Art & Design

If you are considering any sort of practical career in an Art and Design field or you intend to do any Art based degree, be it Architecture, Fine Art, Graphics, Photography or Fashion, then an Art A Level is the main means by which you produce a portfolio of work and is an entry requirement for all Art & Design based courses.  It is a practical subject which will further develop your technical skills, it will expand your creativity and imagination.

Career opportunities leading from Art & Design are numerous.  The creative industries are amongst the largest growing and most economically successful industries within the United Kingdom. There are many exciting future applications for the knowledge and skills gained via Art & Design A Level,  including set design, animation, video game design, graphic design, web design, advertising, architecture, exhibit design, special effects for film, illustration, product design, furniture design, journalism, museum curator, stage and film makeup, textile and fashion design, photographer, art dealer, concept artist, art historian or logo designer, to name but a few.

This is a broad-based course that provides flexibility in content and approach.  Students can opt to explore and create work associated with more than one area of study.   They explore practical and critical / contextual work through a range of 2D / 3D processes and media throughout the earlier stages of their Personal Creative Enquiry and Personal Investigation. 

At Crickhowell High School, we offer students the option to focus their course of study into the overlapping title areas as summarised in the table below:

The WJEC syllabus specification can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

WJEC A Level Art & Design Spec 2016+

Whether you choose to specialise in Art, Craft and Design or Photography, the course consists of three units, one to be studied at AS level and a further two for  A level.  Students may follow an AS course exclusively, or may decide to carry the AS experience forward to the full A level.

Unit 1—Personal Creative Enquiry

This unit makes up 40% of the A level mark and 100% of the AS mark.  It is internally assessed and externally moderated and the output is an extended project or portfolio.  Students will be given the opportunity to work from a range of areas of study that may include any of the options offered at GCSE.

In the initial stage of Unit 1, students will have the opportunity to explore and cultivate fundamental skills, knowledge and understanding through a variety of experiences.   These may include guided use of sources, such as the local environment, to gather visually rich research.  The course will also provide opportunities for experimentation, collaboration, creative decision-making and innovation, as well as activities to help students develop curatorial skills, from which personally significant creative enquiries can be generated as the course progresses.  

The output of this unit is a practical project or portfolio exploring a theme, concept or specific design brief of personal significance to the student.  This will enable them to develop further and make purposeful and effective use of the foundation of knowledge, understanding and skills built up earlier in the course.   Practical enquiry must be linked with, and informed by, critical and contextual study of the work of relevant artists, craftspeople and/or designers.

Unit 2—Personal Investigation

This unit makes up 36% of the A level mark and is internally assessed and externally moderated.  It consists of a major in-depth, practical, critical and theoretical investigative project / theme-based portfolio with integrated extended written critical and contextual analysis of a minimum of 1000 words.

The unit gives opportunities for students to hone their skills, extend knowledge and deepen understanding through a range of more challenging experiences.  These may include independent selection and use of sources, such as a particular aspect of the local environment, gallery visits or workshops, to gather visually rich research which supports in-depth investigations.  Students are encouraged to experiment purposefully, collaborate, make informed creative decisions and be increasingly innovative in their approach.  Their studies are developed to achieve appropriate depth and a suitably high degree of rigour.  Curatorial considerations in the presentation of work is also fostered.

Unit 3—Externally Set Assignment

This unit represents the culmination of the A Level course of study and represents 24% of the mark.  It is internally assessed and externally moderated.  The unit is split into two parts:

Part 1—a period of preparatory study
Part 2—15 hour period of sustained focus under supervision

Students develop their outcomes in response to one of a range of stimulii provided by the examining board.  It might be a personal response or an issue to be addressed, a problem to be considered, a specific design brief or another suitable starting point.