Tel: 01993 823303

Art and Photography





The vibrant and thriving Art and Photography Department provides a supportive environment for students, inspiring and motivating them to cultivate their interests in a range of creative media. The department has a wide range of experience and expertise including specialist tutors in Fine Art, Ceramics and Photography. We pride ourselves on the fantastic results that our students achieve both at GCSE and A-level.


Staff and facilities

Miss Vella is Head of the Art Department and is supported by a three further members of staff, a Photography specialist and an Art Technician. Lessons take place in four studios and Photography students also have the use of a darkroom.

The Art Department is resourced with computers, scanners, colour printers, specific art software and digital cameras whilst the Pottery Studio has a number of wheels and two kilns.

Eight computers installed with Photoshop Creative Cloud allow students to become familiar with the current practice software used by design studios. They also have use of a range of equipment, from lighting stands with flood and spot lights, to background kit and digital SLR cameras.



Visits and trips are considered essential for developing knowledge and understanding of Art in its various forms and providing essential stimulus. A wide range of trips are undertaken including visits to the Botanical Gardens, the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.

Further afield, students of both Art and Photography visit Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery.  Photography students also visit the Photographers Gallery in London.

Students are encouraged to visit local galleries and museums in their own time on a regular basis to further develop their knowledge and understanding of the wide spectrum of art and to gain ideas to inform their own work.

Art Club

Art is a very popular subject amongst students and our lunchtime art club is always well attended.  We run an Open Session and younger students are free to choose what they would like to work on.  Older students tend to work on their GCSE, AS or ‘A’ Level pieces and these students can also come in after school if they wish.


Life Drawing Classes

As part of the A-level course, the Art Department have introduced life drawing classes with experienced life models and tutors. A-level students develop their understanding of life drawing skills and experience new media and techniques, whilst working directly from the human form.’


Art Exhibitions

Work by students can be seen on display around the School as well as in the Art Department. In addition we showcase students’ work in local art exhibitions. Our past students return periodically, to speak about their experience of higher education and to show their work.

There is a Foyer Gallery at the entrance to School which provides a flexible exhibition space for displays of Art and Photography by existing students.


Exploring potential

The Art and Design programme at Key Stage 3 is structured to engage all students whatever their abilities into realising their full potential through work that they will find enjoyable, interesting and informative. Students are offered a broad and diverse selection of projects which are carefully planned to ensure that there is a continuous upwards transference of skills and understanding of historical and contemporary art practice. The use of sketchbooks to record thoughts, ideas, observations and general research is of prime importance.


Tuition from our Artists in Residence


Each year the Art Department offers an Artist in Residence position to a former student.  In the past these have included Harry Barker, who went on to study Fine Art and Kamil Lange whose specialism was in ceramic sculpture.  Check out Harry at work through his time-lapse video.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Year 7 is a foundation year where drawing provides the basis of all art forms. Students are introduced to the formal elements of art through painting and drawing. The value of art historical influences is introduced around the work of the Expressionists and Fauvists. Students develop skills in working with clay through mask making and decorative tile construction based around Aboriginal culture.

Year 8

In Year 8 the focus is on learning and developing skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, 3-dimensional art and ICT in art whilst exploring set themes such as Still Life and Portraiture. The students’ clay experience continues, understanding the processes of constructing slab pots and applied pattern inspired by African Art.

Year 9

Year 9 is an important year as it provides the platform to study GCSE. The practice of drawing from observation continues with students studying the themes of Mechanical and Man made Forms and Pop Art. In pottery students move on to the construction coil pots.

Key Stage 4: AQA GCSE Un-endorsed Art and Design

The un-endorsed course which we follow allows students to explore the full range of disciplines within art rather than being limited to drawing and painting. In Years 10 and 11 pupils are encouraged to take more responsibility for making decisions relating to personal interests and preferences as they develop their coursework portfolio and refine skills they have learnt and explored over the course of Years 7 to 9.  All work builds on student expertise and critical knowledge gained at Key Stage 3, and is designed to enhance and extend their artistic skills and abilities.

There are two Units of work associated with the Un-endorsed Art and Design course

Unit 1: Portfolio of Work

Unit 2 Externally Set Task.

The teacher led themes are Natural Forms, African Art and Portraiture.

Key Stage 5: AQA A-level Art and Design

In Years 12 and 13 Art students study with the AQA Art syllabus.  Year 12 students need to produce one unit of coursework, plus a final five hour supervised examination. In Year 13 (A2 Level), students produce one coursework unit, a Personal Investigation, and a final examination. The examination concludes with a fifteen hour supervised session, spread over three days.

At A-level the work is highly exploratory, and critical and historical study is of a sophisticated nature, responding to contemporary thinking in art. When observational drawing is explored it is taken to a very high level. Art is encouraged both as a career pathway and as a complement to other A-level subjects. We have an excellent record of results at A-level and of entry onto foundation and degree courses specialising in fine art, fashion and photography.

Some students choose this subject to support their university applications, demonstrating independent and creative skills which are desired by a wide range of university courses. Others choose to progress to A-level because they wish to further their achievements following successful GCSE courses and through sheer enjoyment of the subject. Whatever the reasons, the experience of thinking and working creatively will stand young people in good stead within many walks of life, and is very welcome by many top universities and businesses.


Photography: AQA A-level Photography

This Art-based course lets students engage and experiment with a medium that is at the heart of the modern communications industry. Students develop critical, historical and contextual awareness together with a good working knowledge of camera, studio, digital and darkroom practice.

Year 12 students are introduced to a range of photographic experiences through a series of set themes, before embarking on their main A-level coursework. The coursework comprises a ‘personal investigation’ of the student’s own choice, along with a 3000 word essay.

In February of Year 13, students receive an external assignment which they develop over several weeks, followed by a final 15-hour supervised time where they produce final pieces.

Photography is seen as a viable discipline that can complement other subject areas as well as existing as a career path in its own right. We have an excellent record of results, and many students go on to pursue photography on Foundation courses or go straight to degree courses specialising in Photography.



 You can see more of our photography here:



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