Hellesdon High School


The A level Photography course is designed to equip students with the skills required to both produce their own high-quality photographs and also analyse and understand the work of others. Students are required to provide their own Digital SLR camera, but the department is fully-equipped with lighting equipment and lenses (Nikon fit). All of the school’s computers have Adobe Photoshop installed for image editing. Students who study this course often go on to study for a degree in Photography, or another Art-based subject.

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Sections of A Level Photography

Exam Board: Edexcel
Coursework: 60%
Exam project: 40%

The course is divided into three distinct sections:

1 – Basic Skills

Many students start the course with little or no experience of producing photographic work. As a result, the first one and half terms is used as an opportunity to introduce students to a range of skills and techniques from photograms to macro photography and studio lighting. Students also complete a series of Theoretical Studies tasks designed to encourage them to think more about the context and meaning of work.

2 – Personal Study 

Students each choose a photographer whose work the like. Having identified a specific aspect of their chosen photographer’s work they then produce a body of work exploring that theme in variety of ways. Students are encouraged to avoid simply ‘copying’ the visual style of the photographer’s work and producing pastiches, but instead produce their own original imagery which explore similar concepts/intentions. Students then write their Personal Study essays (approx. 3000 words) on their chosen photographer.

Having completed their essays and responses (including a Personal Study Final Response – displayed in their exhibition), students develop their ideas further using their Final Responses as a starting point. This body of work culminates in their Practical Work Final Piece (displayed in their exhibition).

3 – Examination Project 

Students produce a body of work exploring a theme of their choice based on a given starting point provided by the exam board (Edexcel). At the end of a 12-week preparatory study period, students produce a Final Piece under examination conditions.