewis

Course entry requirements: General A level entry requirements including grade 5 or above in art, photography or other creative subject, or by a strong portfolio of photographs.

Students should be aware of the potential expense of the course including owning a digital camera with manual settings and being able to afford frequent printing costs. The Vandyke Opportunities Fund can support students from families on low incomes in meeting these costs.

Course description

This is a two year A level course.

We follow the AQA Art and Design: Photography specification. The course is a practical one and is very well resourced compared to other centres with a darkroom and digital suite. You will learn about pinhole photography, 35mm film processing and development along with creative approaches to the medium. Digital workshops will teach you how to use the manual settings on your camera and effective post-production techniques to produce original outcomes.

Practical work is complimented with contextual studies of relevant artists, genres and historical movements. You should be prepared to visit museums, galleries and other places. Whilst there is no formal written examination, component one must be accompanied by a short essay.


Component 1 (60%) - A coursework portfolio based on classroom workshops, a mock project, and then a sustained and substantial personal investigation on a theme or subject chosen by you, following discussion with teachers.  The personal investigation must be accompanied by an essay.

Work assessed based on the following evidence: the development of ideas; use of media, experimentation and quality of making; quality of photography skill; application of learning and final pieces.


Component 2 (40%) In February of year 13, a range of themes or topics as starting points will be set by AQA. You have a period of time through the spring term to develop your ideas by applying your learning from component 1. This component concludes in a 15 hour long practical session, usually across three school days.

Components 1 and 2 are internally assessed and externally moderated.

Post-18 Opportunities and Employment

Students go on to study Photography and Art & Design at HND or degree level. The qualification grants access to other creative areas such as fashion, graphic design, architecture, fine art, media, film, art direction and illustration as well as publishing, professional photography, broadcasting and advertising and theatre/technical  lighting.

The course teaches you practical skills and develops your creativity – which are desirable to colleges, universities and employers as you prove your ability to analyse and think differently to others.

If you would like more detailed information about the content of this course, please visit the Photography curriculum page, where you will find curriculum maps for each year of study.

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