Art and Design (AQA)

The Art Department supports the idea that while many of our students will go on to study art, design and architecture at university, all students can access the subject to learn skills that are transferable across a wide range of professions, preparing them, in an ever-changing world, to challenge and adapt.

The Art Department equips you with the skills to learn rather than simply learning skills.

Topics studied

For A level, you will take a fine art course made up of a personal investigation (60%) and an externally set task (40%). The personal investigation has two integrated elements: a portfolio of practical work (sketchbooks and larger pieces) and a related study (an analytical essay that explores the context and practice of other artists in relation to your practical work).

The externally set task involves a choice of themes that offer a choice of textual and visual starting points, briefs and stimuli. These themes are set by the exam board and you will select one theme to develop, building upon skills acquired in the first part of the course. This work will culminate in a 15-hour exam.

It is essential to push and challenge yourself beyond any preconceived ideas of what it means to ‘do art’.

You will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of media, including paint, plaster, textiles photography or film. The department is here to facilitate creative learning and is always willing to explore how to best communicate your ideas.


A* in A level Art and Design in 2023


A*–A in A level Art and Design in 2023

"Studying art allows you to broaden your horizons and change your way of thinking. You’re exposed to so many new concepts and ideas that range far further than just how to paint."

Lily, Lower Sixth

"Being able to work in the art studios gives a sense of what it will be like to work in a university studio. The creativity that flows in the art room is infectious!"

Bea, Lower Sixth

"Developing your own lines of enquiry means you are studying things that are unique to your interests. Teachers set the lessons up so that both they, and your peers create a supportive space to learn in."

Freya, Lower Sixth

Academic enrichment

Creative learning thrives when it flourishes beyond the classroom. Our co-curricular programme is extensive and evolves to inspire and support all types of creative need and focus.

Each year we offer an international residential trip to a European city to explore the galleries and cultural sites. This will underpin your research skills. There are also trips to local and national galleries, for example the Ashmolean, National Gallery and Tate. You will be encouraged to apply for art residencies and competitions, such as the Royal Academy’s AttRAct and Young Artists initiatives, and we provide support for those wishing to apply for Art Foundation and Degree courses. Life drawing runs weekly to aid core drawing skills.

Exhibitions are fundamental to developing creativity; we host a range of shows in our gallery space by student artists which further stretches and enriches their experience, providing the wider cultural free-learning that highly academic individuals crave.

Beyond Art

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