Subject Overview

Photography is a highly useful qualification for our age of visual communication and social media. It can be a pathway to courses in Art & Design, Photography, Video, Film Animation. However, It is has also proved invaluable for students planning to study such courses as Business Management, Biological and Chemical sciences, Forensics, Psychology and Marketing, additionally to those who choose careers in the Arts.

At present the UK has the largest creative industries sector in Europe, employing 1.5 million people and generating exports worth £8.9bn a year.

Photography, as part of the Arts, play a significant part in our UK economy – contributing 6% of GDP and exporting over £16bn annually. Digital and creative industries are the UK’s third largest export. Research has shown that students who take part in arts activities increase their attainment in Maths and English, due to creative problem solving and analytical skills taught through visual subjects.

This course provokes and develops independent learning and research skills. Photography will not only develop a student’s visual, technical and practical skills; it will inspire confidence in questioning and analysing the visual world around them, as well as understanding social and historical context.

The course is offered as an A Level subject. Each year in the first term starts with taught skills in both traditional wet darkroom processes and digital new media. It is a fast pace, exciting and experimental course, driven by the student’s passion for exploring their choice of subject matter and supported with committed, knowledgeable staff.

Pupils are welcome to use the studios and darkroom in their free time. Open studio is offered three days a week after school, with a member of staff who is available for help with book work and practical tasks. Photography Club is run for the younger years (1st to 4th form) in Autumn and Spring term.

As part of the courses students visit galleries and exhibitions in London and further afield, such as Paris.

Course Specification

Photography is a two-year linear course but there is the added flexibility that students can submit their Lower Sixth coursework to the exam board and complete an AS Level if they are considering not continuing to the full A Level. 

The A Level course involves both practical work and contextual studies. Students of Photography are expected to be taking photos regularly, working in their sketchbooks, developing their personal work and involving related works of other photographers, artists, designers and filmmakers, both contemporary and historical, as well as from any culture.

In the Lower Sixth students will complete an induction period in which they will be taught a number of core skills as part of a self-directed project in response to a theme. They will also study the History of Photography for two terms in one of their double periods each week to lay the foundations for their Personal Investigation which they embark on after Easter of the Lower Sixth. Part of the Personal Investigation requires a 3000 word visual essay in response to a self-directed theme.

The Personal Investigation is worth 60% of the A Level and continues to be developed until the end of January in the Upper Sixth through practical work and outcomes. This is followed by an externally set assignment worth 40% of the A Level, which begins in February of the Upper Sixth with a timed examination in the Summer Term.  The year is rounded off with an exhibition celebrating their work.



Miss Hayley Troughton, BA, Art and Lead Teacher of Photography



Back to Academic Departments