Type: A Level
Entry Requirements: Two Bs and three Cs in five subject areas at GCSE to include a minimum of a grade 4 in Maths and English Language. However, due to the new GCSE grading, we do recommend that you are working towards at least a grade 5 in both Maths and English Language. Students must also have a grade C in an Art related subject and a portfolio of work. Applicants who are not studying a GCSE Art related subject, but who have a strong portfolio will be considered for an interview.
Start Date: Sept 2017
Length: 2 years
Course Overview

During this A Level, you will be expected to respond to given briefs or themes, you may go out on location shoots and afterwards select and manipulate images with specialist software to develop and communicate your own ideas. If you are creative and see beauty and contrasts every day, an A Level in Photography will be an inspiring choice.

There will be opportunities to explore studio techniques, including portraiture and a broad range of techniques in our custom built studio, editing suite and darkroom.


What will I learn?

You will produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas including portraiture, landscape photography, still-life photography, documentary photography, fashion photography, experimental imagery, multimedia, photojournalism, photographic installation and moving image.

Component 1
This personal investigation consists of coursework and is worth 60% of the marks. You will develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or a series of related outcomes. It must be supported in your second year by written work of between 1000-3000 words.

Component 2
This is an externally set assignment, worth 40% of the A Level. Each title will have its own paper with a choice of questions to be used as starting points; you will choose 1. Following a period of preparation you will have 10 hours (year 1) and 15 hours (year 2) of supervised time. Your work can be presented as design sheets, sketchbooks, models or workbooks.

How will the course be assessed?

You will be assessed according to the following objectives:

  • 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.

As an Art and Design student you will be given the opportunity to attend a variety of industry trips and specialist visits which might include galleries in Liverpool and Manchester, the National Film and Media Museum, artist studios and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


We have a fully-equipped photography studio with dark room, lighting rig and industry standard editing software. You’ll also have access to DSLR cameras to develop your photography skills.

Materials and other information

Students will pay a consumable fee of approximately £45. This covers the cost of two sketch books, two mount cards, one compulsory visit to Manchester or Liverpool galleries or the National Media Museum in Bradford, plus a contribution towards film/ photographic paper.

Progression and Careers

Some universities require students to complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FAD) at College before progressing; we offer this at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form.

Former students have gone onto study art related disciplines at a number of top universities including the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester, the University of Bradford, Kingston University and Leeds College of Art. They have progressed onto exciting degree programmes such as Graphic Design, Photojournalism, Fashion Photography, Commercial Photography and Forensic Photography, to name but a few.

Ready to apply?

Apply online or download an application form to become part of Nelson and Colne College.

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