Part of the joy of Art course is that you don’t just study Art: you make it.

Art enhances fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, lateral thinking, complex analysis and critical thinking skills. No matter what career you choose, those who can arrange, present and display material in a way that is aesthetically pleasing have an advantage. Research shows that involvement in the arts (both Visual Art and Performing Art) – especially for students from a low-income background – is associated with higher levels of attainment in both high school and university. “Catterall” also notes that studying the arts can have other positive benefits such as greater involvement in community service.

Art begins with observation of the real world: recording, analysis and creation of a visual response to the surroundings. Art makes students look at things anew – even mundane ordinary aspects of the world. Art also fills the soul. There is something magical about smearing pencil and paint across a piece of paper and sculpting form with your hands. Communicating with colour and shape and form awakens the imagination; it opens a door to ‘now’.

The creative industry is an ever-expanding industry that offers a wealth of job opportunities ranging from art heritage (museum/gallery conservator), creative design (ceramics, interior etc.), display design (exhibitions etc.) , photography (corporate, fashion, social, sports etc.) and visual art (animator, graphic, Illustrator, fine art).   

Curriculum Overview: Art

At Key Stage 4

Art: a broad course exploring practical and critical/contextual work through a range of 2D and/or 3D processes and new media and technologies.  It is a course where students can work in appropriate art, craft and design materials and processes.  Students should produce practical and contextual work associated with two or more of the endorsements listed.  They may also explore and develop ideas by combining or overlapping the areas of study:  Applied Art, Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Textile Design, Three-Dimensional Design and Photography. The course is made up of two components:

  • Unit 1:  Portfolio of Work Controlled Assessment (80 marks/60%) Student portfolio selected from work undertaken during course of study and must include more than one project.  There is no restriction on the scale of work produced.  Students must demonstrate an ability to sustain work from initial starting point or project briefs to the realisation of intentions.  Explicit evidence of the relationship between process and outcome must be presented in such forms as sketchbooks, visual diaries, design sheets, design proposals, preparatory studies, annotated sheets and experimentation with materials, working methods and techniques.
  • Unit 2:  Externally Set Task Question paper issued in the January of Year 11(80 marks/40%). Students are given unlimited preparation time to respond to a chosen starting point from the question paper.  During the preparatory period, teachers may discuss starting points with students and give them general guidance on the choice of materials, how to carry out preparatory studies or how to begin research on the chosen starting point.  This is then followed by 10 hours of sustained focused study where students will produce a personal outcome. 


AQA 8201 Sample Art Paper