Geneva English School

Art & Design

Art and Design

Art tells a story and is a means of communication in an increasingly visual world.

Where GCSE introduces you to new techniques and processes, at the centre of making art at A Level, is the self. Developing your creativity is to open doors to other ways of thinking. Problem-solving and establishing your critical awareness through observation and interpretation encourages you to form opinions and fosters innovation.

If you already know that you want to pursue Art & Design at university level, then A Level is essential for creating a mature, extensive portfolio which showcases your skills and presents a self portrait through your self expression.

Even if you are not intending a career in a creative industry, A Level can still be a great complement to your studies. Art gives us pleasure, relieves stress and can provide a sense of accomplishment. We make connections with other cultures and centuries as we explore our past and present through the work of artists. We find comfort in making and looking at the visual record of our world.

“Art shows us what it is to be human” – John Ruskin

Course content

You will develop a portfolio of work which expresses your personal response to a range of ideas, issues, concepts or themes developed with your tutor. This will culminate in a self directed personal investigation chosen by you. It will include supporting written content of approx 1500 words. (60%)

You will complete an externally set assignment that responds to a brief provided by the exam board. The piece will be completed at the end of the two years including preparatory work and involves a 15 hour exam. (40%)

Inspirational starting point

Do It (home) Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist (A set of artists’ instructions that can easily be realized in one’s own home – free to download)

‘Personal Values’ by René Magritte

Preparation for the course

  • On Instagram, follow the work of any artist/craftsperson/designer that interests you for 30 days. Undertake a 10-day drawing challenge. 
  • Visit a gallery, select one artwork and write an opinion piece. 
  • Start a sketchbook with media unfamiliar to you.
  • Make a visual record of who you are listening to (music), what you are watching (film/tv), where have you visited, who you admire and who you loathe – and why? 
  • Choose one activity from ‘Do it (home)’ by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
  • Listen to any of the following Podcasts:  Art for your Ear, Adventures in ArtArts & Ideas, Art Curious.

Future pathways

  • There is a wide range of specialisms such as fine art and illustration in both print and digital.
  • Fashion design. Product design.
  • Art therapist. Teacher. Museum curator or gallery educator.
  • In companies, you might be a creative director or trend analyst.
  • Film, TV, photography, advertising, museums and galleries are all part of multi-billion dollar global creative industries. 
  • Entrance Criteria
  • Exam Board & specification
  • Assessment

Entrance Criteria

Exam Board & specification


If one looks at a thing with the intention of trying to discover what it means, one ends up no longer seeing the thing itself, but of thinking of the question that is raised.
René Magritte