Art & Photography
What do we offer?
Welcome to the Art Department, where we offer a broad and stimulating creative experience from Year 7 right through to Year 13 in Art and Design, and a dynamic introduction to Photography in Years 12 & 13.
We benefit from excellent facilities:
In Art, the two main craft studios are large, brightly lit and very well-resourced. In addition to these, we have separate Sixth Form work areas, providing individual workspaces for the exclusive use of A-level students in Year 13, who are free to access them whenever their timetable allows. Visiting reps from UK Art Degree Courses are always very envious of this facility!
What goes on here in Art?
At Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9), our Art students follow a wide-ranging programme of study in many disciplines. Observational study is widely encouraged as a vital starting point in many schemes of work, and students are introduced to many different ways of drawing, painting and making, using an extensive variety of materials and approaches. In each of these three foundation years, they produce a body of work responding to the time-honoured themes of portrait, landscape and still-life, but in a way which is interesting and relevant.
Art becomes an option at GCSE level…
And the course runs through Years 10 and 11. At this stage, students will build on the skills learnt so far and extend the time spent in the classroom to three hours a week. A portfolio of substantial projects will be developed over two years followed by a final practical exam.
Numbers are currently very healthy (42 in Years 10 and 11 ) and results are consistently good – in 2010 ,our 24 Art students in Year 11 achieved 14 A*grades, 7 A grades and 3 B grades. This compares very favourably with the UK national average of 9% for A*.
Students are given much more creative freedom, building a comprehensive portfolio of work on a theme of their choice with a substantial timetable (two one-hour lessons and one two-hour double lesson) enhanced by many hours of supported independent study. In years 12 and 13 we also benefit from shared facilities with Victoria College, as mixed classes often occur when timetables are more mutually convenient for some boys and/or girls.
A level Art students also have the opportunity to display and sell their work at a professionally-mounted exhibition in a leading St Helier gallery.
Again, recent results speak for themselves – in 2010, 100% of Year 12 AS candidates achieved the top A grade, and at A2, two-thirds of the Year 13 candidates achieved the top A* grade, with the remainder earning A grades and one B grade.
At all levels, we try to make the best use of the resources available to us, both on and off-island. Exhibitions, workshops by visiting artists and excellent links with UK Universities and Art Colleges are a continuing feature of artistic life here at JCG.
What goes on here in Photography?
The Photography studio is located in the Media Department, using an ever-increasing array of equipment and technology. Our large computer suite is stocked with Apple Macs for every student, with an adjoining studio set-up for controlled shoots.
To offer a taste of the pre-digital experience we also have the use of a large dark room for ‘wet’ photography.
Photography is an option at A-level, with the course running over two years.
In Year 12…
Students are introduced to the history and development of Photography as both a practical tool and an art form in itself. At this stage the basics of composition, lighting, framing and editing are taught, and there are many opportunities to shoot ‘on location’ outside school. The various strands of the discipline are studied as we look at what photography is used for today – portraiture, fashion, sport, documentary, landscape, reportage, advertising, propaganda, art – it is an all-consuming and omnipresent medium.
In Year 13….
The emphasis shifts to a more personal exploration of a chosen theme inspired by the work of other photographers.
New technology is embraced at every turn on this course, but we think it’s also important to learn from the past, so we spend as much time analysing the work of great pre-digital photographers and appreciating their achievements as we do taking our own photographs.
Although it is a visual subject, learning how to read and understand images (and then how to communicate that knowledge) is a skill which proves very useful later in life in so many different career choices. At the end of the course, students mount a professional exhibition at a local gallery space which is assessed by a visitng moderator from the UK exam board.
Photography is a very popular option at JCG, and numbers are increasing every year. Currently we have 34 students studying at A level.
In 2010, students achieved 100% A*-B grades at both A2 and AS level (A2 = 4 A* grades, 9 A’s, and 4 B’s; AS = 11 A grades and 3 B’s), well above the national UK average.
AS & A2 Art Options Evening handout