You are U6.


Your work this year should build upon the experience of the first year of the course.


Our aim is to enable you to develop further the depth and breadth of your work. This means the thinking, language, skills and confidence necessary to initiate and innovate your work along personal lines. To do this it is important to be open minded and receptive to new ideas. You should also be prepared to work hard and set yourself high standards. 


This year will continue to expand your knowledge of the possibilities, spontaneity and excitement in your work, which develops from this understanding.


This website will help guide you through the initial planning stages of your 2nd year, it is vital to read all the information carefully and if you have any questions feel free to speak to your teacher.


The first year work leads directly to that in the second year, where there are two assessed projects.


Component One: 

Personal Study

coursework unit with both practical and written work


Component Two:

Externally Set Assignment

Similar to the GCSE Art & Design examinations, but includes 15 hours of work under exam conditions at the very end of the course.

Project Model

Starting point

Research links and analytical drawings. Analysis should investigate the theme of the project. Studies should be objective, well observed and of a high technical standard. Think about what you want to concentrate on – form, colour, texture, enlarged sections and viewpoint etc. but do not waste time on studies that don’t add to your knowledge or repeat what you have already done in another media. Your own high quality photographs will add significantly to your research, but will not replace drawing completely, except in the Photography course.


Critical links inform the development of your project, and eventually, the final piece. In Component One only, one of these links is made into an extended written piece of work called the Personal Study.

Written Personal Study (Component One only)

This is a very elaborate and extended critical link, which includes written work of between 1000 and 3000 words. It must be written in your own words and is informed by reading and primary source research. You will receive more details about this when you return from study leave.


Development is the most important part of any project and should focus on ideas and elements that you have observed in your analytical studies and at some point will be informed by the critical link/s. Development must: show experimentation with media, explore ideas, could manipulate images, crop and enlarge images, try out composition ideas, investigate alternative designs. Interesting, personal and lively work of a high standard is expected.

Final piece
The final piece will show informed influence of the link/s and your own creativeideas. This should be a very highly finished and substantial piece of work, which logically and successfully concludes the project. You should plan to spend a minimum of 15 hours on this (for Component One, Component Two is set by the exam board).


The Assessment Objectives for A Level are similar to those for GCSE. They are used for the marking of all units. When work is assessed each objective is given a mark out of 24, making a total out of 96 for each unit.

Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.


All coursework in Upper Sixth, Components One and Two, needs to be professionally mounted and displayed for assessment in the final coursework exhibition, at the end of the course. All two-dimensional preparatory work is mounted onto A1 card, or similar.

The work should be mounted in such a way as to show the logical sequence or journey of the project from the starting point to the concluding final piece.

Each project should have as a minimum:

  • A1 sheets of preparatory studies or equivalent. These are high quality studies showing Analysis, Development and Critical Links and presented to show progression of ideas and process of work towards the Final piece. In Graphics and Photography it is often more appropriate to present critical links in the sketchbook, but your teacher will advise you about this.

  • Supporting sketchbook/s. These should contain all other supporting studies, references, ideas and experimental work. Sketchbooks are very personal to you and give a good indication of your level of response, interpretation and commitment to the project.

  • Contextual sketchbook. Small black book full of links and gallery work.

  • One final piece

  • *Component one must also include the presented written personal study.

Homework + 
Deadlines + Support

As you will have noted in the Lower Sixth it is essential that you stay up to date and meet deadlines, producing good quality work throughout. As all of the work counts towards your final mark any missing coursework will simply result in a lower grade. Relating to this, the homework policy is reproduced below.

All students are expected to spend a minimum of five hours per week on their homework. This must be completed to the best of your ability and handed in on time. Students who fail to do this will be required to work in the department during their free time and/or remain behind after college that evening to complete the work. Students who cannot cooperate with this will incur the college’s disciplinary procedures and may be asked to leave the course.

For homework you will be required to produce either practical or written work, each week of the second year course. Your teacher will provide further details when setting the work, which will sometimes involve individual target setting for your particular project.

Balance your workload. Do not let your part time job affect your work at college. Having good attendance and being on time is essential to your success. Ensure your work is well planned and ideas thought out. Organise yourself and the materials you need. Set high standards; do not accept anything less than your best this year.

Expand your skills. Try out new ideas and processes. Listen to advice. Feedback from staff will comment on strengths but will also highlight weaker areas and ways to improve. Attend support sessions if you are advised to do so. Use the facilities of the department in free time to extend coursework. Do all work set and keep to deadlines.

Art & Design support sessions will be on Mondays 3.45 - 4.45pm. During busy periods, or around dead- line dates, these may be extended to include other evenings, but this will be at the discretion of your teacher. There may also be additional support sessions for specific classes or activities.

The Upper Sixth is (another) hard year, but is very rewarding for those who work hard. An Art & Design option is one of the few A level subjects where you are encouraged to explore your own ideas. Working with enthusiasm and dedication has helped many students to make huge developments during the second year.

Art Foundation

A Foundation course is a year long, general art and design course, which is often your best option if you are aiming for a career in the arts or aiming to study at the best university courses.

You take the course after completing your A level studies and prior to your degree. Some of the best universities will insist on you undertaking a founda- tion year and here at Holy Cross, we would certainly recommend it. We believe that it will make you a more versatile artist/designer with more depth to your work.

We will visit the final degree and foundation shows at MMU so that you can get an idea of the sort of work you might produce after your A Levels.