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Art and Design

A Level Art and Design is a two-year course which provides candidates with a range of opportunities to develop personal responses to ideas, observations, experiences, environments and cultures in practical, critical and contextual forms. This experience lays a foundation for further study of Fine Art or related subjects in Higher Education. It is suitable for you if you want to develop your interest in and enjoyment of art.

Subject content

Art and Design encompasses a wide range of techniques and processes with a particular emphasis on drawing. You will undertake academic drawing tuition, including life drawing, in order to develop key skills before developing your own ideas and specialisms. You can also explore painting, print, 3D, photography and digital processes.

This course is an award of EDEXCEL. You can see the course specifications by downloading the A Level Art and Design Specifications booklet.

Learning methods

In the first year, you will study a skills-based foundation course preparing you for the first major project (Personal Investigation), worth 60% of the total A Level mark. The Personal Investigation begins towards the end of the first year and continues up until the end of January of the second year to give you the time needed to create individual, ambitious work with an in-depth exploration of a personal theme. This project is then followed by an externally set assignment worth 40% of the total A Level mark and encompasses a 15-hour formal exam at the end of the project.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE Grade 5 or above in Art and Design (Fine Art or Art and Design and submission of a digital portfolio covering a range of media. Students who have not been to a school which offers GCSE Art can still apply with a portfolio. We will contact you to request your portfolio after you have applied).

Equipment/additional costs

To study the course, you will need to purchase a ‘Build a Kit’ of compulsory materials. These are available to buy from Barnsley Sixth Form College, just fill in the ‘Build a Kit’ form and bring this with you on your induction day. Students also find it useful to have, craft knife, posca pens, coloured pens or white gel pens.


The course is 60% coursework. You will be required to submit completed projects on set deadlines for assessment. Some assessments will be carried out in one-to-one discussions with your tutor to check progress before final submissions of completed coursework. The 15-hour exam at the end of the externally set assignment is marked as part of the whole project and is worth 40% of your final grade.

Progression opportunities

You can progress to Higher Education to study a variety of Art-related courses such as fine art, sculpture, graphics, textiles and photography. The portfolio of practical work produced on this course will also be useful for interviews, employment and further study. Potential career routes include: fine art, graphic design, animation, illustration, product design, media, marketing, advertising and fashion.

Meet the A Level expert

Chloe Moulding

Chloe is a passionate Art teacher with a strong knowledge of various artistic forms who specialises in printing. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography from the University of Huddersfield.

Chloe said: “Art and Design provides a vast range of opportunities to explore any creative ability and skill. It allows you to specialise in your own creative niche and create unique artwork inspired by the art around us. Art and Design not only develops art specific knowledge and skills, it also improves transferrable skills such as collaboration, problem solving and creativity that will help for after college life.”

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