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Art & Design (Photography) GCE A level (S9407)

Paston College

Grammar School Road, North Walsham, Norfolk, NR28 9JL

GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Level 3
Arts, Media and Publishing

Available start dates

Available start dates

Friday, 01 September 2023
Paston College
2 Year(s)
Full time
Daytime/working hours

Application Instructions

3 A Level Programme

Minimum of 66444 at GCSE (Please note : grade 4 may be replaced by an 'old C' grade and grade 6 by 'old' B grade)

Vocational subjects cannot replace GCSEs for entry on to an A Level programme.

You must also study English/Maths GCSE if you have not already achieved grade 4 in these subjects.

4 A level programme

If you achieve a minimum of 3 GCSE's at grade 8 (A*) plus 5 at grade 7 (A) and your English Language and Maths are at minimum grade 4, you will have the option to join the A Plus programme.

Please note that A Plus is designed for applicants to academic courses at Oxford, Cambridge or other Russel Group universities. Grades in vocational subjects cannot replace GCSE's for entry to this programme.

Vocational programmes

Minimum of five grade 4 at GCSE (or old grade C) or Merit/Distinction in a relevant BTEC First Diploma (or equivalent) plus 1 grade 4 (or old grade 4) at GCSE. You must also study English Language and/or Maths GCSE if you have not already achieved grade 4 in these subjects.

Level 2 programme

Minimum of three grade 4 at GCSE (or old Grade C).

This programme is designed for those students who just miss our entry requirements for level 3 study. It includes an opportunity to improve your GCSE English Language and Maths grades, alongside a Workskills course to develop the skills required for progression into employment or onto a level 3 programme.

Course Details

This two year course aims to provide the range of skills and creative opportunities that can be applied to areas of professional practice and potentially further study at degree level. We tailor the course to maximise your individual interests and develop your own creative identity with a strong sense of cultural awareness. The two units that are covered during this course are personal investigation: exploring a self-initiated photographic theme and an externally set assignment which encourages you to choose from eight themes and produce a final piece during A fifteen-hour practical exam. In both units, you will be asked to produce experimental coursework and research prior to a final piece.
Throughout the course you will learn a wide range of practical, expressive and theoretical skills to build creative confidence.

These skills include:


• Understanding camera features in film and digital formats from 35mm, medium and large format

• Understanding light and exposure and applying camera techniques to suit portrait, landscape and still-life subjects

• Using photographic accessories such a studio and off-camera flash, lens filters, time lapse etc.

• Manipulation and refinement of imagery through digital software (Adobe Photoshop) and darkroom practice, processing and enlarging black & white film negatives.


• Understanding how to combine technique and subject matter into photographic themes to express a personal vision

• Applying skills and ideas to contexts such as documentary, fine art, commercial, editorial and natural history photography.


• Exploring elements of the history and contemporary practice of photography to gain inspiration

• Understanding and applying analytical skills in writing about and discussing photographer’s work.

Photography gives you a brilliant creative outlet where you might not have conventional artistic skills such as drawing and painting. We organise local, national and international trips that will give you the opportunity to capture fascinating locations and cultural diversity. You will also take part in our end of year Paston Art Show where work from across all art & design subjects are exhibited in the Griffon Studios’ exhibition space. If you want to create bold, insightful and memorable photographic work, enjoy and take pride in the creative process and understand more about how important photography is in today’s creative industry, then this course is for you.

You will be assessed formally through assessment criteria from the exam board and informally through one to one appraisals of ongoing coursework. You will also be assessed through a variety of coursework and will be asked to complete preparatory studies to complete a finished piece of work completed under exam conditions.

Entry requirements

Minimum of 66444 grades at GCSE (please note: grade 4 may be replaced by 'old' grade C and grade 6 by 'old' grade B). You must also study English/Maths GCSE if you have not achieved a grade 4 or old grade C in these subjects.

Additional Entry Requirements:-
Art, Graphics or Photography GCSE grade 5.

If you did not take an Arts GCSE you must have a portfolio approved at interview.

Your next steps...

You can go on to do various forms of photography or other art subjects at University. A number of students have gone on to study subjects such as architecture, fashion and marketing, film production with the the experience they have gained from this course.

For more courses like this, check our courses page.