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KS5 (Sixth Form)


Photography is not taught in Years 7-9. However, the department provides opportunities for students interested in the subject through extra-curricular activities and competitions. We run a Good to Great Photography club for those with an interest and passion in photography, to learn new skills and to use Adobe Photoshop for editing images.  

Students often enter photographic entries to our Winter Arts Competition, and our end of year Summer Arts Exhibition.  

Entry Criteria

Students with a genuine interest and passion in Photography will always be welcome to share their work with teachers and get involved with clubs and competitions.  

Course Information

At the beginning of the course, Students are taught the fundamental skills for taking a successful photograph. They learn the what the Visual Elements are, how to use lighting effectively, and apply compositional techniques. Students are also taught how to use a DSLR camera manually, changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create a range of creative images.  

Students also attend a trip to Kew Gardens, photographing the extensive plant life and exploring the greenhouses in which they are planted. They then learn a range of Photoshop skills to create a range of creative outcomes to then put into an advert for Kew.  

The remaining part of the coursework is dedicated to researching and analysing artists, responding to their work through photography and experimenting with a range of creative techniques.  

For further information, click on the KS4 and KS5 tabs.  


Students develop a range of skills through visual manipulation with the camera and through Photoshop techniques. They learn how to control a camera manually, explore the visual elements and the role composition and lighting play in each photograph they take. They study photographer’s work across times and cultures, to understand how images were made and the context in which they were taken. They learn to understand the role Photography has in our modern world.

Students will reflect critically on their own and other’s work, judging quality and meaning, and learning to think as artists and designers. They develop an appreciation for Photography as an Art form, and understand its role in the creative and cultural industries that enrich their lives.

Entry Criteria

The two year Edexcel GCSE course in Photography consists of coursework, now called the personal portfolio, and an externally set assignment (timed Exam)

Assessment objectives

Students are assessed on the following objectives, which are address holistically through their personal portfolio and through the externally set assignment. The personal portfolio is 60% of the GCSE grade, with 40% from the externally set assignment.

AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources

AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes

AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses

AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

Typical Activities

  • Research
  • Analysis of photographer’s work
  • Studio photoshoots
  • Location photoshoots
  • Editing images through Adobe Photoshop
  • Experimentation with images, using artistic techniques
  • Work in a sketchbook

Academic co-curricular:

Visiting artists and trips throughout the year to build portfolios and learn new techniques.




You will begin the course working through a series of technical workshops designed to develop photographic skills. You will learn
how to: capture images in a variety of lighting conditions, explore angles, composition concepts, depth of field and focusing techniques. You will then progress to editing and learn to enhance and manipulate their images using Adobe Photoshop. You will be encouraged to manipulate photographs through other means, and can create pieces combined with artistic techniques, using a range of materials. In the past, students have then been able to create 3D installations and sculptures using these techniques, encouraging further creativity.

course details

Year 12

Component 1: Personal Investigation: You will begin your Personal Investigation in Term 3 of Year 12. You will select your own area of focus, researched from primary and other sources and contexts. You will start to develop ideas using media and process exploration, producing a sustained practical investigation and ongoing review with a personal response, demonstrating connections to contexts.

Year 13

Unit 1:  Externally Set Assignment: This paper will be given approximately ten weeks in advance of the exam. The theme is set externally.

Entry Criteria

GCSE Grade 6 in Art or Photography