A Level Photography

“In Photography you will explore a range of photographic media, techniques and processes - using both traditional and new technologies.”


A Level

Awarding Body


Course Specification

Who to contact for more information about this course

Queries should be directed to Ms Verrall

Years taught

Year 12 and Year 13

What is the course structure?

Art and Design: Photography is a 2 year linear course that consists of two components, a personal investigation and an externally set assignment which is a personal response to a chosen question set by AQA.

What will I study?

In Photography you will explore a range of photographic media, techniques and processes – using both traditional and new technologies. You will explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to Photography and a wider range of art and design, from the past and from recent times, including European and non-European examples. This should be integral to your investigating and making process. You should be aware of the four assessment objectives to be demonstrated in the context of the content and skills presented and of the importance of process as well as product. You will explore a range of two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional media, processes and techniques. You will experiment with both traditional and new media.


You will be required to work in one or more area(s) of Photography. You can explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas. For example:


  • Portraiture

  • Landscape photography (working from the urban, rural and/or coastal environment)

  • Still-life photography, working from objects or from the natural world

  • Documentary photography, photo journalism

  • Experimental imagery

  • Photographic installation, video, television and film


Component 1: Personal investigation

Learners are required to conduct an investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the learner and must lead to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. The investigation should be a coherent, in-depth study that demonstrates the learner's ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning from an initial starting point to a final realisation. The investigation must show clear development from initial intentions to the final outcome or outcomes. It must include evidence of the learner's ability to research and develop ideas and relate their work in meaningful ways to relevant critical/contextual materials. The investigation must be informed by an aspect of contemporary or past practice of artists, photographers, designers or craftspeople. Learner's work must be supported by written material to confirm understanding of creative decisions.

Component 2: Externally set assignment


Personal response to a question set by AQA. Each question paper will consist of a choice of eight questions to be used as starting points. Learner are required to select one. Learners will have a Preparatory period following receipt of the paper. Learners should consider the starting points and select one. Preparatory work should be presented in any suitable format, such as mounted sheets, design sheets, sketchbooks, workbooks, journals, models and maquettes. Following the preparatory period, learners must complete 15 hours of unaided, supervised time. The course emphasis is on learning by doing and allows learners to develop their creativity and independent thought. Due to the personal aspect of the course learners, are expected to be self-motivated and carry out work outside of lessons.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed firstly by subject teachers; this is then moderated by an external examiner at the end of the academic year.


Personal investigation: 60%
Externally set assignment: 40%

Kenton School logo