Photography has been added to My Courses


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05/03/21 - Students, Parents & Carers please see Key Updates for the latest returning to college information.

Course specifics

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and only one will count as one GCSE equivalent.
  • GCSE Photography or Art is desirable but NOT essential



Exam board: OCR

100%Pass rate

Photography is everywhere and everyone thinks they can take a good photo, but this course will help you create and use photographs in a professional way that will impress others. The course allows you to try traditional and modern techniques within a wide range of topics. 

The specification studied is the OCR Art & Design: Photography. It may be taken alongside Textile Design Fine Art: Graphic Communication, Textiles and/or D & T Graphics. The course is largely digitally based, but students are given the opportunity to produce some work in the darkroom and are encouraged to experiment with mixed media processes.

Graphic Communication & Photography Open Event Presentation

Course Content

First Year:

During the first year of the A-level, you will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with several different methods of image-making. These vary from 175-year-old processes of traditional photography, to contemporary digital photography. This year is about building up your skills and being able to truly enjoy and understand the magic of photography. There are internal deadlines and assessments but there are no exams in the first year. Progression onto the second year is based on students’ performance in the first year.

Second Year:

This year is where you use the skills and areas of interest developed in the first year, and apply them to 2 units to meet the exam board criteria/marking:

Unit 1 - Personal Investigation: Coursework 60%

Learners should produce two elements:

(i) Portfolio of Practical Work showing their personal response to either a starting point, brief, scenario or stimulus, devised and provided by the learner or teacher. This means that you can choose the topic that you want to do.

(ii) Related Study: A written essay with a minimum of 3000 words response to your chosen topic or a practical project.

Unit 2 - Externally Set Task: Coursework with Times Practical 40%

The exam board will release the Exam papers on the 1st February and will provide learners with a number of themes, each with a range of written and visual starting points, briefs and stimuli. Learners will then produce a project based on one of these that they choose. In preparation for the exam they will produce back-up work and the exam is simply a practical session to produce their final pieces.

Methods of Teaching & Learning

Practical work is supported by teacher led presentations, exhibition visits and skills based workshops. In their first year students are given a thorough grounding in core skills through the experimentation of the uses of a variety of photographic processes. In the second year students develop their own personal ideas.

Photography Students Have Their Say


Students are encouraged to do first-hand research and a number of trips are organised throughout the year to galleries and exhibitions.

Methods of Assessment

All units will be marked internally by the Creative Arts team and will be moderated by the exam board.


We have two digital photography teaching rooms with industry-standard printers, a well-equipped studio and darkroom. There are digital SLR cameras for onsite use only.


The full A-level in Photography provides a sound basis if you wish to proceed to Higher Education, as well as being a useful background to any career within the photographic field.

Meet the Creative Arts teachers and students

Maia Harris-Jordan

Maia Harris-Jordan

Additional Costs

To assure that all students are starting off together with the same resources, we request that each student pay a ‘Studio Fee’ of £40 in their first year. Students will then be given their own resources for building and storing their coursework portfolio.  This also contributes to the cost of chemicals, photographic papers as well as mounting materials which students will need from the start of the year. As we are buying it in bulk it reduces the cost per individual. The cost covers general materials, if a student decided to do a specialist technique; they would need to supply their own materials for it.

This payment should be paid by 15th of September and should be made through your WisePay account. There are also a few resources that you need to buy which will cost £36.48, we will let you know about this once you have enrolled. 

DSLR Camera Information

Studio Kit Information

How to order your Studio Kit

Photography Course Handbook