Why study Photography?

Moments that last seconds can be captured for a lifetime. We are able to watch our students capture and create these moments, using art direction to bring their creative thoughts and ideas to life. The use of digital and hand manipulations allow student to create the extraordinary from the ordinary. There are no limits. 

Photography offers students the opportunity to explore a different media and many of our students choose to take this popular option.   

The Programme of Study

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 and 11  

Using a visual language developed through key stage 3, students undertaking photography GCSE are awarded the opportunity to develop an adventurous, creative and inquisitive approach. They develop skills through the study of historical and contemporary photographic technologies, enabling them to explore and express ideas. This manifests itself in both written and practical work.  Students work in both dry and wet mediums that both inspire and excite their creativity. 

Due to the fast pace nature of the subject, students skills and knowledge develop quickly.  Through the support of teaching staff, students develop a working knowledge of materials, practices and techniques used within the creative industries.  

Unit one is coursework based and accounts for 60% of students’ final GCSE grade.  Responding to set themes and briefs, students will investigate, analyse and experiment using photography from vast and varied sources.  The emphasis of GCSE photography is the process and students are encouraged to develop their own ideas. Working on digital platforms such as Photoshop, students cultivate secure photographic knowledge and skills. 

Our three coursework projects are: 

  • The Formal Elements 
  • Light and Abstraction 
  • Hidden 

In Year 11 students undertake an externally set assignment. This is an opportunity to develop and present a creative response to a theme set by the examining board – for example, ‘Journeys’ or ‘Time’.  Students are presented with briefs in January of that year and have an extended period of preparation to research and plan their response.  At the end of this period, students sit a 10 hour timed session, during which they produce a final piece(s) of work. The preparatory and developmental work, along with final piece, is submitted for assessment alongside the timed piece(s).  

Key Stage 5 – Years 12 and 13 

Photography students are often keen to continue their studies to A level and beyond, having fostered an interest at GCSE.   

A Level Photography allows students to expand their creative horizons through taking and editing photographs. Students are also encouraged to contextualise their work and develop an understanding of the creative process in industries using photography. Students learn the “language” of photography, how to “read” and analyse their images, including the techniques, processes and skills. This is a structured course, enabling students to creatively respond the work of relevant inspirational artists.  Photography is a technical as well as creative subject, well-suited to students who enjoy both a digital and creative process. 


At Key Stage 3, students can expect to receive one piece of extended homework every two weeks.  This usually consists of a research or practical drawing task and is set on Teams.  Students are expected to bring in their completed work for assessment next lesson. 

At Key Stage 4, students receive two pieces of extended homework every two weeks and these directly contribute to their coursework.  Students may be set tasks as a group or on an individual bespoke basis.   

Key Stage 5 encourages students to develop independence by setting individual homework assignments regularly.  Staff monitor students work carefully and continue to support with independent work. 

Enrichment Opportunities 

Key stage 4 and 5 students are encouraged to attend various developmental workshops throughout the school year, to extend their learning and foster interest in the subject.  

In the art department, we are proud to hold various school trips throughout the year, such as visits to the Tate Galleries, and Kew Gardens.