GCSE Art and Design

Ashbourne’s Art Faculty offers a diverse range of disciplines and working approaches for GCSE students – and allows the opportunity to work in a variety of both two- and three-dimensional materials, including studies in Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Textile Design and Photography and lens-based media. The Faculty is structured around the acquisition and building of practical and technical skills as well as the integration and contextualization of art appreciation, based on a careful balance of research and practice.

Students will get the opportunity to visit a number of leading London art Galleries and museums, including the Tate Gallery and the Royal Academy of Art, in order to develop students’ critical thinking in response to a range of art and artists.

Art is all around us – from the buildings we live and work in to the clothes we wear or the cups we drink out of. Students will get the opportunity to explore a variety of processes within Art and Design and discover and develop their strengths and leanings accordingly, allowing a more personal and individual visual means for the expression of their ideas and interests.

All tutors within the Art Department are professional practitioners and work together to encourage their students to experiment with materials, gain in confidence, and to push beyond their boundaries to discover their own creative expression for their ideas.

Why study GCSE Art?

A study of Art and Design at GCSE is the ideal basis to progress onto the full two-year A-level course of study that will ultimately lead to University and Higher Education placement, which can then subsequently open up a diverse number of Art and Design careers. Whichever artistic discipline students elect to study, there is a particular emphasis on drawing skills, but students are introduced to a range of materials, media, processes and working methods. Anyone wishing to pursue a career in Art and Design will require the practical techniques taught and developed on this course.

Which syllabus do we follow?

We follow the EDEXCEL specification for GCSE Art and Design.

What is covered in the course?

Component 1Component 2

Personal Portfolio

The year begins by building the coursework portfolio unit made up from practical studio work and a personal project supported by sketchbook development. The portfolio will be produced under controlled conditions and consist of approximately 45 hours supervised activity.

72 marks, 60% of GCSE

Externally Set Assignment

The externally set unit normally is released at the beginning of January and students will have to fulfill the requirements in 10 hours of sustained and supervised work under examination conditions, which have to take place in a maximum of four sessions over 3 weeks.

72 marks, 40% of GCSE

Who teaches this course?

Ashbourne Art Faculty members are specialist artists and designers:

Lawrence Quigley

Head of Art Faculty
MA Fine Art (Royal Academy of Art); BA Fine Art (Loughborough University); PGCE (Leeds Metropolitan University)
Lawrence has been head of the Art Faculty since joining in 2011. He is a Fine Artist specialising in painting and has exhibited at leading contemporary galleries in London and beyond. His work is also held in many public and private collections. Lawrence has extensive teaching experience from GCSE to degree level.

Caterina Lewis

MA and BA Fine Art (Central St. Martins); PGCE Art and Design (Institute of Education, University of London)
Caterina is a practising fine artist who has plenty of experience curating exhibitions and working with galleries. She has been teaching art and design for many years to a wide range of age groups including at GCSE and A level and joined Ashbourne’s Art Faculty in 2016.

Nick Cheeseman

MA Fine Art (Chelsea College of Arts, UAL); BA Hons Fine Art (Staffordshire University); PGCE Art and Design (Bath Spa University)
Nick brings a wealth of experience and passion for teaching art to Ashbourne. He is a practising artist who has exhibited his work across the UK and has been teaching for more than seven years. He has also been an Edexcel exam moderator for GCSE and A level. Nick joined the college in 2016.

Arianwen Shoring

MA Graphic Design, Fashion and Branding (Nottingham Trent Universtiy); BA Hons Fashion (University of Wales); PGCE Art and textiles (University of Worcester)

Arianwen has been teaching in fashion, design and branding for many years and has extensive experience preparing students for university and entering the art world.

Beyond GCSE Art

Students may wish to progress onto the two-year A-level Art and Design course, and then subsequently onto Higher Education study – either on a Foundation Course in Art and Design or a University Degree Course in a selected pathway of their choice.

There are many career opportunities: they can include product design, fashion, illustration, animation, interior design, jewellery, furniture, set design, painting, sculpting, printmaking, to name just a few! New technologies are creating a whole new range of courses and careers in which art is being used in innovative and exciting ways.


The Complete Guide to Painting and Drawing Techniques and Materials, by Colin Hayes

The 20th Century Art Book, by Susannah Lawson

Visual Arts in the 20th Century, by Edward Lucie-Smith