The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls


About the Subject

The department has developed schemes of work that encourage students to create high quality, personal art work that is both purposeful and meaningful.

Starting in KS3 and continuing at GCSE, students build skills and develop their own ideas for projects and are encouraged to be independent through the use of open-ended independent class and homework projects. At A level students work in an experimental way in practical workshops in response to briefs set by the teacher. This approach enables students to realise their intentions and to own their ideas. All students at A level are introduced to the life model through weekly life drawing classes. We have an open-door policy in the Art department with students from all years working alongside each other at lunchtimes and in after-school clubs.

All our activities are documented on our department blog

We are a small department so we enjoy taking opportunities to work with outside agencies to expand our department. We train two Art PGCE students from Goldsmith’s, University of London per year

The Curriculum

Key Stage 3

The Art curriculum at KS3 is devised to allow students to

  • Build on their experience at primary school,
  • Develop and extend their practical skills and their verbal and visual literacy
  • Increase their understanding and appreciation of art and artists
  • Develop imaginative and original thought and experimentation

Key Stage 4

GCSE level Art and Design
Exam board: AQA
Specification: Fine Art option, students work in more than one media
2 components of work in the GCSE course
Component 1 Portfolio
Component  2 Externally set task

The key to success in the GCSE course is enthusiasm and dedication, sound drawing skills, independent research, consistent hard work, reviewing and improving work and working to deadlines.

The portfolio unit consists of three projects that the students will work on until January of year 11. It is worth 60% of their final grade and is marked out of 96.

The externally set task: AQA will provide a separate externally set assignment with seven different starting points. Students must select and respond to one starting point from their chosen title. The externally set assignment provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate, through an extended creative response, their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding in response to their selected starting point. The extended creative response must explicitly evidence students’ ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skill and/or understanding from initial engagement with their selected starting point through to their realisation of intentions in the 10 hours of supervised time.

 A Level Art & Design

Exam board: AQA
Specification: Fine Art 
2 components of work in the A Level course
Component 1 Personal Investigation
Component 2 Exam
Exhibition Display of work in May of final year

In Component 1, students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical elements should make connections with some aspect of contemporary or past practice of artist(s), designer(s), photographers or craftspeople and include written work of no less than 1000 and no more than 3000 words which supports the practical work. The Personal investigation is worth 60% of the overall grade and is marked out of 96.

In Component 2, students respond to a stimulus, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints, developing a personal and meaningful response which addresses all the assessment objectives and leads to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Component 2 is worth 40% of the final grade and is marked out of 96.

Special Requirements/other Information:

Minimum grade 6 at GCSE Art and English

The key to success in the A level course is enthusiasm and dedication, sound drawing skills, independent research, consistent hard work, reviewing and improving work and working to deadlines.

Every year our A level students go on to Foundation Courses at London Art colleges such as the Royal Drawing school, Kingston University, University of the Arts (London College of Communication, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art and Central St Martins) Working Men’s College in Camden, Kensington and Chelsea College Ravensbourne and also straight to Art Degrees at Glasgow, The Ruskin at Oxford, City and Guilds, Kingston, Leeds, Falmouth and Central St Martins.

Enrichment and Extra-Curricular

We make maximum use of the wealth of galleries and artists on our doorstep. Students from all years make regular gallery visits. We regularly visits the following galleries:

Tate Modern and Britain

National Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

The Courtauld

The Hayward Gallery

The Whitechapel Gallery

The Jerwood Space

The Barbican

The Royal Academy

Workshops at the RCA

The Lisson gallery

Life drawing at the Wallace Collection

We run A Level trips to Florence and Berlin in conjunction with the History department which are hugely popular and an a fantastic opportunity to see the amazing Art and Architecture of other countries. The department has strong links with the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, resulting in students’ work being exhibited at the Royal College, the Frieze Art Fair, and the Royal Academy Online Summer Exhibition among others.

Along with the other four schools of the United Westminster Schools Foundation our A level students exhibit work in the Annual Foundation Exhibition. Showcasing excellent work in a professional way is important to us in raising aspirations through all ages in the school. We regularly have displays of work in classrooms and in the school and we have an annual exhibition of GCSE and A level work.