The Art and Design Department

Art and Design Reading List

 Art and Design is a popular subject here at OSA. We have 3 Art Teachers and one Art Technician. We are part of the Creative Arts faculty and work closely with the EAL and SEN teams. The department consists of 3 large art rooms and our own art gallery, where we exhibit students work. Resources include 12 iMacs with art specific software, scanners, digital SLR cameras, bamboo graphics tablets, pottery wheels, kiln room, an A1 and A3 printing press and photographic screen-printing facilities.


The Art department regard our students as artists not simply art students. There is a positive and purposeful atmosphere fostered within the department, which allows students to succeed and enjoy their studies. We encourage our students to be individual and experimental in order to engage with the world around them fully and take ownership of their own practice. We nurture resilience, risk-taking and an enquiring approach.


The Art and Design department operates an open door policy and welcomes students to work in the Art department during study sessions, breaks and after school. We offer many weekend and holiday sessions also. As well as cultivating independence we also search for ways to allow students to work collaboratively. Students are encouraged to be creative and innovative in the development of projects. We encourage students to experiment widely with media, techniques and processes, combining materials and refining their skills. Students can expect to experience a wide range of 2D and 3D media, drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, installation, digital photography and image manipulation, contextual studies, collaborative and independent projects, working with practicing artists, visiting and working with galleries, museums and studios.

Art Exhibitions

Work by students can be seen on display around the School as well as in the Art Department’s gallery. We encourage students to enter and exhibit their work in art competitions. Each year we hold a Private View to open the GCSE and A level Art exhibition.

Courses offered:

Key stage 3

Schemes of Work at Key Stage 3 create opportunities for students to experience a wide range of media in order to build their knowledge and confidence across both 2D and 3D materials and techniques. We aim to build students visual vocabulary and confidence in talking about their own and others artwork. We also want students to gain an understanding of art history and the influences on artists from the art world, society and culture.

At OSA we run a 3 year GCSE course, with a foundation year in year 9, so students need to be fully prepared for GCSE by the end of Year 8.

Key Stage 4: GCSE

Exam Board: Edexcel


60% Personal Portfolio – Coursework units

This controlled assessment is internally set and marked and externally moderated.

40% Exam – Externally Set Assignment (10 hour exam)

The exam is externally set. It is internally marked and externally moderated.

Both elements are assessed against 4 Assessment Objectives: Develop; Refine; Record and Present and marked out of 72.


  • Experiencing new and exciting materials, techniques and processes

  • Developing visual language skills

  • Being creative, innovative, enthusiastic and imaginative

  • Visiting galleries, museums, workshops and studios

  • Experimenting and taking risks

  • Working both individually and in groups.

The GCSE covers a range of activities and in-depth assignments. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with different media in order to explore their strengths and preferences. There are a wide range of options within the different endorsements for students to choose to work in several areas within the themes followed. Students are encouraged to be more responsible and independent in the direction of their work. Whatever they choose, the main aim of the course is to develop visual language skills and build a comprehensive portfolio of work to progress to further courses or employment.

Art teaches students life skills – they undertake research and investigation, problem solving, confidence building, visual awareness, ability to develop ideas, initiative and cultural understanding. The study of Art helps students develop transferable skills that they can take into any career or job. Art and Design will be required for particular careers in such fields as advertising, marketing, design, architecture, publishing and the media, where the subject is directly applicable.

Key Stage 5: A level

Exam Board: Edexcel

At A level students work increasingly independently on self-driven, highly personal projects. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves conceptually and push materials, techniques and processes to their limits. Risk taking and innovation is key to success at this level. Critical study is an important aspect of the course, with students showing a mature appreciation of contemporary and historical practice.

To progress onto level 3, a level 2 qualification in Art and Design is needed alongside a broad awareness and experience of art and design materials and processes. Students will understand how to build their own personal portfolio of work.


A Level

Year 12

Component 1 – Personal Investigation – 50%.

This is the personal portfolio and incorporates two major elements: supporting studies and practical work. Internally set, assessed by the teacher and externally moderated.

Component 2 – Externally Set Assignment – 50%.

Incorporates two major elements: preparatory studies and the 10–hour period of sustained focus. Externally set, assessed by the teacher and externally moderated.


A Level

Year 13

Component 1 – Personal Investigation – 60%.

This is the personal portfolio and incorporates three major elements: supporting studies, practical work and a personal study. Internally set, assessed by the teacher and externally moderated. This also includes a Personal Study.

Component 2 – Externally Set Assignment – 40%.

Incorporates two major elements: preparatory studies and the 15–hour period of sustained focus. Externally set, assessed by the teacher and externally moderated. Each component is assessed using four assessment objectives; which can be summed up as Develop, Explore, Record, Present. All work is assessed internally and then externally moderated. The exam for component 2 is externally set for A Level qualifications.


Students can progress from this qualification to further education courses such as the BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (QCF), higher education courses such as BTEC Higher National Diplomas in art and design subjects, or direct to a BA Honours degree with an art and design focus, apprenticeships or other training, employment in a related sector.