Art and Design
In a world dominated by the visual, the ability to understand and create engaging images is a skill that can lead to exciting careers in a variety of areas as well as a deeper understanding of culture and a way of seeing beauty in life that others may ignore.
A level Art at Bede’s builds on the skills that pupils will have learnt whilst studying Art GCSE.
After an initial skills-based course in the first term, pupils specialise in either graphic communication or fine art painting. As the students progress through the course, they utilise the skills learnt applying it to their own personal work and interests – often reflecting their future plans.
A third of those students who study Art at A Level go on to study related subjects at university or art college, including architecture, animation, fashion design, photography, product design, fine art and graphic design.
Equally exciting are the future careers of Bede’s alumni which include architects, West End theatre stage designers, graphic designers for top high street brands, website designers, product designers, film prop designers and photographers – to name but a few.
Students are encouraged to work throughout the Department across a range of media, seamlessly blending traditional skills, experimenting with new media and digital manipulation. Pupils gain excellent results and more importantly produce work of a high standard. At A Level, 100% of Bede’s pupils have achieved A*-C grades over the last decade.
Photography is a hugely popular and successful A Level option, with many pupils attracted to the combination of technical instruction and the creative freedom that it offers.
Our aim during the course is to not only introduce pupils to a range of techniques, but also to enable them to appreciate the different meanings within an image and also express their ideas through the medium of photography.
The first term provides a foundation course that allows students to go on to work on a project during their final year. Many students treat Bede’s as an Art School within a school, utilising the facilities across the Department. This cross-pollination is evident in the variety of work produced by students in Photography, Art and Ceramics, with many blurring the boundaries between the disciplines.
An A Level in Photography at Bede’s can lead to related further education courses and ultimately to a wide range of creative careers.
Many of our students have gone on to study Photography and Film and Art, gaining places at some of the best institutions in the country, including St Martin’s, the University of Falmouth, Chelsea School of Art, the London College of Fashion and the Royal College of Art.
Creating with clay has taken place in the Ceramics Department at Bede’s for the past 35 years.
Housed in the Old Kennels, the Department aims to build confidence and pride in pupils for their ceramic work and The Kennels is a calm and welcoming place to create with clay.
By studying Ceramics, students learn to be patient as working with clay can be a slow but rewarding process. They learn to be designers, develop understanding of form, function and sculpture. They have the option of building by hand, using moulds and throwing on the potters’ wheel. There are three large kilns, so students can be as ambitious as they want to be.
Across this two-year programme, pupils learn how to create ideas and designs out of paper, card wire and clay to develop and generate preparatory work in their sketchbook. iPads are used to create virtual models of ideas, bringing ceramics into the twenty-first century.
The main aim of the Lower Sixth year is to explore and experiment with a wide range of building techniques and give pupils the skills and processes they need to open-up their imagination and develop their ambition.
With 60% of the assessment based on coursework this grounding provides students with the perfect platform to begin working on independent projects during their final year, developing areas of particular interest which may become a stepping-stone to ceramic study beyond Bede’s.