GCSE Photography



Qualification: GCSE

Exam Board: Edexcel

Tier of Entry: Single 


Photography is not a compulsory option at KS4, however we strongly encourage students to pick a creative subject to offer a broad and balanced curriculum. Creative subjects help students develop as creative thinkers, independent researchers, critical thinkers and help to question the world we live in.



The Visual Arts Department aims to create an environment where all can discover a visual language by which they can express their feelings and record their observations. We aim to make students aware of the concepts of the Visual Arts, and raise a critical, cultural and historic awareness. The Department aims to foster a positive, considerate attitude and empathy towards others, as well as enhance the students own self-belief.

Students build on their progress through regular individual discussions, portfolio clinics and assessments. Students are kept informed with new initiatives within the Visual Arts through strong links to further education colleges and universities, visits to exhibitions, national and local competitions and residential trips to New York, USA.

Course Content and Assessment: 

GCSE Photography comprises of two coursework units worth 60% of the GCSE grade

Unit 1: Identity – A Digital Portfolio website and final pieces

Unit 2: Fantastic & Strange – A Digital Portfolio website and final pieces

The Externally Set Exam in Yr 11 is worth 40% of the GCSE grade

Students will be given 12 school weeks to complete an exam digital portfolio website in response to the given theme. Students will then have 10 hours to make a final exam piece.


The work is assessed using four Assessment Objectives. The Assessment Objective are equally weighted and are the same for both the coursework and the examination.

In each project, your digital portfolio website covers the first three Assessment Objectives, and the fourth is your final piece.

Below is a summary of the Assessment Objectives and the work you could include to cover these.

The four Assessment Objectives

Assessment Objective 1

Analytical and cultural understanding

Annotation of your photographs, written comments about the work of other artists / photographers and work you have done in the style of other artists / photographers

Assessment Objective 2

Experimentation and development

Experimenting with a variety of digital editing tools such as Photoshop, developing your work into ideas for a final piece

Assessment Objective 3

Recording ideas and observations

Initial notes and ideas about the theme, Photo-shoots, and annotation

Assessment Objective 4

Personal response

Your final piece based on the work you have completed on your website

For more information relating to the specification and the exam board, please use the following link: https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/art-and-design-2016.html



A minimum of 1-hour Photography homework is set each week. All homework counts towards your 60% coursework grade. Tasks include artist research, artist analysis, conducting photoshoots, editing photos, annotating your work

Revision and Useful websites:

Useful example of GCSE Art research websites include:








Photography GCSE is a prerequisite for studying Art at A level at Post 16 Schools/ Colleges

A level Photography at Post 16 Schools / Colleges

Alternative pathways include Art & design / Photography BTEC level 1, 2 and 3 at Post 16 Centres

Photography or Art & Design can be studied to BA Hons degree level, Master of Arts Level and PHD level at various Universities

Creative Careers:

Many of our students each year choose to study Visual Arts at higher education establishments and go on to successful creative careers such as

  • Architects
  • Animators
  • Graphic designers
  • Fashion designers
  • Digital artists
  • Game designers/3D modelling
  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Film-makers
  • Shoe designers
  • Car & transport designers
  • Product designers
  • Medical illustrators
  • Ceramicists
  • Costume designers
  • Theatre set designers
  • Industrial architects
  • Textile designers
  • Art teachers / lecturers
  • and many more exciting creative industry jobs

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For more details please email our Head of Department Mrs M Raymond at raymondm@bp.lewisham.sch.uk