Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4HA

017683 71693

Kirkby Stephen Grammar School

A Co-operative Academy

A Level Art & Design / Fine Art


On the A-Level Art course students work at a fast and lively pace, experiencing a number of media and developing their technical abilities as well as a critical awareness of various artists to help develop their ideas.

Students work on their own chosen theme and interest area, in their own personal studio space in the 6th form Art studio. The course is based around hard work, enthusiasm and the drive of personal investigation and independent study.

Students work in a productive but relaxed atmosphere, working alongside the teacher who supports and advises the student on lines of enquiry for their particular theme and assists with technical demonstrations of media as required. Final results range from sculptures and decorative textiles to large canvases.

An exhibition of all work takes place at the end of each year

Type of course

The exam board followed is AQA. Students may opt for either Fine Art (mainly drawing and painting with some sculpture/printing) or Art Craft and Design (candidates have to demonstrate two or more media areas choosing from 3D, Textiles and printmaking, graphics and drawing and painting/fine art). The A-Level course is a 2 year course.

A-Level (2 year course)

How you are guided through the course

At A-Level teaching is very much based on individual discussion about the students work and progress and ideas. These are discussed with the student regularly to assist them on their “journey” with their personal investigation. Regular group and individual feedback sessions are used to help students move forward with their ideas.

Component 1 - Personal investigation

Following an introductory unit to explore artists and techniques students produce a practical unit of work based on developing an idea/theme/issue/concept of personal choice supported by written elements (between 1000—3000 words), practical work must lead to a finished outcome or series of related finished outcomes.

Students must identify the focus of their investigation independently and need to show preparatory work, research and development of ideas as well as final piece/s. The written element can take a variety of forms and is in support of the investigations showing independent research and analysis of artists work linked to the project theme and how it influences their work.

Component 2 - Externally set assignment

Students select one from a range of externally set starting points. Students produce preparatory work, research and development of ideas ending with a 15 hour exam where they produce their final outcome/piece or pieces.  

After completion of Component 2, you and your teacher will put up an exhibition of your work to be moderated.

Entry requirement

To take A-Level Art students need to have a Grade 5 or above in GCSE Art. They will need a good English Language GCSE Grade. Enthusiasm, drive and commitment are essential as is the ability to do independent study. Good observational skills are also essential.

How is your work assessed?

The 2 components at A-Levek are marked seperately using 4 assessment objectives, seen on the grid below. Each unit is marked as a whole.

A visiting moderator will moderate the work.

AO1 Develop their ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.
AO2 Experiment with and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining their ideas as their work develops.
AO3 Record ideas, observations and insights relevent to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.
AO4 Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Weighting of units

Unit Title of Unit % of A-Level Mark
1 Personal Invesitgation 60
Externally set assignment 40

What's after A-Level Art?

Students achieve very good grades in A-Level Art. There is a 100% pass rate, many students exceeding their target grade. Many students go on to Art College and so that they are fully prepared for interview Mrs Wealleans assists in carefully compiling their portfolio for them to take along.

Students always get very positive feedback from interviews about the work undertaken in art at KSGS, students being very successful in the past, being offered places on their chosen degree course, some past students even being accepted at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art.

Even if you are not intending to do an Art degree, many universities like students to show diversity in their studies by having studied an Arts A-Level subject, demonstrating strong skills in visual communication/awareness and creativity.

Careers where A-Level Art would be useful

There are numerous career choices where an Art A-Level would be useful, to list a few:

  • Product Design
  • Graphic design
  • Architect
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Art Teacher/lecturer
  • Fashion designer
  • Set designer
  • Illustrator 
  • Career in Computer Graphics/Game Design    
  • Cartoonist   
  • Retail     
  • Special effect  
  • Theatre work    
  • Freelance artist      
  • Design for industry    
  • Gallery Curator    
  • Interior designer     
  • Photographer Advertising   
  • Marketing     
  • Media and publishing       
  • Web design