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KS4 Photography


Our KS4 Photography course allows students to build on the knowledge and skills developed during their Y9 Photography rotation, as they explore world of photography, photo manipulation and portfolio presentation.

Through using a variety of different approaches, students will explore pioneering artists, draw inspiration from existing photographic arts forms and create a range of photographic portfolios/artifacts in response to set briefs/themes, whilst still allowing enough flexibility for an individual and creative response.

Through their own research and observational studies, students record ideas, observations and insights relevant to their intentions in photographic form.  Students will develop a portfolio which will support the development of larger coursework pieces completed during lessons.  The portfolios and the range of photographic artifacts form the coursework component worth 60%. Students refine work through experimentation and researching a variety of media, materials, techniques and processes. Students develop their ideas through research of other photographers, demonstrating analytical skills and justified personal responses. They make connections between their work and that of others, through the style and development of student work.

During KS4 students develop their analytical skills, use subject specific terminology and start to successfully annotate and critique their own and others work, an essential skill at GCSE. They create work in portfolios and acquire presentation skills valuable for KS4. The homework projects extend the learning from the classroom, prepare students for new topics and improves students’ ability to work independently.

Learning Journey

Names of staff, roles and contact details

Mr W Cropper
Teacher of Photography

Autumn TermSpring TermSummer Term
Y10Introduction to the course.Small projects to introduce pupils to photographic techniques, as well as coursework structure.Projects include: Holiday Montage, Light Graffiti and Joiner Photography.Continuation of projects designed to build student's skills and understanding of photographic techniques and approaches.Projects include: All About Me, Rankin: Destroy and Dual Exposure.Student's complete an exam-style question to familiarise themselves with the techniques and expectation of the exam process, in preparation for Year 11.Students also begin their major project. Project ideas are provided for students to follow, although these can be tailored to the specific needs/interests of each individual.
Y11Conclusion of the major project.Submission of coursework for initial assessment is expected before the Christmas break (60% of final GCSE grade).GCSE exam question is issued early January. Students will spend their time preparing for their final exam sessions, which will take place around Easter. (40% of final GCSE Grade).Final submission of Exam work.Students can make final adjustments to coursework before final deadline.Final submission of coursework

How and well is my child assessed?

Learning Logs are marked/reviewed every 2-4 weeks. Pupils use these logs to comment on:

  • What they have achieved since the last review (WWW)
  • How they have worked (self-review)
  • What aspects they have found difficult, what they have struggled with, and what they need specific guidance on
  • Pupils plan the work that they will be doing until the next review (My Response Is), which they ae encouraged to break down into classroom based activities, and out of school activities.

Teachers write a comment about pupils’ work since the last review, and will also respond to pupil evaluation and planning notes. These comments help guide future lessons, as well as planning intervention/support strategies. Teacher will then award a working towards grade.

For practical work, a feedback/marking label is used, which can be found on the rear of pupil’s practical outcomes. Comments on the label and the ‘working towards grade’ refer to the practical outcome only (AO4). As practical work often holds a higher grade than written work; this often helps pupils raise the standard of folder work to match their outcomes.

Name of course (s) offeredExam boardLink to specNature of assessment
GCSE PhotographyAQAhttps://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/art-and-design/specifications/AQA-ART-GCSE-SP-2016.PDFComponent 1: Portfolio (60%) – coursework completed in lessons
Component 2: Practical Exam (40%) – 10 hour practical exam in response to a set brief

Teaching Strategies

Challenge – all teachers will set high expectations of every student, setting a single goal for each lesson. Depending on student needs, teachers will then adapt their teaching and approaches accordingly to best support students on differing pathways as we all strive towards the aspirational outcome.

Regular literacy retrieval tasks at the start of lessons – focus on developing strong understanding and use of specialist subject terminology (tier 3 language), with tasks being a mixture of oral and written activities.

Expert teacher modelling – through live demo table setups, or use of a digital visualiser, teachers will draw on their subject expertise to model/demo key skills and knowledge required in lessons.

Teacher & Student WAGOLLs – teachers will make use of pre-made, excellent exemplars to  give students clarity of what is expected of them. Whether it be a teacher prepared example or a high quality piece of student work by an earlier cohort, WAGOLLs (What A Good One Looks Like) will help support teacher explanation and student understanding of their learning journey.

Questioning – throughout lessons, whether it be a literacy retrieval starter and/or practical task, students will be called upon repeatedly to answer questions based on what is being taught. Teachers will direct questions at students, with the vast majority being delivered using a ‘no hands up’ approach.

Practical learning – learning time in this subject will be wholly practical based, with students taking on board a concept delivered by their teacher, and then independently  trying to apply this knowledge and skill to their own work.

Homework – regular homework is set in line with whole school guidance that enhances classroom learning. On some occasions, this homework might be ‘flipped’ in nature, where students carry out learning ahead of covering the topic in class.


Last updated September 2023