PHOTOGRAPHY

“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.”

– Bruno Barbey

The Photography department is all about creativity and we are very proud of the amazing work produced by our students. We set projects that encourage students to think through their ideas and to continually develop their skills through creative and innovative outcomes.

Photography Department Objectives

Our aim is to give the students a firm foundation in the basic skills and techniques of photography and contextual investigations with elements of the GCE criteria. This not only provides a rich and exciting curriculum, but successfully prepares students if they choose further study the subject in their future.

The AS & A Level Photography Unit 1 Coursework comprises of several projects. Students are introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of photographic media, techniques and processes. They work with both traditional and new technologies. These projects show students development of skills and techniques, which they develop into their own final outcomes.


  • Interpreting the requirements of national strategies and courses to provide a range of developing and challenging sequential learning experiences in art.
  • Creating a stimulating environment using a range of resources and displays that offers secure and supportive working conditions for the making of art work.
  • Welcoming and valuing the individual response of all students, at every level, and ability. To provide equal educational opportunities to all individuals.


Photography is taught over 7 scheduled 75 minute lessons per cycle (2 weeks). The course is made up of 60% coursework and 40% exam. This course will involve students in: generating and developing ideas, informed by other artists work; refining ideas through experimenting, developing and applying skills; researching, recording, analysing and reviewing their own and others work; creating and presenting personally developed pieces.

Through observation and analysis students will research and discover new artists and photographers that allow them to develop their own visions. Students will learn camera and editing techniques, as well as the ability to develop, execute and evaluate their own creative concepts. While there is more emphasis on digital photography, the course will experiment with traditional analogue photography.

Students produce a portfolio of work from starting points, topics or themes. The focus is on including work that shows exploration, research and acquisition of techniques and skills. The course is structured into small assignments across year one and a more independent led study in year two.

Future Aspirations

The department offers A Levels which really prepare students for university. Many of our students choose to study a visual arts subject at higher educational institutions and, out of those who have applied, 100% have successfully gained a place - 95% of which are unconditional offers.

Key Stage 5

A Level Photography

Our projects have been carefully evolved so that students practice photographic techniques, digital and analogue processes, digital software manipulation and photographic presentation through exciting themes that often link with learning in other subjects. Introducing and developing a range of media, skills, techniques, processes and concepts that enable students to develop their ideas, express themselves and have the confidence to use a range of visual elements in the making of photographs, outcomes and critical judgments.

Areas of Study

​Students will explore one or more area(s) of Photography, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas.

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape photography (working from the urban, rural and/or coastal environment)
  • Still-life photography, working from objects or from the natural world
  • Documentary photography, Photo Journalism
  • Experimental imagery
  • Photographic installation, video, television and film.


Course Projects

  • Compositional & Formal Elements
  • Alphabet Project
  • Recreating Art
  • London Project
  • Digital Manipulation
  • Darkroom Processing
  • Personal Investigations (Year 13)

Skills and Techniques

​Students will demonstrate skills, in the context of their chosen area(s) of Photography, they are required to demonstrate skills in all of the following:

  • the ability to explore elements of visual language, line, form, colour, pattern and texture in the context of Photography
  • the ability to respond to an issue, theme, concept or idea or work to a brief or answer a need in Photography
  • appreciation of viewpoint, composition, depth of field and movement; time-based, through such techniques as sequence or ‘frozen moment’
  • the appropriate use of the camera, film, lenses, filters and lighting for work in their chosen area of Photography
  • understanding of techniques related to the developing and printing of photographic images, where appropriate, presentation and layout.


Knowledge and Understanding

​Students will need to show knowledge and understanding of:

  • how ideas, feelings and meanings can be conveyed and interpreted in images and artifacts created in the chosen area(s) of Photography
  • historical and contemporary developments and different styles and genres
  • how images and artifacts relate to social, environmental, cultural and/or ethical contexts, and to the time and place in which they were created
  • continuity and change in different styles, genres and traditions relevant to Photography
  • the working vocabulary and specialist terminology which is relevant to their chosen area(s) of Photography.

Component 1 – Personal Portfolio

60% of the overall qualification

90 marks (Split into 2 sections listed below)

Content overview

Incorporates three major elements: supporting studies, practical work, and a personal study.

  • Practical Work & Supporting Studies : 72 marks (80% of component 1) work will comprise a portfolio of development work and outcomes based on themes and ideas developed from personal starting points.
  • Personal Study (Essay) : 18 marks (20% of component 1) will be evidenced through critical written communication showing contextual research and understanding in a minimum 1000 words of continuous prose (max 3000), which may contain integrated images.

The personal study comprises 12% of the total A Level qualification.

Component 2 – Externally Set Assignment

40% of the qualification

72 marks (18 marks for each of the four Assessment Objectives)

Content overview

Students must continue to work to the same criteria as they did for the Personal Portfolio. The ESA is split into 2 sections

  • Preparatory Studies : Will comprise a portfolio of development work based on the ESA broad-based thematic starting point. These studies will form the basis of most of the students marks.
  • Timed Exam : 15-hour Sustained Focus Period (3 days) : Under examination conditions, students will work unaided to produce personal response(s), with reference to their preparatory studies, in response to the ESA broad-based thematic starting point.

KS5 Assessments Objectives:

All pupils are assessed termly against creative ability. All assessments are graded against the government standards. Pupils will follow the Pearson (EdExcel) assessment criteria and all work done will be against the GCSE & A Level assessment objectives:

A01: DEVELOP : Research, Images & Artists

  • Develop your ideas through investigations informed by contextual sources, demonstrate analytical and cultural understanding

A02: REFINE : Experiments with media

  • Refine your ideas through experimenting and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes

A03: RECORD : Ideas, observations drawing and explanations

  • Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to your intentions in visual and other forms

A04: PRESENT : Final Outcomes

  • Present a personal, informed, and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and making connections between other visual elements.

Independent Learning Tasks: Homework is an important part of the curriculum and the use of a projects and sketchbook encourages independence, imagination and good practice. Students should click the Show My Homework icon to login.