GCSE – Fine Art

Curriculum Overview – Year 9

The Year 9 curriculum is designed to act as a foundation year for the GCSE AQA Fine Art course. Students are introduced to a broad range of media, methods and techniques, including painting and printmaking, in a supported environment, where they become familiar with the assessment criteria and the process of how marks are awarded at GCSE. Students are encouraged to work experimentally, recording their ideas in a sketchbook, and creating a series of outcomes that make up a portfolio of work based on ‘Natural Form’. While exploring, developing and refining their practical skills, students learn how to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of art, craft and design in a wider context, through their independent research and investigation of other artists and practitioners.

Curriculum Overview – Year 10

Fine Art teaching in Year 10, is tailored to individual students and their needs. Students are introduced to two new topics and encouraged to work independently; enquiring, researching, reflecting, and evaluating their own progress as their work develops. There are two starting points; a still life unit of work based on collections, and ‘Me and My World’, a more independently led unit of work, focusing on portraiture, the self and identity. In each of these units, students are encouraged to actively engage in the creative process. Students embed the skills learned in Year 9 by continuing to explore and acquire a variety of processes and techniques but with intent and conviction in relation to their own topic. Students record their ideas and observations, through drawing and written annotations, in sketchbooks and on study sheets, and are encouraged to talk and write more engagingly about their ideas, informed by their contextual research.

Curriculum Overview – Year 11

As in Year 10, the teaching in Year 11 is tailored to individual students and their needs. Students are encouraged to actively engage in their own creative process, in order to become effective and independent thinkers, and are able to evidence this through their sketchbook studies and detailed analytical research. The focus this year is to prepare students for the Externally Set Task (worth 40% of the overall mark), where students work independently in response to a starting point, stimulus, theme or design brief set by the examining board (AQA), using a range of materials of their choice. There is a strong emphasis on critical understanding and self-evaluation, where practical studies, experimentation and developmental work is embedded within a sustained and meaningful personal investigation. Independent learning is paramount so teaching is supportive, but not leading, once the examination unit has begun.