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Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: WJEC EDUQAS

Why study Photography?

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The UK creative industries were worth a record £76.9 billion to the UK economy in 2013. Growth in the creative industries was higher than in any other UK industry and was three times the average increase in the UK economy during this period.

The sectors, which include advertising, architecture, crafts, design, film, games, publishing, museums and galleries, music, technology and television, are an important source of job creation for the UK. 

Studying Photography at St Charles Sixth Form College is the first step to becoming part of the UK creative industries. The skills you will be taught as a photography student at St Charles will prepare you for a diverse range of pathways – whether it be; fine art, fashion, photojournalism, advertising, film, medicine, forensics, etc. St Charles can help you to prepare for the next step, and begin your creative career path.

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What can it lead to?

Most students who wish to pursue Photography beyond A Level go onto study a Foundation Diploma, and then access Higher Education, which is the preferred route for most creative degree courses.  Many students also progress straight to degree level.

The department has built links with many leading creative universities, and many students gain places at prestigious institutions such as University of the Arts London Colleges (Central Saint Martins, CCW, LCC LCF), Ravensbourne, Middlesex, and further afield in Newport, Edinburgh, Newcastle and many more.

The range of specialisms applied for is diverse, but may include Fine Art Photography, Film & Television, Fashion, Animation, Advertising, Commercial Photography, Media & Communication, Visual Communication, Professional Photography, Photography & Digital Imaging, Creative Media Production.

How is the course organised?

Exam Board – EDUQAS

A Level – Delivered in 2 years or in 1 year after completion of the AS Level course. The qualification consists of 2 components – Component 1: Personal Investigation (60% of A Level) and Component 2: Externally Set Assignment (40% of A Level). Both components are internally assessed and then externally moderated.

How is the course assessed?

The A Level qualification is  assessed against 4 main criteria:

A01: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

A02: Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

A03: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

A04: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

What do I need to qualify for this course?

The General entry requirements for A Level courses are six GCSEs grades 9-4, including a Grade 4 and above in English Language. 

A Photographic portfolio that demonstrates both an interest and ability in the subject area is required – This can be provided digitally or in print and ideally will contain between 25 and 30 images. Try to include photographs that give your own unique perspective of the world whether it is the angles you photograph from or the content of the images you take - the best portfolios will have a sense of the photographers’ personality/interests.

What equipment do I need?

Students are not required to purchase expensive photographic equipment and cameras are provided for students to use.  We do require students to buy a photography kit upon arrival to the department at a cost of £25 this will include sketchbooks, film and photographic paper, colour digital printing, stencils and mount board/foam board for exhibition purposes.

Who are the teachers?

The Art and Design department comprises of 3 teachers and 1 specialist technician with expertise in a wide range of techniques and processes. Department staff have studied and worked at a number of prestigious colleges including; Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, London College of Fashion and The Royal College of Art.

All of the department staff continue in their own practice, engaging with contemporary art and design – this includes the following areas; Ceramics, Photography, Jewelry, Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Design, Product design and Interior Accessories and Games Design.

Head of Department is Claire Hemsley she has been teaching for 13 years. If you have any further questions regarding the courses within Art and Design and Photography please contact her either via email or via the main switchboard 0208 968 7755.

What do students say about the course?

"You get help from your teachers but not only yours but the other art teachers."

"You can always come in and work in free periods even in other students lessons….it’s always flexible."

"We’ve got good facilities. We’ve got a darkroom which lots of places don’t have."


Extra Curricular

There are many extra-curricular courses and events to get involved in as a student in the Art Department. Recent examples include an in house photography and bookmaking course in collaboration with a local hospital, a Photography course and exhibition at Central Saint Martins, Summer schools in Product Design, Interior & Spatial Design, Fashion Design, Photography and Textiles with Ravensbourne, Chelsea and Camberwell College of Arts, an animation course with the Courtauld gallery, as well as in house life drawing sessions. We also invite tutors from higher education in to offer portfolio advice to support students applying to higher education. See more of our student work, and hear what students have to say about us by visiting our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages: