Our Lady's Abingdon - OLA 6th Art & Design

OLA 6th Art & Design

The A-Level course is structured to meet the needs of the students who wish to pursue a career in Art and Design or as part of a range of subjects for application in associated fields of work such as architecture, engineering, marketing, publishing and media. Success at A-Level requires above all enthusiasm, determination and dedication. It is a busy course with an emphasis on problem solving and lateral thinking, with research and development of visual ideas being pursued with ambition and purpose.

Awarding body: AQA

Specification: 7202


It is recommended that students have studied Art and Design at GCSE Level but it is not a prerequisite.

Learning Opportunities

The main purpose of any course in art is to develop an ability to appreciate the visual world, respond to it in a personal and creative way and develop a working knowledge of materials, practices and technology within art. The development of creative powers, an appreciation of art history and an understanding of the place art in society is at the heart of the course. In practical terms students will be offered opportunities to express their ideas through a variety of media, thereby gaining a practical grounding in skills and techniques such as:

• Drawing and painting
• Sculpture
• Printmaking
• Textiles
• Ceramics
• Installation
• Photography

Further Study

There is a vast number of higher education courses available in the visual arts with future career prospects in fine art, architecture, product design, fashion, ceramics, printmaking, photography, teaching, research and museum work to name but a few. Every year we have a number of students go on to study on such courses throughout the UK.

Course Structure: A-Level

The A-Level is a two year course, with the first two terms of the first year being dedicated to developing skills across a range of activities in drawing, paint, print, ceramics and photography.

This will be supported by extensive contextual discussion and investigation; looking at the place of art in the world. We will also be visiting galleries, writing art appreciation/history of art essays and inviting visiting artists to provide specialist workshops.

All of this work will be integrated into the development of individual portfolios where the pupils will be encouraged to follow particular routes of interest and work up specific ideas and projects. The final term of the first year will be spent beginning to think about the Personal Investigation. We will expect everyone to have started this component by the end of summer term and be ready to push ahead with the investigation over the summer break.

The first term of the second year will be spent completing the Personal Investigation, which will be handed in for marking by the end of January. Preparation for the Externally Set Assignment will begin on February 1 of the Upper Sixth year.


Component 1 – Personal Investigation – 60% of the A-Level

This is a practical investigation supported by written material. Students are required to conduct a practical investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. The investigation should be a coherent, in depth study that demonstrates the student’s ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning from an initial starting point to a final realisation. The investigation must show clear development from initial intentions to the final outcome or outcomes.

Component 2 – Externally Set Assignment – 40% of the A-Level

A question paper will be set by the examining board. This will consist of a choice of eight questions to be used as starting points. Students will be required to select one. Examination papers will be provided from 1 February, or as soon as possible after that date. Preparatory work can be presented in any suitable format, such as mounted sheets and/or sketchbooks. Following the preparatory period students must complete 15 hours of unaided, supervised time in which they must produce a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes, informed by their preparatory work. If you love looking, drawing and making you will enjoy this course. If colour, advertising, architecture, product design, dress design, textiles, photography and all things creative grab your imagination then Art and Design is for you.

Paper Dress by Grace, Music by James, OLA 6th Students

Bannerman Island Diorama Project by Dominic OLA 6th

Art project by Emma, Music by James, OLA 6th Students

OLA 6th Art Students at work in the studio

Preparatory work for studying Art in the Sixth Form

Preparation for the A-level art course can begin over the summer break prior to the start of L6. It is recommended that pupils become familiar with some of the bigger galleries in London, preferably through visits. Pinpoint specific exhibitions and become familiar with well-known art critics by reading reviews on line or in the papers. If you happen to be abroad seek out exhibitions or galleries in the area and begin the habit of collecting images and information. It all feeds in to your development as an active viewer, artist and art historian.