Keystone Year: year 9

In Year 9 students undertake a creative arts rotation where they receive 5 intensive 8 week courses throughout the year each dedicated to a different creative Art. All the courses are linked through the theme of Around the World, yet each one explores it in an individual and exciting manner that highlights its own uniqueness.


In Graphics, the project they will undertake is designed to run like a mini GCSE project to firstly help challenge and stretch the student’s skills, but also given them an understanding of how the GCSE Graphics course will run. Students will explore comic book illustration. Creating and designing their own superhero. Students will research various comic book characters exploring the design choices taken by their creators and the meanings these create for an audience. Students will design their own hero, experimenting with various art practices, building on the art skills they started to develop in year 7 and 8. Once students have developed a good design, they will create a final piece of their choosing to showcase their superhero. Finally, they will present and annotate their work learning how to analyse and evaluate.


Students will also develop and build on their art vocabulary and continue to refine their use of Thinking Hard strategies to help them analyse and evaluate their own work. Students homework tasks will continue to help build their independence, time management and creativity. While at the same time allowing them to explore processes, materials and artists to build their understanding of art and design.

GCSE: years 10 and 11

Exam Board: AQA

Year 10

In Graphic communication students undertake project briefs that they must fulfil to meet the expectations of clients. Students explore a range of media and techniques to help students develop their own style these will include both analogue (pen, paper, paint, printmaking) and digital (photography, Photoshop and illustrator) techniques. We give students the ability to explore a range of materials and ideas so that they can effectively achieve the best possible results and develop personalised and independent work.

In Year 10 students will start their coursework portfolio (worth 60%of the final mark). Students explore a range of materials giving them a chance to gain a better understanding of how to work, refine and hone their skills as well as build the skills they have learnt in the last 3 years, but also to better understand where their own strengths lie. Students undertake longer more in-depth projects where they continue to explore and refine their own ideas more fully along with researching and analysing artists and their own work. Students first project will be to develop advertising material for a music band, this will include logo, font, cd covers, posters and merchandise. In their second project students will develop promotional material for a restaurant, including logo, many posters, wall art and uniforms.

Year 11

In Year 11 at the apex of their skill level students undertake a final project for their coursework Portfolio (worth 60% of their final grade) which encompasses their Year 10 projects culminating in a range of impressive final pieces for their Pre-Public Exam.

Students end the course undertaking The Externally Set Assessment (worth 40% of the final mark) which is a selection of exam questions set by AQA (at the beginning of January). Students must pick one title and then produce prep work for the exam and a range of final pieces in the 10-hour exam with the support of teaching staff and using the resources and materials they have mastered over the last three years.

A Level: years 12 and 13

Exam Board: AQA

Year 12

The A level Graphic Communication course consists of two parts; a Personal investigation (which includes 2 projects and is worth 60% of their final mark) and an Externally Set assignment (Which is worth 40% of the final marks). In year 12 students will complete project 1 and start project 2, they will complete this project at the start of year 13. There will be continual assessment throughout course using the exam boards’ assessment objectives. Students will also be expected to investigate galleries independently in their free time to further their projects and gain better understanding of artists work.

Personal Investigation

In year 12 students will undertake The Personal Investigation, this takes the form of two major projects. Students are allowed to decide on these projects. This allows for personal choices with the emphasis on independent learning. Students must design their own briefs focusing on a project that allows them to explore a range of graphical outcomes that is thoughtfully discussed with the teaching staff. After designing a brief, students must develop and explore their themes creating a range of outcomes in a professional manner. During this time students will use the skills and knowledge they have acquired from year 7 and further refine and develop these skills to confidently realise their intentions.

Students further refine how they develop ideas; this includes an ability to research a range of artists work, analysing their processes and using the knowledge gained to influence and inspire their own work. Students develop their ability to experiment with a range of ideas and materials that are appropriate to their starting points, reviewing and refining their work purposefully. Students further refine their ability to record their ideas and reflect critically on their work and progress. Finally, they must have the ability to create a personal and imaginative final realisation that makes connections between their work and others. Student’s practical outcomes can take the form of a range of final realisations that can include 2-D paintings, printmaking, photography, textiles, multimedia pieces and digital work packaging, posters, magazine covers. Students will be expected to produce high quantity quality work during the course

The practical aspect of the course is complimented written analysis of artists and their work focusing on the wider issues they explore. The students also show a high level of critical analysis when discussing their own work explaining their themes in a mature and creative manner.

In the 2nd project alongside their practical responses’ students will also tackle a 3000-word essay that explores the students chosen practical themes from an analytical viewpoint. Students will be expected to devise a title for the essay based on their second project. From this point, they must complete in-depth research on their topic and then write an essay that shows their understanding of the artists and the themes from their research.

Year 13

At the start of year 13 students will complete their Personal investigation by completing their second project, and then spending a Month in January reviewing and refining both projects to the highest standard ready to hand in their completed projects on at the end of January. In February, they will be handed their Externally Set Assignment which is worth 40% of their final grade and is set by the exam board

Externally Set Assignment

The Externally Set Assignment is a response to topics given by the Examining Board. The papers are issued in early February and students have until mid- May to finalise their responses. During this preparatory period students are to complete a range of investigations and developments including experimentations with ideas and materials, exploration into artist and contextual studies, good quality recording from observation and critical analyse of their own work. This should allow students to produce a high quantity of preparatory work while at the same time developing the quality of their work. These studies should help the students devise a range of final pieces for the exam.

Students must then complete a 15 hours examination final piece under examination conditions. At the end of the exam all work must be submitted for final assessment.