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Why Choose Photography?

Photography is increasingly popular as an AS and A level choice. It provides the perfect opportunity to learn to produce work at a professional standard, at the same time as encouraging the exploration of photography as an artistic medium. It combines well with more traditional subjects, providing an outlet for creativity. Photography can be a useful addition to a student’s portfolio of qualifications and can also help to secure admission to Art College or university.

Although there is no formal requirement to have studied Photography before embarking on an A level course, it helps to have an informed interest in the subject.

A 35 mm single lens camera is required as well as your own film. Everything else is provided. Lessons take place in the purpose-built photography laboratory, which includes a fully-equipped darkroom.   See below for recent photographs.

The Course

The AS course teaches basic knowledge and techniques, including darkroom practice, relevant specialist vocabulary, and a study of the evolution of photography from the nineteenth century to the present day. We regard traditional wet-based photographic techniques as a prerequisite to the understanding of digital photography, and the use of Photoshop, which is introduced later in the course.  

  • For AS one unit of coursework is required accounting for 50% of the marks at AS and 25% of the total A level mark.
  • At A2 one further unit of coursework is required accounting for 50% of the marks at A2 and 25% of the total A level mark.  

The coursework is marked by the Tutors at the end of the Spring Term, before being submitted to the scrutiny of a Moderator nominated by the AQA.  


For both AS and A2, the final unit is a controlled assignment, which must be done under exam conditions. Students must be prepared to work outside school hours and at weekends in the run-up to the exams. Visits to Photographic exhibitions, galleries and museums are arranged on a regular basis by Tutors for the benefit of students. Their experience of other people’s work allows students to explore the historical, social and technical aspects of photography, forming a basis for the work journals, which are an integral part of coursework.  
As part of their course, students are expected to take photographs in a variety of settings, including open-air locations. They may be instructed to search out suitable settings/locations for photographs outside the College.  

Preferred Board: AQA

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