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A-level Art and DesignApply Now »

Note - you only need to make one application for A-levels. You can specify the additional A-Levels you wish to study when you fill out the application form

Course Image
Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 2

Interview: Y

Course Summary

The A-level in Art and Design is a linear qualification studied over two years and has been specifically designed for students wishing to study a single creative subject alongside other academic qualifications, plus work experience, tutorial and personal and professional development.

This broad-based art, craft and design course will enable you to explore a range of two-dimensional, three-dimensional or time-based approaches to your studies or to produce work entirely from a single discipline including graphic design, textiles, photography and fine art.

It is designed to support development of skills, creativity, imagination and independence based on personal experience, taught skills and critical understanding. You will show this through your response to a range of stimuli.

In your chosen subject areas, you will explore specialist processes and techniques such as drawing, painting, digital manipulation, photography, constructing fabrics and surface decoration - all of which will help you to understand the history and development of a specialism.

The course provides a very thorough and rewarding study of art and design, including extensive practical and theoretical/historical elements. It provides the freedom for you to experiment and take risks with your work while developing your own style.

Entry requirements

You will need at least five GCSEs at grade 4 [C] or above, including English Language at grade 5 [C/B] and Maths at grade 4 [C].  In addition, you should have GCSE Art and Design or a similar creative subject at grade 4 [C] or above. A small portfolio of your work will be required at the interview or taster day. You will be expected to demonstrate a keen interest in art and design and to have good awareness of contemporary trends in the discipline.

Course Content

The A-level in Art and Design consists of two components, both teacher assessed and externally moderated.

You will study at least two separate disciplines in Component 1, with the option to specialise in Component 2 - producing work in one or more disciplines.

Component 1:

Personal Investigation has two integrated elements: a portfolio of practical work consisting of a sustained project, theme or course of study and a related study which explores the context in which your chosen practical area of study exists.

Component 2:

The externally set task will give you a choice of themes, each with a choice of written and/or visual starting points, briefs or stimuli. From this you will choose one option for which to generate an appropriate personal response for assessment.

How will I be assessed?

This is a linear qualification in which all assessments must be taken at the end of the course. Work is continually assessed and you will discuss and evaluate your own work. Assessment constitutes:

Component 1:

Personal Investigation: internally set, assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the awarding body: 60% of the total qualification

Component 2:

Externally Set Assignment: externally set, assessed by your teacher and externally moderated by the awarding body: 40% of the total qualification

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

A small studio fee of £25 will be required for this subject. This covers the cost of essential course materials and resources. However, if you wish to explore additional specialist materials or non-traditional materials that are not covered within the course, you will be responsible for sourcing and providing such materials. You will also need to make a contribution towards compulsory visits to London - or other - galleries to undertake essential research.

What can I do after this course?

Further Study

Following successful completion of this A-level, it is expected that you will have achieved the in-depth knowledge, understanding and skills to progress towards advanced / higher foundation studies or a related university degree.

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Note - you only need to make one application for A-levels. You can specify the additional A-Levels you wish to study when you fill out the application form

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This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

About Joseph Wright Centre »

Emily Gray

Emily Gray

Peak Award Winner Emily now studying for master’s in Australia

Former Peak Award winner Emily Gray was motivated to achieve “more than she ever thought she was capable of” while studying for A levels at Derby College.   And, since leaving Joseph Wright Centre 10 years ago, she has quite literally gone a long way – to university in Melbourne, Australia, to take a Master of Education degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis.  
 
Now 27, Emily received a Peak Award for Academic Studies after performing well in her sociology, history and psychology A levels and EPQ, the Extended Project Qualification.   While on her psychology degree course at the University of Leeds, Emily embarked on a study year at Monash University in Melbourne.  
 
And, since graduating, she has taught English in Peru, volunteered and worked in Sri Lanka and travelled in Australia before settling in Melbourne with her partner.  
 
Currently studying for her master’s at Monash University, Emily also works as a site manager at a centre-based intervention service based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for pre-school aged children on the autism spectrum.  
 
She ultimately wants to become a clinical psychologist or clinical director of an agency providing ABA.  
 
Commenting on her Peak Award in 2009, Emily added that it was “really unexpected and a huge honour.” She included the award in her CV and found it was “something she was able to talk about in interviews.”            

My lecturers were fantastic!  They were really passionate about their subject, particularly psychology lecturer Glyn Pickering, who motivated me and pushed me to achieve more than I thought I was capable of.


I also got great support at Derby College in applying for university and higher education. I was able to go on a residential trip to experience Oxford University, and received specialist and individual help with my application, personal statement and interview preparation.

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