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Edexcel 1ADO, Grades 9-1

The GCSE in Art and Design is a broad and flexible course that requires you to develop an appreciation of the creative process through a practical response, using a variety of two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, materials, techniques and processes.

You will explore critically how artists, craftspeople and designers from diverse cultures, times and societies have arrived at solutions and communicated meaning using the formal elements and will use this knowledge when developing new ideas, recording observations and creating outcomes which fully realise your personal intentions.

Course requirements

This GCSE Art and Design qualification requires students to: 

  • actively engage in the creative process of art, craft and design in order to develop as effective and independent learners, and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds 
  • develop creative, imaginative and intuitive capabilities when exploring and making images, artefacts and products 
  • become confident in taking risks and learn from experience when exploring and experimenting with ideas, processes, media, materials and techniques 
  • develop critical understanding through investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills 
  • develop and refine ideas and proposals, personal outcomes or solutions with increasing independence 
  • acquire and develop technical skills through working with a broad range of media, materials, techniques, processes and technologies with purpose and intent 
  • develop knowledge and understanding of art, craft and design in historical and contemporary contexts, societies and cultures 
  • develop an awareness of the different roles and individual work practices evident in the production of art, craft and design in the creative and cultural industries 
course content 
You will have four 40 minute periods of Art per week with an expected minimum of one hour of homework to accompany this. On this course you will follow the Art, Craft and Design Edexcel  (2016) Specification for which you will produce a Personal Portfolio (worth 60%) in response to a given theme, which is currently ‘Identity’.

Year 10

You will study three interlinked projects, each exploring aspects of Fine Art (painting and printmaking), Art Textiles (felt making, heat processes, surface design and applique work with material), and Digital Art (animation, photography and moving image). Each project brief is designed to develop your skills, knowledge and understanding when using different techniques, enabling you to experiment and explore the work of other artists in relation to your own. Most work will take the form of practical workshops in lessons and research, drawing and note making using a sketchbook. In this specification, drawing is given a special emphasis. Please note that you are not required to demonstrate technical mastery of drawing skills unless this is relevant to your area of study.

Drawing is at the heart of art, craft and design – from initial sketches and detailed observations to wild mark-making and expressive lines – and forms a core element of the practice of artists, craftspeople and designers. You will be made aware that drawing takes many forms, from two-dimensional mark-making to lines made using materials to define three-dimensional space, and you will be taught how to develop a range of drawing techniques and processes in order to communicate developing ideas clearly.

Year 11 

During your second year, you will be encouraged to build upon skills and techniques learnt in order to produce a more considered body of coursework with supporting work. The emphasis is more on personal independent creative work, supported by regular tutorials and guidance. For this year you will remain with a single tutor, working in the medium and techniques you have shown the most skill and interest in. 

The final assessment consists of an Externally Set Assignment (external examination worth 40%). This will be set in the Spring Term, usually just before the half term in February. The exam theme will be emailed to you directly by the exam board or your course tutor at the beginning of January. You are given a set starting point or theme and then asked to produce preparatory work that will be taken into the examination. Preparation time is at least eight weeks and following this there will be a 10-hour examination to produce a piece of work. 

Exhibition and Digital Portfolio

All students will be expected to build a digital portfolio over their course, using a variety of online platforms to promote and store images of their work. Students find this useful for applications and work experience placements as well as in gaining job interviews and commissions in the creative industries. 

At the end of the summer term, all students will be expected to present a professional exhibition of their work for public viewing at the Visual Arts Centre. The external moderator will visit this in the year of the student’s’ graduation to moderate the marks awarded by their teacher. 


All students must create a portfolio of work which covers evidence of the four assessment objectives:   

Component AO1 % AO2 % AO3 % AO4 % Total for all assessment objectives
1. Component 1: Personal Portfolio 15 15 15 15 60%
2. Component 2: Externally Set Assignment 10 10 10 10 40%
Total for GCSE 25% 25% 25% 25% 100%

Further opportunities

By selecting an enjoyable course designed to promote high levels of visual literacy, you will gain excellent transferable skills in investigation and research, presentation of ideas and complex concepts to an audience, and immense pride in the sense of having created your own unique pieces of work.

You will gain invaluable skills in time management, working to deadlines and collaboration with your peers. Careers related to Britain’s creative industries are numerous but some might include: Advertising and Marketing Communications, Animation, Fashion and Textiles, Film, Games, Photo Imaging, Publishing, Radio, Television, and Visual FX.