Photography

Departmental approach to the curriculum

This is an exceptionally high performing and well-resourced department which is rated the highest performing department in the country in terms of its average scores and continues to perform at this level.

 

 

Our approach

In photography we have three aims; to impart theoretical and practical understanding of photography; to use photography’s unique cross-curricular characteristics to encourage our students to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of all things; to give the students a sense of self-worth and achievement.

Students choose to study photography because they want to be creative through photographing what they find interesting. However, when they start the course they have little, or mostly no, knowledge of its technical, aesthetic, historical and contextual characteristics. For the student to make meaningful progress they must have, at the least, a basic understanding of these areas.

We use photography’s unique cross-curriculum potential. On the technical side physics, chemistry and maths are part of the course while on the critical side English and history are exploited. Underlying this, and most importantly, is creativity. To maximise engagement, students choose their own practical and theoretical themes.

Accommodation and resources

There are three darkrooms. The main darkroom houses 30 enlargers, mostly 35mm and medium format but also three 4 x 5 inch and one 8 x 10 inch large format enlarger, two Ilford paper processors and a large central processing sink. A smaller darkroom houses five 4 x 5 inch and one 8 x 10 inch enlarger. The smallest darkroom is used as a film loading room and houses an E6 film processor that can process up to 8 x 10 in film. Adjacent to these is a wet area with three film dryers. The main classroom houses a 5000+ volume library of photographic books, about another 3000 periodicals, a wall of original photographic images (several originals by important photographers), numerous items of historical interest and seats 22 students and the desks of the staff members. There is one computer for the students and a large format digital printer.

Ethos

This is a photography department in the tradition of “Modern” photography as established in the 20th Century and taught by staff with specialist degrees in Photography. As such, it is unlike many other school departments where, often, the course is essentially a Photoshop course taught by non-specialists. While in no sense “anti-digital”, like most universities, we feel that the key concepts, technical, contextual and historical are best taught using analogue photography.

We have very high standards both creatively and academically and have no preconceived ceilings for our students. We expect an ongoing improvement in the quality of their work throughout the course and where appropriate, for the academically inclined/creatively talented, work that goes well beyond the syllabus requirements.

We team teach, often mixed years, and expect our students to work independently and maturely.  


 

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

a

Year 10 and 11

All components are a combination of written and practical work.

GCSE; Examining Board, AQA

Component 1

Coursework. The first term and a half in year 10 is devoted to all relevant aspects of photographic theory and the major body of written work is completed in the second term. The practical coursework is started on completion of this written work. Further, but less substantial, written work is done to compliment the practical work. There are two parts to the coursework, an un-themed unit and a themed unit. The pupils choose their own theme.

The coursework is worth 60% of the final mark.

Component 2

In February the controlled assessment (exam) is started and completed in April, with the unassisted printing of the student’s final selection of work over ten hours under examination conditions. It is supported with written work.

The exam is worth 40% of the final mark.

Year 12 and 13

A Level; Examining Board, AQA

Component 1.

A 3000 word essay researching their chosen genre/photographer.

A practical response to the essay.

The essay and practical work are done concurrently. The essay should be complete by the start of the U6th year.

The coursework is worth 60% of the final mark.

Component 2

In February the controlled assessment (exam) is started and completed in April, with the unassisted printing of the student’s final selection of work over fifteen hours under examination conditions. It is supported with written work.

The exam is worth 40% of the final mark.

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

 

Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

Assessment

Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

 

Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

How can you help your child succeed in photography?

It is very important that students become familiar with the work of important photographers. The V&A has both a permanent and revolving photographic exhibition. The Photographers Gallery has numerous exhibitions throughout the year, a print sales room and an extensive book shop. The Tate Modern often has photographic exhibitions as does the National Portrait Gallery. The annual “Photo London Fair” in May is a vast fair that encompasses both historical and contemporary photography. 

Helpful websites and further information

While the internet can be a very useful source of information students must understand that much of the material has not been peer reviewed so is not necessarily reliable. Further, there is a very significant difference between looking at a physical print and looking at an image on a computer screen, so judgements based on the later can be misguided.

Taking your child to exhibitions is probably one of the most helpful things you can do.