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The Art and Design GCSE course is run over three years. The course starts at the beginning of September in Year 9 and covers aspects of drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, textiles, clay-work and 3D work. Drawing assignments are set as homework, in addition to any preparation work necessary for the development of a student’s own ideas and projects.

It is important to note that this examination calls for initiative on the part of the candidates and that they will be required to show evidence of creative thinking and an ability to sustain concentrated in-depth individual study. This applies increasingly in Year 11 as a controlled test of 10 hours is required at the end of the final exam project. In order to gain a good grade at Art and Design GCSE, pupils must be determined to develop good technical skills, willing to think originally and develop ideas independently.

The pupils’ work is examined in the May of Year 11 and takes the form of an individual exhibition of work produced during the course; internal and external assessors grade this independently and the board sets the final grade. 60% of the marks are gained for coursework and 40% are for the exam controlled project. Both coursework and exam project must be passed.

It is not generally appreciated how wide the field of career possibilities is to those who leave school with a broad understanding of skills in Art and Design, Graphics, Fabric, Interior Design and other creative industries. It is always a strong influence on a prospective employer when school leavers can show clear visual evidence of their ability to think, plan, persevere and ultimately complete a project on their own initiative. The portfolio of finished work is the Art student’s ‘Record of Achievement’ and can be referred to at any time.