Art and Design: Photography & Light Based Media (AQA)

Photography is an art based subject. Students will be taught basic and more advanced photographic skills alongside creative use of digital software including Photoshop and apple software on iMac computers.

In Year 12, they will be encouraged to develop their work imaginatively and artistically through independent research and personal development of ideas. If you’re interested in expressing yourself through the lens and have a desire to master image manipulation and enhancement, then this is the course for you!

Course Content & Assessment

Continuing to build on the experiences, skills and techniques developed in Year 12, in Year 13 students will begin to direct the focus of their study towards their own personal interests within Photography.

This will include research into themes and artists of interest, followed by individuals making a personal response in the form of any valid Photography outcome.

Gallery visits and the study of contemporary and traditional photographers are central to the course.

Component 1 (60%) – Personal Investigation

This is a practical investigation supported by written material of between 1000-3000 words.

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.

Component 2 (40%) – Externally Set Assignment

This unit is set by the examination board. You will get a choice from several questions and be expected to respond to one.

You have several weeks for your investigation which is very important and should be thorough, as the assessment will focus on this to a great extent.

The timed and supervised section is 15 hours.


The teaching will build on related GCSE courses. You might not have done Photography before, but related GCSE subjects like Art will help! Techniques will be taught and creative approaches discussed. The teacher will guide each individual to work to their strengths and develop areas of weakness. You will be asked to thoroughly research and investigate your chosen area of study and display your projects in portfolios. A significant proportion of this process will be conducted out of lesson hours. Peer review and self-assessment will be used as an aid to learning.

Your Future

The visual arts contribute towards making the world a better place to be. To be able to comment on this and have a better understanding of the visual world is reward in itself! For others the career opportunities in this field are extensive.
A wide range of careers are available to photography students, including travel photography, book/magazine photography, sports photography, fashion photography, architectural photography, freelance photography or portrait photography. A Level Photography is recognised by universities and colleges as a benchmark for career development.

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The Blue Coat Sixth Form is proud to be part of the Cranmer Education Trust

Cranmer Education Trust is a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity registered in England. Company registration number: 07687709. Registered Office: Cranmer Education Trust, c/o The Blue Coat School, Egerton Street, Oldham OL1 3SQ. The website address is and the phone number 0161 785 5082.