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Exam Board: Edexcel
Course Duration: 2 yrs (1 yr option)


Creativity, or as the late writer and thinker John Berger preferred to describe it as “... the act of giving form to what we receive...“, is at the heart of every area of our lives; an essential activity, that enables us to become closer to Nature and the human-made world around us that derives from Nature;  pay homage to them, and increasingly care for them …  as well as its value as a commercial venture bringing in GDP.
The art department provides an environment where students can develop and nurture this life affirming activity, both visually and conceptually, developing their own unique approach to the visual arts with the support of our tutors / teachers.

More success for GCSE Art: RCA and Young Art 2020/21

Course Content At A Glance

Component 1 - Personal Portfolio
Component 1 is the larger of the 2 components, or projects and its contents are generated by the students but supported with the guidance of the teacher. It consists of between 35 and 45 sides of a work-journal (A3 in size); usually also with larger works, that won’t fit into the journal but are documented/photographed and then included. As well as practical work, the project includes some research and critical study of artists and various other subject-matter that the students are interested in and that visually and or conceptually connect with their chosen area of study. The project should demonstrate a growing visual/conceptual path and end with a final piece, or series of pieces in two and or three dimensions, that demonstrate a ‘personal’ culmination of the period of exploration and study.

The work should demonstrate the Knowledge, Understanding and Skills that are outlined in the current specification.

This component comprises 60% of the GCSE Art marks.

Component 2 - Externally set assignment
Component 2 is a shorter project of between 25 and 35 sides of the same sized A3 work-journal and they devise, again with help and support of their teacher, a personal response to a theme set by the exam board; however all the set themes are so wide in scope, that they enable students to choose their own subject matter and directions.

The project may be linked in some ways to the first unit but does not have to be.

As with component 1, this component consists of mostly practical work with elements of research and critical evaluation and again demonstrates the Knowledge, Understanding and Skills outlined in the specification.

This component comprises 40% of the marks and takes up approximately 40% of the time.


LEFT: a GCSE student, working on his Exam Installation
RIGHT: his large photographic piece also for the exam with himself lying down in the foreground.

Recommended Reading

The Story of Art,  E.M Gombrich
Ways of Seeing, J Berger
The Oxford Dictionary of Art & Artists
Painting Today,  Pub: Phaidon
Art Today, pub: Phaidon
Vitamin P series, pub: Phaidon

Recommended Websites

Edexcel - GCSE Art and Design (fine art)
The National Gallery
The Whitechapel Gallery
The Royal Academy
The Serpentine Gallery


Tika, 'Abstracted Circle - after Stone Henge', woodblocks with small oil paintings on paper

Prompassom, 'Night & Day', oil on paper


A GCSE in Art & Design (fine art) can lead in many fruitful & exciting directions, including to: an A-level in the same subject, or another adjacent subject, such as History of Art and then on to a degree or diploma qualification in fine art, or an applied art such as: Graphics,  Animation,  Lighting Engineering/Display,  Theatre Design,  Advertising, Architecture,  Computer Games/Visual Effects … and on to further post-graduate studies & many fascinating careers  … or still further post-graduate studies before the job market.


ABOVE LEFT Monica, 'Pollution', 2017, Oil on Paper

ABOVE RIGHT A* student, Isabelle, 'Time', 2017,
Pencil, Chalk, Charcoal & Ink

The 'Tuesday Art Club' has gained and retained a regular group of enthusiasts, some of whom have returned to art after a gap of some years and are not studying the subject for the purpose of taking an exam but for its own sake.  It is wonderful to attend, encourage and resource the students' interest and unique skills in interpreting aspects of our visible and conceptual world.  

One of the Art Club members, Diana (below) working on her piece which took many weeks to complete (a record, timewise, I think) and the final hard-won painting!


ABOVE LEFT  Diana working on 'The Ghost In The Machine', Acrylic and Oil on Paper

ABOVE RIGHT  'The Ghost In The Machine', 2016, (finished painting) Acrylic and Oil on Paper.


Below are more examples of GCSE students' work:



Three of our GCSE students works selected for the RCA Show:


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