The department follows the A level art and design specification from Edexcel, which is a two year course, with assessment at the end of the second year by means of Coursework 60% (with a written element included) and an externally set assignment (Examination) 40% completed in a 15 hour timed test. This course exposes students to a range of different elements in art including fine art: painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture, as well as applied textiles art, mixed media, graphic arts, illustration, digital photography and traditional styles of art including life drawing.
Drawing and painting from observation is fundamental to the course and the most successful students are those who are open-minded, creative, have a good skills base and want to further their art education after A level. Students are encouraged to use the art studios in their own time, including study periods and staff are always on hand to give support and advice where necessary.
As a range of pathways can be determined in the second year of study, including digital photography and art and design, it is important that students who opt for this course have studied a creative subject (design, art and design or photography) at level 2 (GCSE/BTEC).
enrichment opportunities available
The art department run and offer a range of enrichment sessions to broaden student’s knowledge and interest in this subject. We offer taught life drawing sessions, run by specialist art staff, where pupils have the opportunity to learn traditional drawing techniques and build on their confidence when working directly from the naked form. This is seen as particularly desirable when applying to fine art and visual arts courses at University, as it is a key component of a student’s portfolio.
Students are encouraged to visit a range of galleries, museums and exhibitions and we run trips to London and local galleries to support the fact that it is important to view artwork first-hand. Students are given the opportunity to take part in a visit to the London Print Studios where they are taught how to use the professional machines when creating intaglio prints (etchings and dry-point etchings) and screen printing. Over the past two years, pupils have been able to develop their work more fully by attending this trip and understand how printmakers work in industry.
The department/faculty have run numerous overseas trips, which include residential trips to Paris, Barcelona, Florence and joint trips with other faculties to Rome and Venice. These have always been very successful and allowed pupils to extend their knowledge of art by observing other cultures and traditions abroad, and give them the opportunity to view artworks displayed in overseas galleries. We also arrange site specific trips, over a day where students can sketch, record and collect objects from places of natural beauty such as Southwold and Walberswick, which are located on the Suffolk coastline. These trips are invaluable as they provide visual stimuli which can be explored and developed in the studios on our return.
Art is a subject that can work well with many different subject combinations, and we readily welcome students who study other subjects such as Mathematics, Science, and English, as well as Humanities, Professional Studies, Engineering, MFL and PE. However, the more creative subjects such as Design, Theatre Studies and creative media, allow students to build a good creative base, particularly if they wish to continue their studies in the creative or visual arts after A Levels. Combining these studies, however, will mean that students will need to have a dedicated approach to the creative subjects, as the workload will be constantly high due to the high weighting of their marks based on coursework.
Higher education / career opportunities
Students usually progress to a Foundation course in art and design after A levels, which demonstrates a student’s drive and dedication to the subject and is extremely desirable when applying for courses in Fine art, Graphic design and illustration, Photography, Fashion and textiles and 3D art at the top arts universities and institutions. Some courses accept applicants straight from A levels, although this is always via interview, with a strong portfolio, and the art staff can support applications in this way to ensure you have a well-constructed and considered portfolio of work. There are a range of jobs that art links to, but the main areas for employment tend to be:
- Specialist jobs including fashion designers, artist in residence, photographer, animator, games artist, graphic designer, illustrator, architect, practising artist.
- Education sector
- Working for galleries and museums
- Working abroad