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Smithdon High School

Key Stage 4

At KS4 we offer GCSE Art and Design. GCSE students follow the AQA Specification 8201.

Students are required to produce two units of internally set Non-Exam Assessment (NEA), which lead to a final piece of artwork for each unit. These are worth 60% of the GCSE.

Students also undertake one externally set NEA assignment, for which the examination board select the theme for study each year. This is worth 40% of the GCSE. Students are able to prepare in advance but have to complete the assignment in a maximum of 10 hours’ supervised work.

The units are designed to encourage an enquiring and adventurous approach to the arts, which is implemented through the holistic use of recording, investigation, experimentation and documentation.

Students need to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge of high-quality creative skills and techniques, as well as their ability to investigate and understand how aspects of past and contemporary art, from a variety of cultures, can enhance and develop their own ideas and work.

Students also extend their knowledge through experimentation and refinement of their creative ideas. The course is designed to support students of all abilities in developing their confidence with media, techniques and processes.

Students’ sketch books should contain a combination of creative work from primary and secondary sources, demonstrating visual research material and idea developments, which show evidence of connections between the students’ ideas and work from other cultures and/or artists. The sketch books should also reflect a sense of pride and individuality in students’ presentations, as well as an appreciation of artistic content.

Final pieces of work are produced to different scales and in different media to celebrate each student’s creative journey.

Internally set NEA – Fine Art

Throughout the GCSE course, students will complete two projects of Non-Exam Assessment, set internally by our staff.

The starting point for these projects varies from year to year, to allow for maximum diversity in idea developments and outcomes. During each project students continue to develop their prior knowledge alongside their skills and techniques, whilst investigating and developing independent ideas based around the starting theme. These developments are supported by visual and contextual links.

Students work on a one-to-one basis with their teacher, so that they are supported and guided to ensure their developments and outcomes are of the highest quality and provide appropriate evidence for the four assessment objectives.

Current starting points:

  • 1st Project - Structure
  • 2nd Project – based on previous AQA exam titles 2018
  • In the News
  • Storytelling
  • Human Figure
  • Connections
  • Materials
  • Light and Dark
  • In a Different Way