Exam Board:  OCR 

Course entry requirements:

GCSE English Grade B

Students with GCSE Photography or those who are familiar with the use of cameras, digital image manipulation and ICT, and who enjoy written evaluation. 

What is the course about?

It is about understanding the technical and aesthetic aspects of Photography; Learning and understanding camera controls, researching Practitioners and analysing images. Producing a range of images and exploring a range of genres.

How is the course organised / assessed?

The initial AS project is centred around the topic of “The Streets” a project which helps to explore camera controls. This Coursework Portfolio runs for around 15 weeks with students producing a sketchbook alongside a professionally produced Photo-book (at a cost of around £15).

In February students are issued with set topics given by the exam board, they chose a topic from the selection working on this until Easter. This second project requires the production of a sketchbook as well as the completion of a final piece. 

The A2 part of the course follows a similar structure, although the initial project is centred around a topic of their choice. Alongside their sketchbook and final piece students are also required to write a 3000 photographic essay based around their own image production as well as the work of inspirational artists.

Exam titles are issued in February with the students deciding on their chosen topics.


AS Unit 1: Coursework Portfolio “The Streets” F410–F416

The AS part of the Course is split into two halves, Coursework and Exam work. The initial coursework project is based around camera controls and ‘The Streets’. Assessment will be made on the production of a supporting sketchbook and final piece of Photo book. This unit is worth 60% of your AS grade.

AS Unit 2: Controlled Assignment of 5 hours F420–F426

For this you choose one starting point from an early release paper with three to six weeks preparation time. This is worth 40% of your AS grade.

Both units are marked internally and then moderated by an external examiner. You will need to have completed AS, these units are synoptic.

A2 Unit 3: Personal Investigation F431-F436

This project is based around personal ideas and significance. Students will be assessed on their sketchbook and final piece as well as an additional personal study. This investigation includes a related written study of 3000 words. This is worth 30% of your final grade.

A2 Unit 4: Controlled Assignment F441-F446

Candidates choose one starting point from an early release paper with three to six weeks preparation time. This is worth 20% of your final grade.

Units 3&4 are internally marked and then moderated by an external examiner. The AS Award has a weighting of 50% overall when used in a full A-Level award


Aims of the Course

The aims of these specifications are to encourage candidates to develop:

  • intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive powers;
  • investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement;
  • an interest in, enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of photography
  • an understanding of the interrelationships between art, craft and design processes and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate;
  • knowledge, understanding and application of photography, and technologies in contemporary and past societies and cultures;

How is the course taught?

Photography is taught in a specialist Photography environment with flat surfaces to facilitate presenting work; scanning and printing facilities; and new computers for downloading and manipulating images or for research and word processing. It is a stimulating environment with displays which support learning. Students will be expected to arrange Photo shoots off site. The Department has a successful exam record and student evaluations record high levels of creativity and enjoyment.

Do I need a camera?

Your own camera is not essential as we loan out digital cameras but there is a limited supply. If you feel you would like to purchase a digital SLR in the future come in, try ours out and ask us for advice as to which camera will suit you best.

What next?
Many students who take Advanced Art/Photography courses proceed onto Foundation Courses at the Warwickshire College and other institutions around the country or link with their Media and Film Studies courses. Grades can, of course, be used in any points tariff for entry onto other degree courses.

Employment prospects are good, with new media such as web-design and digital television providing opportunities for career paths not available previously.

Who should I contact for more information?
Mrs K Carter -



Sixth Form Subjects 

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