Key Stage 3
Students are set photographic tasks to support their research for Fine Art, 3D and Textiles. These images are often used for digital manipulation tasks using Adobe Photoshop. There is a yearly photographic competition which many students take part in often winning many prizes.
Key Stage 4
GCSE Photography, is examined through WJEC. Photography offers stimulating and exciting units of work access to a fantastic array of photographic equipment. Students study a coursework portfolio within which they will gain a deep understanding of how to use a digital SLR camera. App based homework is useful and it helpful if students have a smart phone. Understanding composition or having an eye for photography will be a critical point in the course. Using Adobe Photoshop students will enhance and develop images learning a variety of image manipulation skills. Students will also use a variety of hands on practical drawing and collage skills to enhance and display their work. Upon the completion of the first section of the portfolio which is skills based, students are able to personalise their projects choosing their own ideas and themes to arrive at a unique and original final piece.
This makes up 60% of the marks for their GCSE and then pupils complete an Exam that makes up 40% of their GCSE mark. Students are allowed to choose their own topic from a list of twenty one starting points on the exam paper. Over the two years the students’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Photography will develop. This enables them to improve and hone their photographic and creative artistic skills to create striking and accomplished sets of images within the portfolio. Students can choose to continue to develop these skills into A Level.
Key Stage 5
AS/A2 Art Photography is available to all students with a keen interest in Photography and strong IT skills. This modern exciting course will allow students in Year 12 to learn the full functions of a digital SLR. Gaining a fluid understanding of composition, depth of field, aperture, f stops, ISO and shutter speed will allow students to control their photographs. The course will also help students gain an awareness of use of light and digital-pixel processing, emphasising photo-shop techniques and alternative hardware support such as graphics tablets, scanners, printers and digital pens. Students will be expected to keep a sketchbook to record their ideas and developments. This will still have a degree of manual hands on manipulation and presentation. The Personal Creative Enquiry sketchbook is 40% of the full A level. It is 100% of the AS qualification. Just some of the processes and techniques students will look at are ambient light and flash photography, long exposures (bulb), sequence photography, joiners, close up photography and an array of Adobe Photoshop image manipulation. Good I.C.T. skills are helpful and it is expected but not compulsory that the students have followed a GCSE in any Art discipline. The school has a number of SLR cameras but it is important that students have access to a reasonable quality digital camera of their own too. It is vital that students view the work of other photographers and Artists first hand. There are a number of trips available to encourage students to do this.
In Year 13, they will pursue one major Personal Investigation accounting for 36% of the full A Level. Students can choose to develop a photographic skill of their choice to a very high level. This unit is saturated in the work of others helping students absorb culture, context and process in order to inspire a very personal final outcome. Candidates who wish to study photography to AS or A2 level should have a passion for and interest in recording and expressing themselves through the media of photography. Candidates should also realise that they have to present visual and written information through collage. It is also vital students can interpret work visually, describing and analysing the work of others with a personal in depth mature approach.
The Externally Set Assignment makes up 24% of the A Level mark. During the Externally Set Assignment Exam pupils choose one from twenty starting points on which they can base their artwork.
Each year we have an A Level Art Show during the summer term to promote the achievements of the students and the school. The show is always visually exciting and never fails to impress the public and the pupil population of the school.
Words used in visual language are displayed around all three art rooms and pupils are encouraged to involve Welsh artists in their research work when relevant. Welsh artists have served residencies in the department in the past and all art pupils are encouraged to enter welsh based art competitions such as the National Eisteddfod and the Urdd. Incidental Welsh is always used within lesson conducted through the medium of English.
Art Photography is a very popular subject that tends to attract delightful pupils and examination results are well above local and national figures and we benefit from lots of positive feedback about the pupils achievements from both the pupils and parents and exam board moderators. The course has gone from strength to strength proving to be very popular with students and very applicable to the digital world we now find ourselves living in. It seems that the art department has a renowned excelled reputation that spreads across Wales and parts of England.