The Art Department

AQA A-Level Fine Art

By studying A level Photography at Poole High School you will learn the technical skills required to produce photographs to a high standard. You will also develop the knowledge and understanding needed to enable you to construct images with visual meaning and the power to communicate your ideas about the world.

You will learn about the history of photography and the ways in which this art form has contributed to our visual culture. On this course you will learn how to develop and explore your ideas through observations of the world around you, experiment with a range of techniques and processes and respond to the work of others. This very popular course will deepen your appreciation of the visual world and help you to achieve the technical skills to respond to it in a creative way.

Year 1
Unit 1 (AS) Portfolio of Work. This will include a range of personal work that will be carried out in response to a theme that will be set by the school. Towards the end of the course, the student will select a representative body of work that demonstrates the knowledge, skills and understanding that they have acquired during this foundational stage of their studies.
Unit 2 (AS) Externally Set Assignment. In this unit the students will choose from one of 5 starting points from a paper published by AQA. After a period of preparation time, the students are given 10 hours supervised time to produce a personal and creative photographic outcome to their chosen question. As most students are expected to continue on the course to the second year, the year 12 exam unit is used for skills development and exam practice only and does not contribute to the students A level grade.

Year 2
Unit 3 Personal Investigation. This unit is an opportunity for the student to carry out their own research into an area of photography that is of interest to them leading to a practical personal response. This unit also involves the production of a written submission of between 1000 and 3000 words that clarifies the theme of the investigation, demonstrates the candidate’s critical and contextual understanding of their chosen topic and records the conclusions to their enquiry.
Unit 4 Externally Set Assignment. This is similar to unit 2 at AS but this time there are 8 starting points and the final the supervised time in which the candidates produce their final response is 15 hours.

Assessment Method

The final grade is based on the student’s coursework (usually based upon the portfolio produced in year 2) which is worth 60% and the externally set assignment (15 hour exam) which is worth 40% of the overall grade.

Future Opportunities and Careers

Many of the students who study A level Photography at Poole High School go on to study the subject at degree level. There are opportunities within higher education to specialise in such disciplines as documentary, food, commercial photography and photojournalism. Many of our former students have worked in photography upon graduation in areas that include freelance photography, marketing and commercial photography.