A Level Photography – AQA

A Level Photography at NLS is a vibrant and exciting course taught over a two year period and formally assessed at the end of that time period. It comprises of two components; Personal Investigation 60 % and the Externally Set Assignment 40%.

Component one Personal Investigation (60 % total mark) comprises of a written research project and practical investigation. This is based on internally set themes and subject matter developed from personal and/or given starting points. This component will be internally set, internally assessed and externally moderated. Work will be selected, evaluated and presented for assessment by the student. Evidence is required of how the student has met each of the assessment objectives.

Component Two (40% of total marks) is an externally set title set by AQA. Students then have a selected period of time to then develop and explore ideas, media and processes. This then culminates in a timed exam (15hrs) where students will produce a final outcome to resolve their projects.


The course is structured into various sections

Part 1 – Key Skills

The first part of the course is where students are introduced to different skills and processes that they will need during the course. This will cover such things as Photographic Genres, Lighting, Composition, Light Painting and post production techniques. These are delivered through specific workshops.


Part 2 – Project 1

Students will be presented with a theme on which they will then build their projects from. The focus will be to extend their skills and knowledge gained from the Key Skills project to then show a more personal response to the title. Students will be guided to work to specific assessment objectives and explore different aspects of presentation of work.


Part 3 – Final Outcome

In the final part of Project One students will be resolving their ideas into a final outcome. This requires careful planning and testing to then complete the work within a limited time span of 15hrs.


Part 4 – Personal Investigation – Research Project

This is the formal start of component one and students will be encouraged to complete a rigorous research project into a theme of their own choice. This can build from their previous project or be something new. The outcome for this is a written report, illustrated essay or film which outlines their findings. This then will create questions and areas to explore in their practical work.


Part 5 – Personal Investigation – Practical work and outcome

This is the main part of the personal investigation where the students complete their practical work and outcomes


Part 6 – Externally set assignment and timed exam

At the start of February the exam board issues the externally set assignment with varied questions that the students can use as starting points for their ideas. From here they go on to investigate and research the theme of their choice creating preparatory work in readiness for the timed element of assessment where they will complete their outcome. 

The two components are assessed against the following objectives: 

Assessment Objective 1 – Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

Assessment Objective 2 – Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

Assessment Objective 3 – Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

Assessment Objective 4 - : Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Photography Support All students are welcome to use the studio during their study periods and in their break times. Specific teacher lead support happens every Thursday from 3.20 – 4.30 and it is expected that all students attend this extra session.





Performance Faculty Subjects 

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