This is a practical Fine Art course giving students the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the visual world and to respond to it in a personal and creative way. Emphasis is placed on developing visual language skills through drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking and much of the work is based directly on observation.
Reigate College students have an excellent record in gaining places at Art College and university, potentially leading to a career within the creative industries. There are many students who take the subject for their own interest to further develop their visual recording and analytical skills and to complement other less practical subjects.
Many students go on to gain places at the UK’s top universities (including Oxbridge) to study non-art related degrees, having taken A Level Art as one of their three A Levels.
A Level Art is an extremely rewarding course, however students should be aware that many projects involve a high degree of independent work outside the classroom. It is therefore advised that students select a programme of study which contains a balance of exam-based and practical coursework subjects. If students intend to apply to Art College they could combine Fine Art with Photography, Graphics, Product Design or Fashion and Textiles, but they should only choose one of these practical subjects in addition to Fine Art.
Many students go on to study at Art College or university and do courses including:
- Fine Art
- Graphic Design, Illustration
- Fashion Design, Theatre Design
- 3D Design, Digital Animation and Games Design
- Architecture and Interior Architecture
- Interior Design
- Fine Art Conservation
- Advertising and Packaging
- Marketing and Branding
Students take up places on a variety of Art Foundation courses at institutions such as: Central St. Martins, East Surrey College; UCA: Epsom, Farnham, Canterbury; UCL: Camberwell, London College of Fashion, or enrol directly on to degree courses including: Canterbury, Chichester, Kingston, Bournemouth, Leeds, Cardiff, Falmouth, London College of Fashion and Nottingham Trent. Students who want to go straight into the workplace have been successful in securing apprenticeships and internships in the creative industries.
Other students progress to a wide range of non-art related careers and use the skills they have developed on the Fine Art course to gain places at the UK’s leading universities.
Progression advice is given throughout students’ time at College.
The course covers a wide range of topics; students will learn how to:
- Develop ideas and demonstrate analytical and critical understanding
- Explore resources, media, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas to communicate ideas and meanings
- Record ideas and insights and learn how to reflect on work and progress
- Present a personal and meaningful final piece
Art students will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course specific trips, visits and experiences. In the last couple of years, these have included visits to:
- Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Modern Art
- Exhibitions at London galleries such as: The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, Tate galleries, Royal Academy
- Kew Gardens
- Turner Gallery in Margate
- Chichester and the Pallant House Gallery
- New York galleries such as: Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim, New Whitney
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
Assessed coursework accounts for 60% of the final mark.
The exam board for Art (Fine Art) A Level is Eduqas.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirement:
- Grade 5 in GCSE Art (or any other visual arts GCSE)
How many hours of Art lessons will I have each week?
You’ll have two single lessons and one double lesson each week. The total teaching time is 4 hours and 25 minutes.
How much independent work is expected?
Students are expected to spend a minimum of five hours studying per subject every week outside of lessons, but this can increase close to deadlines.
Can students work in the studio when they don’t have a lesson?
Yes, the studio is open from 8.30am and every lunchtime. Space permitting, students can join other lessons too.
Is there a cost implication to studying Art at college?
Yes, there is a studio fee each year. In addition, students will need their own water-based oil paints and some consumables and other specialist materials depending on their project ideas.
Will I get help applying to Art school?
Yes, we run sessions to help with applications, portfolio preparation and interview technique.
Is drawing important?
Yes, it’s an important part of the course. However, you don’t need to be brilliant to start with – but we do expect you to try hard. Practice will improve drawing and we spend time developing drawing skills. There are all sorts of drawing; not all with a pencil, and we work to establish the best working methods for each individual student.
Is there much writing on the course?
Students are expected to analyse other artists’ work in depth and also reflect on and evaluate their own work. The department has writing frames to help with this. Students are never expected to write in exam conditions.
Should I take more than one art-based subject e.g. Fine Art and Graphics?
Carefully consider the workload before taking two art-based subjects. You will have enough work for a good portfolio with just one, however, if you are really creative and certain that you want to pursue a creative pathway, then it can be a good idea and many students choose to do this. Two is the maximum though.
How long is the exam?
In the first year, there is a nine hour exam. The exam in the second year is 15 hours. These are sat over several days in three hour blocks.
Can you explain the structure of the course?
The first project in the Lower Sixth is quite structured. We begin with a big art installation in the classroom and work from it in a range of monochromatic media, introducing students to all the elements of the course that they will be assessed on. We move on to a short introduction to painting using water-based oil paints. The second project offers students a much broader choice of media and topics and encourages them to develop their ideas and creativity linked to the individual themes they are interested in. We begin work on the Personal Investigation Project in March, which is the examined part of the course. This runs until February of the Upper Sixth, when students are issued with the externally set assignments for the timed test in April.
What kind of work will I be doing and what materials will I use?
It’s best to have a look at the student galleries on the website. Students can also work digitally, with film, fabric and in 3D. Photography is evident in most students’ work as a recording tool.