Art and Design - Fine Art

Art Design2

Click on the image to find out more about studying A level fine art.

exam board: OCR

Who is it for?

Students who enjoy working in a whole range of art materials and are interested in gaining depth of understanding in the visual arts. Students who wish to pursue further education in the arts or careers within the art industry.

Entry requirements

In addition to the general entrance requirements, the department requires grade 4 or above for a visual art or design based subject.  If students have not completed an art GCSE but  have developed a portfolio of personal work, this may be discussed on an individual basis with the art staff.  Fine art can be combined with either graphics or photography. An induction project will be set for over the summer. The introduction to portfolio development for Year one is the induction project. Sharnbrook students can find this on student curriculum. Students from other schools can get copies of the task from the Sixth Form.

Weekly commitment

4 - 5 hours class time plus the same for homework per week.

Course content

Year one of the fine art A level acts as a foundation course with an emphasis on technical skills, alongside creative 'risk-taking'. We cover drawing, painting, printing skills, mixed media, and 3D skills. Alongside this, students complete critical research of relevant artists, starting with their induction, which is embedded into coursework. The two year course provides the opportunity to mature students' approach to art, together with a cultural and critical context.

By the end of year one, students start preparations for their Personal Investigation of contextual and personal research. A short course of critical and contextual studies, plus exhibition visits, aims to support the selection of specialisms and foci in Y13. Students begin in September, having completed an essay draft presenting the area of art they wish to follow. In consultation with staff, students are then expected to complete a practical series of art works that relate to their written investigation. The emphasis is very much on students’ ability to develop independence and make connections with critical and personal influences. What we pride ourselves on at Sharnbrook is the quality and variety in our students’ work. This can be seen at the end of year show held in the sixth form gallery, where a private view evening, including food, drink and music, celebrates the Y13 achievements within a professional style exhibition.

Our department has excellent facilities including a computer suite, kilns dark room and a purpose built gallery, which acts as the year 13 fine art studio. The art rooms all have open access to all year 12 and year13 students.


Year one is not assessed, but each project is internally marked to create a profile of student achievement. There may be opportunity for a mock exam in the summer term as a test of learning strengths, ready for selecting areas of study in Year two.  The resulting sketchbook developed acts as support to the specialised year 13 portfolio.

Year Two is assessed in 2 parts:

1. Personal Investigation worth 60%: students produce a portfolio of work that evolves from their own interests, critical influences and skills. It includes a practical 1000 - 2000 word illustrated essay and gallery notebook in support.

2. Externally set task is a 15 hour test of making a final piece of work and is worth 40% of the final grade

Additional costs

  • A2 sketchbook - bought from the department at the start of the course
  • Glue sticks
  • Masking tape
  • Set of drawing pencils
  • A5 gallery notebook
  • Set of acrylic paints
  • Trip(s) by train to London or other relevant exhibitions
  • PLUS as the course goes on:
  • A1 sturdy portfolio (if intending to go to further art courses)

Additional specialist materials such as oil paints, oil bars, range of brushes, canvases etc.

Career Prospects

The quality and professionalism of our students’ work is unquestionable and those students who wish to continue their art education are usually successful in their applications. Many of our students go on to complete a Foundation Diploma in art and design prior to selecting a more specific degree. Others have chosen to take direct entry on to degree courses such as architecture, graphics, illustration, theatrical and scenic painting, sculpture, photography or fine art among many.

For further information, contact:

Ms Sarah Deane (Head of Art);