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GCSE Art Syllabus


This statement must be read alongside the AQA GCSE Course Art and Design (Fine Art) Course Specification.

In Years Ten and Eleven students follow a thematic approach to their studies, these are designed by individual staff and are able to be interpreted by the whole ability range within the group. The exploration of drawing in its many forms is investigated thoroughly and a wide range of media is used. Each unit of study includes the opportunity to study an aspect of critical and contextual studies which enhances the pupils’ ability to develop ideas and explore different types of art forms from western and non-western sources.

To provide a thorough education at GCSE level the course develops a breadth of experience and understanding. A visit is arranged to a major art gallery, museum or place of interest. This then forms the basis of a project. Throughout the course pupils maintain an ideas book. This shows evidence of drawing, developing ideas, material investigations, reviewing and evaluating work and personal responses to critical studies inputs. Presentation of art work, both in ideas books and on individual sheets is stressed in all areas of the course. Students are shown how to present their ideas clearly and extra marks are awarded to students who show innovation in this area. Written information, when included must be legible but the main focus for all work must remain with the visual exploration, selection of materials and development of ideas by the student.

Independent learning is actively encouraged within the department with students taking increasing levels of responsibility for their own are work. During the examination period at the end of Year Eleven students should be able to make a personal response to a selected theme from the exam paper and develop a piece of work in a manner best suited to their own particular strengths.

Evaluation is integrated into all areas of project work and students are positively encouraged to discuss their own work and that of others. Written evidence of this is collected both in their ideas books and in their coursework portfolios.

Continual assessment takes place throughout the course of study. Weekly homeworks are marked and regular feedback is given on pieces of classwork. This may be through a formal mark, a class discussion and / or individual critique with subject staff. All are seen as equally viable and important forms of assessment. A final summative assessment is made at the end project area and a departmental assessment profile is completed. Students have access to these documents which include a target setting section in order to build on and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of the individual pupils.

Three units of coursework must be submitted at the end of the course. These units should show evidence of the breadth of the experience gained on the course and fulfil the assessment criteria as laid down by the examination board. These units are marked together and receive a single grade. AQA level descriptions are used to mark the work which should represent the candidate’s best work. In the controlled test examination pupils must produce, unaided and under supervision, work accompanied by preliminary, supporting studies. Four weeks are allowed to prepare for this culminating in a ten hour controlled test period.

Pupils are assessed in four main areas:

  • AO1 Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources
  • AO2 Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, tecniques and processes
  • AO3 Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses
  • AO4 Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of the visual language