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Photography A-level

Explore photographic skills and techniques and develop your creativity with a Photography A-level. On successful completion of the course, along with other A-level qualifications, you may progress directly into higher education or to an Art Foundation Diploma.

What do I learn?
Research the work of other photographers, past and present, and find your own voice. Explore a wide range of photographic skills including non-lens based media and techniques, developing and printing black and white (B&W) film as well as studio techniques and location photography. Learn the importance of formal elements of design in composition, and the role of photography in visual communication in historical and contemporary contexts. Produce work with both SLR and digital cameras.

You follow the Edexcel specification.

First year (AS)
• Unit 1: Coursework (60% of AS-level; 30% of full A-level) Skills building in experimental approaches to drawing, painting and mixed media tasks followed by an internally-set art project.
• Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment (40% of AS-level; 20% of full A-level) Externally-set project with theme provided by Edexcel. Timed final outcome under exam conditions.

Second year (A2)
• Unit 3: Coursework – Personal Study (60% of AS-level; 30% of full A-level) Students self-select a topic/theme to investigate. Extensive artists’ research, together with a written essay of between 1000 and 3000 words is required, plus a significant body of practical art work as a creative response to the theme.
• Unit 4: Externally Set Assignment (40% of AS-level; 20% of full A-level) Externally-set project with theme provided by Edexcel. Timed final outcome under exam conditions.

In timetabled sessions, activities include practical work, research, presentations and critiques, and may be undertaken independently and in small groups. Homework will usually be set once a week, and may include research and preparation for classes as well as starting and continuing with practical work. Classes are timetabled for four and half hours per week, usually between 9am and 5.30pm. We expect our students to be fully committed to their studies and attend all timetabled lessons, talks, tutorials and workshops. In addition, you can expect to attend study trips and visits to art and design exhibitions and museums as relevant to set assignments.

Coursework units are assessed internally by subject tutors, and sampled for moderation by Edexcel. Projects and assignments for coursework are set by subject tutors. Externally set assignments are overseen by Edexcel and you are required to produce your finished work within a specified time limit. The work is then internally assessed by subject tutors and sampled for moderation by the EdExcel external examiner. Grades are awarded by Edexcel.
What do I gain?
A significant body of work will be produced that reflects your individual creativity, skills, interests and approach. If you want to pursue further study in art and design, you will be supported while you compile a personal portfolio of creative art work that may be taken to interview for an Art Foundation Diploma course, or for direct entry to higher education.
What do I need?
All A-level students must have six C grades in academic subjects at GCSE, including English and maths, at grade 5 but excluding PE, Dance, IT i.e. subjects with a large practical component.

Applicants will be required to attend an interview and should be able to show examples of some previous art and design work to demonstrate interest and potential.
What do I gain?
On successful completion of the course, along with other A-level qualifications, you may progress directly into higher education or to an Art Foundation Diploma.
What else do I need to know?
You will be given a summer project designed to be used at the start of the academic programme. You will require a range of basic art equipment and materials. Further advice about equipment and materials will be provided during the course.

Course code :

Mode :

Location :

OXASL05D0 Full-time Oxford City Centre


Duration :


Start Date :

Monday 10 September 2018

End Date :

Friday 21 June 2019
2 Years 16 to 18 EU tuition fee:£‎40.00
19 to 23 Concession EU tuition fee:£‎40.00
24+ Loan EU tuition fee:£‎941.00

Please note – Fees may be subject to change


case study

Chinese student Qi Wang (known as Emma) was living in Australia when she decided that a UK education would help her towards her future career. 
Having done her research, Emma realised that the UK education system was more rigorous academically and a better fit for her future ambition of studying maths or statistics at the University of Cambridge. She is now studying the Science A-levels Pathway (Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths) at Reading College, part of Activate Learning.  
Emma found out about Reading College through her agent. She was impressed by the list of universities that previous students had gone to, such as Oxford, Cambridge and UCL, combined with the lively atmosphere and the excellent transport links to London and Heathrow Airport.
Emma said: “My teachers are really knowledgeable and helpful, especially my tutor Anna. They are very organised, too. We do lots of mock exams, which is helpful. I ask a lot of extra questions after class and they are always very patient and help me.”
“The A-level managers and staff helped me to apply to the UCL summer schools and advised me about how best to write my statements – I got a place! The library staff are also really helpful. I like the quiet study room and spend quite a bit of time there when I am not in lessons.”
During her time at Reading College, Emma has also got involved with the Students’ Union and volunteered at open events. She said: “I had the opportunity to talk to lots of different people, which I enjoy. It helps me with my English, as well as learning more about British culture.” 
She also won several awards at the A-level Star Awards, including the Further Maths and Physics Awards. Her Physics tutor said: “Emma's thirst for knowledge, her self-motivation to improve and achieve her maximum potential and her work ethics are outstanding. Emma achieved a Silver Award on the AS Physics Olympiad Challenge. Just two marks off a Gold!” Emma also won an award for ‘biggest contribution to college life’.
Coming to live and study in England away from her parents has helped Emma become more independent, preparing her for life at university. She lives with a host family who are very friendly. She has learnt to do things like open a bank account and learnt about British culture and everyday life.
Emma said: “I would recommend Reading College. Living in an English environment and meeting English people every day is far better than being at a language school. If you want to come abroad to study, an Activate Learning college will give you more opportunities to improve your English.”
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