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Art and Design (Fine Art): A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 4 or above in GCSE Art and Design.


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Success, creativity and a range of techniques

Our department offers students the chance to use a range of creative techniques. We have digital editing facilities, the opportunity to create large scale prints, etchings and paintings, coupled with the opportunity to experiment with mixed media and large scale sculpture and installation.

Such diverse opportunities breed success: in 2018 two thirds of students achieved grades A*, A or B, with a 100% pass rate overall. Previously, ours was the highest achieving Sixth Form art department in the country for value added. Our staff have expertise in fine art, ceramics, sculpture, installation art, performance art, textiles and photography.

We aim to give students the opportunity to undertake workshops and experiment with wider ranges of materials, techniques and processes at the beginning of the course–which the students have commented makes them more confident in their own creative processes and more willing to take risks with their own aesthetic.


The course

Workshops and short term projects

This involves drawing, painting, print making, etching, photography, Photoshop, 3D-making techniques, including low relief and built surfaces. This can also include students’ own investigations into any other mixed media techniques and anything else they wish to explore. If a student’s work is suitable, they may wish to include, or use it as the starting point, for their personal investigation at the start of the second year.

Personal investigation

A ‘ journal’ of 1,000 words and a visual representation of a student’s choosing, detailing their journey towards a final outcome. (60% of student’s A-level).

Externally set exam project

This starts in February and runs until early May, providing 40% of a student’s A-level. Students respond to an externally set question paper, choosing one of the questions and producing work in relation to this starting point.


Beyond the classroom

Past activities have included:

  • Visits to the Sheffield Hallam University degree show.
  • Visits to art galleries in Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester.
  • Visiting lecturers from Sheffield Hallam University to lead workshops for students with interest in architecture.
  • Visits to Chesterfield College to experience life drawing.
  • Murals and installations in the building.



Many of our students go on to study Foundation Art at Chesterfield, preparing them for BA study at prestigious universities throughout the country. Our alumni include students who have gone on to work for Disney/Pixar and BMW in Germany.

Almost all universities accept Art as an A-level for UCAS application, and the portfolio of work produced is a welcome addition at interview to show a range of skills and strengths of the candidate. Many see it as the basis for problem-solving in degree subjects. Art portfolios are warmly received for careers in subjects like Engineering.