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Art & Design GCSE

Art & Design GCSE

Course Length

One or two years.

The course

The initial two terms are spent on disciplined painting and drawing projects with the accent on texture, scale and descriptive qualities. Projects include still life, abstract composition and figure drawing. Printmaking and ceramics can also form a final piece in a unit and you will be expected to attempt these media. Work must be documented and researched using sketchbooks and supporting studies. In the Summer term, you will complete your personal portfolio, which is one of the two coursework units on which you’ll be assessed. The other is an externally-set assignment which you will have the end of the course.

You will learn a variety of skills. You will learn how to undertake visual research using primary and secondary sources and record observations, experiences and ideas in appropriate ways. You will learn how to develop and realise ideas and outcomes, explore and review possible solutions and modify your work appropriately. You will come to understand and use appropriately and safely a range of materials, equipment, processes and techniques. Finally, you will become familiar with a range of work from past and contemporary practice and from different cultures, so that you are able to demonstrate an understanding of continuity and change in art, craft and design.

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What skills do I need?

Students entering this course should ideally have achieved a general educational level equivalent to National Curriculum Level 3. The course will suit you if you are creative, enthusiastic and imaginative and want to communicate your ideas and opinions through drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and/or digital art. You should enjoy learning how to use different processes to develop your visual skills, and are willing to experiment and take risks with your ideas.

How is the course assessed?

The coursework is divided into two units. Unit 1 (Personal Portfolio in Art and Design) is the coursework you complete over the course of the year. It is completed and assessed – usually before the end of May – followed by a visit by an external assessor who moderates the marks. The assessment takes the form of a small exhibition in the art department. It amounts to approximately 45 hours of supervised activity and is worth 60% of the marks. For Unit 2 (Externally Set Assignment), an exam is set early in the Summer term. This work is completed by May. It is amounts to approximately 30 hours of supervised activity including ten hours of sustained focus and is worth 40% of the total.

Students complete projects using at least two disciplines for the unendorsed syllabus or specialise in one of these disciplines for the endorsed syllabus: (i) ceramics/ sculpture; (ii) printmaking; (iii) painting/drawing; (iv) photography; and (v) textiles.


The Story of Art
By E. Gombrich
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 978-0714832470

Exam Board and Specification Code

Pearson-Edexcel 1AD0

Greg Ioannou
Head of Department

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