Examination Board


Specific Course Requirements

Students should have six GCSE passes at Grade B or level 5.  Level 4 and above in Mathematics is also essential and B and above in Art/Technology (graphics or resistant materials) is also preferable.
The course is ideally suited to creative, highly organised, imaginative individuals with a keen interest in Photography and Art.

Course Content

This programme will teach the Art of Photography and develop the students’ artistic, academic and intellectual capabilities.  Students will learn the creative use of 35mm SLR and digital camera  equipment. Traditional Black and White film processing, darkroom print making and image manipulation will be central to the course.  Colour photography will be explored through digital media and ‘Photoshop’. Studio photography will be taught in the second year.
Emphasis will be placed on encouraging students to work independently, experimentally and to create personal responses to the creative project themes.  Appreciation of the art form will be enhanced through research studies of historical and contemporary photographers.  In addition to the organised trips students are required to attend galleries and organise location shoots.
Work will be developed and completed in journals/photographic portfolios.

How will I be assessed on this course?

Component 1 - Personal Investigation (60% of grade)
Candidates are required to develop a personal investigation based on an idea, issue, concept or theme supported by a 3000 word written piece of work.
Component 2 - Externally-Set Assignment (40% of grade)
Candidates are required to develop a portfolio of work in response to the brief. Students have 15 hours under controlled conditions to complete their projects and produce their final outcomes.


What could I do with a qualification in this subject?

Photography can be continued at degree level where a broad variety of lens-based media courses are on offer.  Additionally, photography is a specific field for a career and the
subject has a value in other design and media occupations.  Alternatively, photography can provide breadth to one’s education and create  an  area of personal interest for creative expression in the future.

The three most commonly asked questions about this course are:

Do I need to have studied GCSE Art or Resistant Materials?

Ideally, yes, because students will have a grounding in the study and presentation of a visually academic subject. However, we will consider individuals who have not studied these subjects providing there is evidence that they have a
creative tendency.

Will I need my own digital and 35mm SLR camera?

The school provides both digital and film cameras, but it will be an asset for a student to own and master their own equipment which they can use without any restrictions.

How does the ‘Controlled Test’ work?

Students are given a set time period in which to produce specified work independently using dark room and studio.



Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


Year 12

Introducing and mastering a range of techniques in both film and digital photography and an appreciation of the medium. Developing ways of working that will make sure that all four assessment objectives are covered in a manner that will create high level results. Learning ways to analyse the work of others that can help to support the development of personal ideas.



January completing initial work. Considering ways to present portfolios and final resolution of ideas.


February introducing the personal investigation. Choosing a personal response and extending knowledge through the use of solarisation and layering.


Developing the personal investigation to: create photographs that fulfil clearly defined intentions; explore the work of other photographers and artists; is a personal response to the brief and presents imagery to communicate and express ideas.


Year 13

Continue with the personally chosen theme. Explore varieties of montage and alternative ways of presenting ideas. Begin work on the extended writing task. Visit to V&A Print room to inform ideas/writing.

Completion of work. Considering ways to present portfolios and final resolution of ideas.


February introduction of externally set assignment - choosing a set brief and identifying avenues for exploration. Developing imagery in response to brief.

Completing the externally set assignment and presenting work for final moderation.

External exam 15 hours to produce final work.