Art and design

Art and photography A level

With independence and freedom to explore a range of varied topics, artists and photographers at Teesdale develop their own emerging style through detailed exploration of materials and techniques.

Unlimited access to quality resources such as ceramics, sewing machines and SLR Canon cameras enables us to design and create individual artworks within projects inspired and driven by personal interests. Using sketchbooks or digital presentations to underpin portfolios, the research into artists and photographers informs the essential, quality drawing skills before development into preferred medias such as oil painting, clay, textiles or photography.

At A level, we are lucky to have our own darkroom where traditional methods of photography development can be learnt and compared to contemporary forms of digital editing in our new departmental computer suite. The study of editing processes to ensure quality digital outcomes promote transferable skills which prove invaluable in future careers.

In our dynamic world, Art and Photography education is widely recognised within our visual business era and opens opportunities into: industrial, interior and graphic design, marketing, fashion, animation, therapy, care-giving, curation, multimedia programming and of course fine art creation.


A level Art and Design and/or A level Photography

Awarding body


Entry requirements

GCSE at Grade 5 or above in both maths and English. Grade 6 or above in GCSE art and design or a Merit or above in BTEC art and design.

Year 12

Overview of skilled techniques and analogue/digital technology use.

An explorative portfolio shall be completed over Year 12 and into the 1st term of Year 13. This may comprise of 1 of 2 subject matters depending on individual preference. Topics for the portfolio can be of the candidates choosing inspired by their personal interests however guidance is often given. Previous topics have included: Rhythms and Cycles, Life and Death, Landscapes, Agriculture in Teesdale.

Year 13

Completion of portfolio and written essay of 1000- 3000 words. Previous topics have included: Stops and Stations, Artificial Lighting, Montage. The external exam paper is released in the February of Year 13 ending in a 10 hour sat exam in May.


60% Coursework – Portfolio and 1000-3000 word essay. Demonstrating skill and understanding of analytical design and development processes.

40% Exam – At the end of Year 13 - an externally set question from the exam board to be explored and presented over a 4 month period collating the skills learnt throughout the coursework portfolio process. A 10 hour exam time will be allocated to produce and complete a final piece for the project demonstrating practical competence.


Why study these subjects?

Art and Photography are becoming increasingly important in a world driven by mental health promotion as well as providing skills for the modern era of advancing technology and design that dominates businesses worldwide.

I enjoy the freedom of developing my own ideas using different materials and techniques. I also like researching a variety of artist and designers work to help inform my ideas.
Year 12 student

Potential career paths and further study

This course can lead to a whole host of opportunities including: ceramicist, painter, graphic designer, web design, art curator, exhibition reviewer, art restorer, model maker, set design, architect, storyboard artist, video game design, typography, commercial photography, cinematographer, Photoshop expert, photo journalism, film maker, animator, brand and logo designs, advertising, art teacher, art therapy, interior design, illustrator and more. It can also lead to art foundation courses and numerous art degrees at universities.

I really enjoy photography because it allows me to show people a different perspective on life. It allows me to draw attention to what would normally go unnoticed.
Year 12 student