Art and Design

A Level
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Amanda Bollini

What is A Level Art and Design?

In our daily lives we come into contact with a multitude of items that are the work of artists and designers; clothing, magazines, furniture, websites, cars, shops; you only have to think of television programmes such as ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ and ‘Grand Designs’ to realise the importance we give to good design. The visual arts can cover a multitude of possibilities in two and three dimensions from drawing, painting and sculpture through to commercial applications in graphics, fashion, film, industrial and interior design.

If you are interested in any form of art and design and wish to develop your skills through practical, hands-on experience, then this course could be for you. Many of our students go on to follow careers in art and design but for others it is just an opportunity to gain a good  A Level grade in a subject they enjoy!

Is Art and Design suitable for me?

This course requires enthusiasm and ideas, solid drawing ability and an interest in extending your knowledge of artists and designers are also helpful. To succeed you need to be good at working independently, managing your time and meeting deadlines.

You will have the opportunity to investigate a range of new techniques and media alongside developing your existing skills. The course allows you to explore your ideas through fine art, graphic and three dimensional work. The use of traditional approaches such as drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture is complemented by the opportunity to integrate photography, film and image manipulation software. Many students combine traditional and new approaches to create inventive mixed media work.

Whatever your interest all students enjoy the personal project work in specialist, well equipped Art and Design studios.

How will I learn?

You will be taught in the College’s Michael Gray Art and Music Centre by enthusiastic and experienced staff. The first eight weeks of the AS course are dedicated to drawing, printmaking and painting, building your practical skills to help you tackle independent project work more confidently. After the induction period you will develop a more personal body of work that will form the basis of your coursework submission, you will be encouraged to resolve this project in an ambitious final piece in the second term. The first year concludes with a second independent project leading to an examination.

We complement your studio work by regularly organising visits to art galleries and exhibitions and each February we take a party of art students to a cultural centre overseas. In recent years we have visited New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Istanbul, Vienna and Budapest.

4 to 5 hours private study per week is expected.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework: 50%; Exam - 50%.

Component 1: Personal Investigation (50%)

Part 1 – practical work:  From personal starting points students submit: supporting studies and practical outcome(s).

Part 2 – personal study:  Students submit a piece of continuous prose of a minimum of 1000 words.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment with 15 hour controlled test (50%)

Each unit will include development studies and research in a work journal or sketchbook together with finished pieces of work.


Whilst many students go on to follow Art and Design courses in higher education, this course is by no means only for future Artists and Designers. A Level Art and Design is accepted by all universities for almost all courses. It offers a broad and valuable education developing aesthetic awareness and judgement together with creative thinking.

There are a wide range of creative degrees available, in subjects as diverse as animation, graphic design, illustration, fashion and textiles, furniture, jewellery and many more! Most students wishing to pursue a degree in Art and Design will initially choose a place on a one year Art Foundation course. Successful Alton College A level art students have the opportunity to stay on to complete an art foundation course here.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.

We will normally expect you to have achieved a grade C in GCSE Art, although in exceptional circumstances we do consider students without an Art qualification.

Course costs

Essential: £30 for sketchbooks and materials.

Optional:   £50 for trips and additional materials.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code

Edexcel 9AD0