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WLFS Secondary

The Knowledge Schools Trust

We aim to provide children with a classical liberal education, regardless of background or ability.

History of Art

About the Course

History of Art is enjoyable, rewarding and challenging A level subject

This course develops students’ understanding of the relationship between society and art; art historical terms, concepts and issues; the influence of cultural, social and political factors, as well as developments in materials, techniques and processes of both art and architecture over time. 

The initial Visual Analysis unit delivers the core skills of visual literacy and understanding, a vital skill in today’s visual world. The inclusion of Specified Artists and a selection of works from beyond the European tradition provides clear guidance on areas of study and reflects the need for an appropriate global specification in our modern world. The Additional Works maintain individual freedom that enable centres to explore local Museums and Galleries and to integrate these resources into the curriculum.

The five Periods give the opportunity to study some of the most significant and exciting eras of Art and Architecture in depth. 

First-hand experience of art is vital and our proximity to central London will allow us to visit galleries regularly as a group, and individually for various homework assignments. Practical art skills are not required, but observation, visual curiosity and analytical abilities together with well developed literary skills are paramount. At least a B grade in English at GCSE would be expected and GCSE History would be very useful.

History of Art is a good combination with languages, and for science specialists offers an alternative discipline. Studying History of Art is a good choice for students considering a career in the media, publishing and marketing or in the more specialised world of auction houses, the heritage and leisure industries or education and arts administration in this country or overseas. The course develops a wide range of skills and so makes a realistic combination with a variety of other subjects. Many students go onto study the subject at such institutions as The Courtauld, UCL and Bristol. We also have excellent ties with other local schools in the area and have been to talks by Grayson Perry and Richard Long to name but a few.

Examination Board                                                                


Course Structure

Paper 1: Visual analysis and themes

Written examination: 3 hours 50% of the qualification
110 marks

Section A: Visual analysis

For each of the following types of art and architecture, students answer a single compulsory question that requires them to comment on an unseen photograph of:

  • a painting ● a sculpture; and ● a building.

Section B: Themes

B1 Nature in art and architecture

B2 Identity in art and architecture


Paper 2: Periods

Written examination: 3 hours 50% of the qualification
110 marks

  • C4 Brave new world: Modernism in Europe (1900‒39).
  • C5 Pop life: British and American contemporary art and architecture (1960‒2015).

For each Period, students answer a single compulsory question in four parts.