Senior School Curriculum

Art and Photography

The Art & Photography department aims to foster talent and encourage independent learning by nurturing creativity and imagination. We hope to help students acquire the skills and vision to enable them to achieve their highest potential.

Our ethos involves the idea of teachers as active practitioners who can share their creative practice with pupils as a learning tool in fostering techniques, individuality and freedom of expression. The department also firmly believes in drawing skills as the fundamental basis of understanding in learning about Art & Design.

Art is taught to all students in Key Stage 3 and is an option subject at GCSE and A Level. Photography is available as an option subject at A Level only.

Key Stage 3: Years 7-9

In Year 7 pupils are taught the key skills and formal elements of Art & Design. These are explored through a variety of techniques and methods focused around the topic of Still Life. In Years 8 & 9 pupils are given the opportunity to build on these techniques while exploring the work of various contemporary artists. Students will experience a range of art-making techniques such as 2D and 3D Art & Design practice, photography and digital media.

Throughout Key Stage 3 pupils complete a series of drawing and research projects for homework. Research gives pupils a broad understanding of some of the key periods within art history. Examples of topics covered include Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Art, Pop Art, Expressionism and Photography. In Year 9, pupils will undertake a personal study that is informed by an artist or style of their choice and developed into a personal and meaningful final outcome.

Key Stage 4: GCSE Fine Art

If pupils decide to opt for Art at GCSE they are encouraged to develop an individual focus, with their ideas structured and supported through private tutorials. We hope to foster pupils’ ability to articulate ideas, feelings and opinions about personal work to assist with their own self-expression. Pupils will have the opportunity to work in a variety of materials in 2D and 3D, as well as photography and digital media.

The Art & Design course that we follow at GCSE is endorsed Fine Art, as specified by the examination board, AQA. For coursework, pupils complete an individual portfolio that consists of two projects. These projects will be developed from given starting points. Each project is structured around four clear assessment objectives, which include integrated critical studies. To complete the critical study requirements, pupils will be given the opportunity to view artwork in museums and galleries.

Key Stage 5: A Level

Fine Art:

The A Level Fine Art course is structured to build on and improve the skills pupils have already gained at GCSE. By completing research and visiting galleries we aim to develop understanding of aesthetic qualities and an awareness of the importance of Art & Design in different cultures. By developing powers of visual perception and the exploration of elements in the visual world, we help pupils to build on their strengths and areas of interest, enabling them to better realise their true potential in the subject.

The Fine Art course that we follow at AS/A Level is endorsed Fine Art, as specified by the examination board, AQA. The AS specification comprises one unit of practical coursework followed by an externally set unit. The A Level specification comprises one unit of practical coursework, which includes a written personal investigation of 1000-3000 words, followed by an externally set unit, the final piece of which is completed under controlled examination conditions.


A Level Photography allows pupils to develop their skills in digital picture taking and image editing, following the ‘Art & Design: Photography’ specification. The course gives access to digital editing facilities quipped with industry standard software. Alongside development of essential technical skills, pupils will study elements such as lighting, studio techniques and composition, underpinned by critical and contextual studies.

The Photography course that we follow at AS/A Level is endorsed Photography, as specified by AQA. The Photography specification follows the same structure and course requirements as the AS and A Level Art & Design specifications.

Extra-curricular Activities:

An Art Club runs each week at lunchtimes for all students, providing extra support and an opportunity to catch up on missed class work or homework.

The department aims to impart a genuine enjoyment of the subject and a growing sense of self-confidence and self-esteem. We are proud of the girls’ excellent examination results.