At Key Stage 4 photography is delivered as an option subject only. Students use digital cameras to capture images on a range of themes, which they then enhance and develop through digital editing software and by making connections with the work of other photographers. Students explore a range of techniques including manual editing and collage, as well as instruction in Adobe Photoshop. It is our goal to continually build on these skills, empowering our students and giving them the tools to effectively express themselves. Students work toward development of two portfolios of work for the GCSE in photography.

At Key Stage 5 our course lays an appropriate foundation for both the further study of creative subjects at university and application in the work-place. The focus on the digital image is retained, but it is here that students begin to hone their craft behind the lens – the course dictates that the students can demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the practical uses of a camera. Students will also explore more advanced ways of analysing work, exploring and experimenting creatively and realising their own intentions. In studio and on location shooting will allow students to effectively control every aspect of picture taking.

We believe photography should be an inclusive activity that can enrich the life experience of anyone who participates. To that end we encourage students to develop their own style to articulate their own views. We expect our students at this level to independently explore the possibilities of the media and to develop their knowledge appropriately. 

Teaching Staff:

Mrs C Douglas – Subject leader

For more information please speak to your Art or Technology Teacher.

Level: GCSE

Students will be guided through a number of introductory projects, skills and techniques to create a strong foundation of working knowledge before becoming immersed in a personal coursework project to be completed by January of Year 11.  To be successful in Photography GCSE, students will meet the four assessment objectives whilst evidencing research, experimentation/making, recording of ideas and quality outcomes. In January of Year 11, students receive their exam papers from the exam board and choose a prompt to respond to. They will then work on a portfolio of supporting work to prepare them for their 10-hour exam where they will create a final piece(s).

Students will be expected to research influences and inspiration before planning to take photographs both on location and in the studio. Once this is done students will need to edit their work and present it in an appropriate and interesting manner. To provide students with enough opportunity to photograph a range of subjects there will be organised trips, to given locations; however it is likely that students will need to plan their own excursions, on top of the organised trips, as each project nears completion.

Students must provide evidence of drawing and written annotation throughout each of their portfolios (coursework and exam project), as it will help communicate their ideas, findings and understanding of the subject.


Component 1    Portfolio of work 60%


Component 2    Externally Set Assessment 40%

There is no written examination, although there is an externally set task consisting of a preparatory period followed by 10 hours of supervised time. Written work is a requirement in the preparation work for both components.


A camera is not essential; however, students are welcome to use their own.  An SD card for file back-up is highly recommended. Access to Adobe Creative Cloud, although not essential, would benefit students in producing their work.


Extended learning is set on a regular basis.  Students are expected to produce & annotate work in their digital sketch books. Students choosing this subject should have a genuine love for taking photographs and will enjoy producing work beyond the lesson, at home or in art club.


Photographer, artist, museum curator, illustrator, graphic designer, product designer, architect, jeweller, interior designer, set designer, visual artist, marketing, web creator, filmmaker, animator, advertising.