Key Stage 4 Art and Design

GCSE Art and Design

Candidates starting an Art and Design GCSE in September will begin by doing some basic workshops, practising and improving key skills. They will then do a Recycled animal project, which will include drawing, collage and painting. The main project will be based on portraiture and students will have a 3D final outcome, possibly a latex mask. Candidates will be asked to create a portfolio of the work produced in Unit 1, carefully selecting and presenting their work for assessment. This portfolio is good practice for those wanting to continue art in some form after GCSE level.
Unit 2 is an externally set task, and will not begin until after the first year. This unit is worth 40% of the final grade, which will involve 10-11 weeks of preparation, and 2 solid days in the art room to create their final outcome.
Both 3D and Art and Design GCSE’s will require students to do weekly homework, and independent study, the more art work done relating to projects the better, there’s no such thing as too much art!


Exam board - AQA

GCSE art and design

42011 – art and design unit 1

42012 – art and design unit 2

4201 – Full course award Art and Design


Unit 1 / Portfolio / Coursework 60%

Unit 2 / Exam 40%

Year 10

Year 11

September - December

January - April



January -April



Portfolio Work








Grade A GCSE

Candidates creatively develop and explore ideas through investigations (art experiments: painting, collage, photography, mixed media etc…). They sustain related activity perceptively and effectively analyse and evaluate images, artefacts and products (see how to write about the work of others below). Responses, interpretations and subsequent developments are thoughtfully informed by an understanding of culture and context (own experiments related to the artist or photographer’s work). They thoughtfully develop and refine their ideas through experimentation, confidently manipulating and exploiting a wide range of relevant resources, media, material, techniques and processes. They combine their knowledge, skills and understanding in resourceful, discriminating and purposeful ways. Significant relationships are established between process and product through continuing evaluation, planning and modification as their work progresses. They sensitively and skilfully record ideas and interpret observations and experiences. They present imaginative and personal responses, communicating the results of thorough research and enquiry in appropriate forms that clearly relate to and facilitate the realisation of intentions. They make perceptive and informed connections between personal lines of enquiry and the work of others.

Coursework – what really makes a difference?

  • Completing homework
  • Outstanding presentation of the work in sketchbook (have a look at the A grade sketchbook on the school website under subjects > art > ks4
  • Annotating the work using the writing frame
  • Personal work to add to the portfolio (this doesn’t need to be related to the work done in class, for example a student studying art might also enjoy taking photographs, his photographs can be included in their portfolio as stand-alone pieces of work and will count towards the final grade)

Write about the work of others?

 Describe it.

  • What words would you use to describe this work?
  • How would you describe this work to a person who could not see it?
  • What things do you recognize in this work? What things seem new to you? 

Understand it.

  • What equipment, techniques and processes have been used to make this work?
  • What does this work remind you of?
  • How would you describe the lines in this work ? The shapes? The colors/tones? The textures and patterns?
  • What interests you most about this work of art? 

Analyse it.

  • How is space represented in this work?
  • Which part of the work strikes you as most interesting? Why?
  • What questions would you ask the artist about this work, if s/he were here?
  • What can you discover about this image and the work of this artist through research? How does this new knowledge affect your understanding of the work? 

Interpret it.

  • What title would you give to this work ? What made you decide on that title? What other titles could we give it?
  • What do you think is going on in this work? How did you arrive at that idea?
  • What do you think this work is about? How did you come up that idea?
  • Pretend you are inside this work. What does it feel like?
  • What do you think it would be like to live in this picture? What makes you think that? 

Evaluate it.

  • What do you think other people would say about this work? Why do you think that?
  • What do you think is worth remembering about this photograph?
  • Create a response to this image. What did you choose to create and why? How does it compare to the original stimulus?
  • What have you learned from exploring this work of art?