AQA - Art and Design at GCSE level

The Art and Design department at GCSE provides students with opportunities to develop personal responses to ideas, observations, experiences, environments and cultures in practical, critical and contextual forms. We use AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) as our chosen examining board because they offer a wide range of art specialisms as well as fantastic administrative support to help us to ensure students are given the best possible opportunity to succeed in their qualification. We offer two courses at GCSE: Art and Design and Graphic Communications.

Art and Design

GCSE Art and Design is an open and enabling course which suits students who enjoy the freedom of working in many different media and developing ideas using a wide variety of techniques and processes. 

Students are required to work in at least two of the following areas of Art and Design. They may overlap and combine areas:

  • Fine Art
  • Graphic Communication
  • Textile Design
  • Three-Dimensional Design
  • Photography: lens-based and light-based media

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Graphic Communication

GCSE Graphic Communication is a course focusing on digital photography and Adobe Photoshop manipulation. We offer a fine art and commercial approach to image making. This course encourages students to use imagination and creativity to develop CD covers, T-shirt designs, package designs, posters and web designs.

Candidates are required to work in one or more area of Graphic Communication such as those listed below. They may overlap and combine areas:

  • Illustration
  • Advertising
  • Packaging design
  • Communication graphics
  • Design for print
  • Animation
  • Digital media
  • Web Design, Television, Multimedia.
  • Lens-based and light-based media: film, animation, video and photography
  • New media practices such as computer generated imagery. 

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AQA GCSE Specification Summary for:

Art & Design and Graphic Communication


This is a portfolio of work which will be facilitated by staff to encourage a variety of different ideas, techniques and processes in each chosen course. Students will be directed to explore a range of artists, designers and crafts people to inspire a broad base of skills. The unit will be separated into two projects concentrating on two different themes. The development of these projects will prepare students to explore their own ideas, themes and concepts towards a
personal final response.

UNIT 1 = 80 marks (50%)

UNIT 2 - Externally Set-Assignment

Students will be given an externally-set assignment in the form of an exam paper which will contain eight exciting starting points. Students will choose one question and have 8 weeks to research and develop work. At the end of the 8 weeks students will be invigilated during a 10 hour exam period during which time a personal response to the development of their work must be completed.

UNIT 2 = 80 marks (50%)