AS and A-level Art and Design - our new specifications transcript

AS and A-level Art and Design

Our new specifications

Linda Wakeling, Qualifications Developer, AS and A-level Art and Design

Our new Art and Design specification is built on the success of our current specification. This means that we can offer you something that we know works and that we are confident you will enjoy teaching. We know this because we worked with you to make it.

But of course there have been regulatory changes and we've needed to respond to these and take advantage of them; seeing them as an opportunity to make your and your students' experience a better one. We've also worked with over 1,000 teachers and over 40 universities and art colleges and listened to what you had to say. This research, coupled with our existing experience in creating successful qualifications, has really helped make this an exciting development for art and design.

So, how have we brought these changes into the specification?

We knew that you've always enjoyed the flexibility that AQA Art and Design has offered, this is essential to allow for different approaches and teaching methods. We've kept that ethos at the heart of our changes so that you can have the confidence in continuing to teach to your own strengths and interests and those of your students.

There have been slight adjustments to the assessment objectives and there is now a new top mark band, allowing for better differentiation across the highest quality work. The AS and A-levels are linear with assessments at the end of the course. At AS we've introduced artists' references into the externally set assignment papers because you told us that's what you wanted to see.

To me this has simplified the specification; there is a strong focus on personal progression where your students can follow their own path regardless of ability, allowing their creativity to flourish - which is something we all want to see. I've heard many inspiring accounts of colleagues being continually surprised and impressed by the sheer breadth that the current specification has helped to create and the new specification will build on this.

It is in your classrooms up and down the country where this qualification really comes to life. You can co-teach AS and A-level qualifications if you want to. This reduces the strain on resources and lets your students keep their options open. They can also be taught separately, so it is up to you how you cover the A-level content.

Now AS is decoupled from A-level, students can change endorsement titles at A-level allowing them to make more informed choices for Year 13 and beyond. The support we offer is extensive and we've expanded this even further. We've developed our comprehensive package for you to use: there are new specimen papers, suggested schemes of work, updated resource list, coursework guidance and help on written material, guidance on managing externally set assignments, guidance on drawing and we've worked to make this support even more readily available so that you can focus on teaching.

We've also enhanced the role of subject advisers who can now give more tailored one-to-one support, something you told us you wanted. You also said that the free teacher standardisation meetings were really valued so we're continuing to offer these so that you can get a wider sense of the qualification in practice. We are enhancing the subject community to include a really exciting higher education area full of guidance and free resources for you and your students.

We want to keep all the things that made the previous specification work so well for you. This really is about increasing our support for you. Things have changed, we know that, but we've worked hard to make sure that this change is a truly positive one. To set the groundwork for students of all abilities to nurture and explore their creative skills, which is what art and design is all about.

We've created our new specifications with you in mind.

Find out more at