Skip to content ↓
St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School

St Thomas More
Catholic Secondary School

Art & Design / Graphic Communication

What is GCSE Art and Graphic Design about?

This is an Advanced level Art & Design course offering Unendorsed Art & Design and Graphic Communication.  Art may be defined as work which is produced as an outcome of the students’ personal experience, rather than Graphic Communication which is created exclusively for a practical function or that which is the outcome of a tightly prescribed brief.

Art work produced for this specification will demonstrate the use of formal elements and creative skills, and give visual form to individual thoughts, feelings, observations and ideas.

It is important to be highly motivated, organized and an independent learner.


Head of Department: T Johnson

Teaching Staff: C Malcom


A Level

Examination Board:


What does the course consist of?

In Year 12, students are given set projects to complete, but during each project, once the initial teaching input of practical demonstration and critical references is completed, the teaching largely becomes tutorial in style. This means that students work independently in lessons and discuss their work with staff on an individual basis as it progresses. This is not a ‘chalk and talk’ subject. During, and at the end of each project, there are group critiques where all students will be expected to talk about their work and comment on the work of other students.

Students are expected to spend AT LEAST 4 of their free study sessions working on their art work in the art department a fortnight.

All deadlines must be met. Work not handed in for the deadline or adequately completed will be marked as it is.

Art & Design disciplines include painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture and alternative media.

  1. Equipment costs

The following are course requirements:

  • A full set of quality drawing equipment i.e. A selection of drawing pencils (H, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B) 30cm ruler, eraser, pencil sharpener, prit stick, masking tape, good quality coloured pencils, acrylic paints, good quality paint brushes, oil pastels.
  • Use of a digital compact (or DSLR) camera
  • A4 hardback artist’s sketch book.
  • One trip to London galleries (approx cost £20)
  • Two creative processes talks (London based) in which world renowned artists/designers talk to students about their experiences in the Art’s industry. (Approx. cost £20.00 per session)
  1. Assessment weighting:

AS (year 12)  
50% practical projects and critical essays - The Year 12 marks are not carried
50% practical exam  forward to A2

A2 Level (Year 13)
60% practical projects and critical essays
40% Practical exam - A2 Only assessed on Year 13 work

Whom does the subject suit?

To be successful in either subject students must be highly enthusiastic and passionate about using visual language to sensitively and thoughtfully extend their own and others’ ways of seeing the world.

What might the subject lead on to?

After A-Level a large proportion of our art, graphics and textiles students choose to study an Arts based subject at university. A few do go to college to complete their Foundation year first, but the majority get a place straight on one of their chosen University courses because of the strength of their portfolios and the depth of their subject knowledge.

In the past these courses have ranged from Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Design, Architecture, Computer Game Design, Printed Textiles and Surface Design, and Theatre Design.

Although we are preparing our students to be successful creative practitioners and to engage practically in the subject, there are many related careers that they can move into that have art, craft and design as a significant, if not essential starting point. The NSEAD has a very helpful section on their website that offers case studies about various careers within art, craft and design, that include animator, curator and illustrator to name but a few.

Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for the creative and cultural industries and provides on its website research and analysis into the skills needs of the industry, and through its Creative Choices section, information and advice about creative careers.

Creative Skill Set is the Sector Skills Council for the creative industries to include computer games and interactive media, again, another mine of information about careers and industry needs.