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Top School for A Level Art & Design 2018 Oxford Analytics

The Good Schools Guide recently described our Art Department as a “creative oasis – the words ‘art department’ simply don’t do justice.”

The Good Schools Guide has consistently awarded The Oratory top accolades both for A Level and GCSE Art and Design, confirming our place nationally as one of the top schools for art in the country. The department believes that anyone can be an artist, and that here film making, textiles, coding and animation are all possible alongside traditional Art media. In an age where creative thinking is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, the Oratory Art Department is well placed to equip our pupils for the future.

Extensive Facilities

The Art Department is equipped with  8 specialist Art studios, including a photographic studio, Mac suite, photography darkroom, clay room, 3D room, print studio and a painting and drawing studio, as well as its very own gallery. The Design and Technology Laboratory has 3D printing and laser etching that are accessible to all.  


In a world saturated with imagery, it has become increasingly important to be visually literate.

At The Oratory we teach pupils how to see and perceive the world around them. To look for opportunities visually across many diverse areas in terms of spatial awareness and visual acuity. The relevance of Art is not just in producing more artists or beautiful pictures but in producing people who can think like artists, who think laterally ‘out of the box’ and creatively. Who seek opportunities to connect ideas from different specialisms and subject areas in order to realise their vision.

We place an emphasis on creativity, rather than draughtsmanship, across many diverse areas; from photography, film making and graphics through to installation, sculpture and ceramics, embracing old and new technologies. We believe in the Dadaist principles that anyone can be an artist and anything can be art. The department is a mecca for pupils’ art and develops what our students do best: competing, risk taking, doing before thinking and turns it to their advantage, in a subject which is all about discovery, mistakes and happy accidents.

Mr Phillip Chaundy - Director of Art


GCSE Art & Design


Portfolio of practical work (01) 120 Marks
Non-exam assessment (internally assessed and externally moderated)
60% of total GCSE
Learners should produce:
• a portfolio of practical work showing their personal response to either a starting point, brief, scenario or stimulus, devised and provided by the learner or centre.


The early release paper will be issued on 1 January and will provide learners with a  number of themes, each with a range of written and visual starting points.
A response should be based on one of these options. Preparation time and the date supervised time period is set by the centre, usually about 6-8 working weeks.
GCSE externally set task
10 hours (02)
80 Marks Non-exam assessment.
(internally assessed and externally moderated)
40% of total GCSE


A Level Art and A Level Photography


UNIT 1 (48%)

Supporting studies and practical work will     comprise a portfolio of development work and outcomes based on themes and ideas developed from personal starting points.

Coursework - internally set, assessed by the teacher and externally         moderated


UNIT 1 (12%)

The personal study will be evidenced through critical written communication showing           contextual research and understanding in a   minimum 1000 words of continuous prose, which may contain integrated images.

Coursework - internally set, assessed by the teacher and externally          moderated


UNIT 2 (40%)

A body of work including journals will be           submitted as well as a timed examination piece completed within 15 hours in response to an      externally set theme from 1st February of the Upper Sixth.

Internally set, assessed by the teacher and externally moderated



Throughout the year, the department runs a series of workshop sessions, often initiated by pupils' individual interests, from traditional painting skills through to film making, astro-photography, and animation.

Beyond the Course

Our A Level Art students can go on to study on a range of Art & Design foundation and degree courses, nationally and internationally, and train in an area of specialisation, before going on to become Artists, Designers, Architects, and Arts Professionals in a broad variety of specialist areas.

The creative  Arts industries express and reflect the importance of creativity in our society. All around us, artists create the world we inhabit, and contribute to a thriving and important industry, which has a vast range of exciting career options and choices. These can include working in Fine Art, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, or Architecture, for example, as well as many other possible creative Art and Design jobs and careers.

A strong Art training will also develop highly valuable transferable skills important in the business world, including creative ideas development, problem-solving, contextual interpretation, and visual communication, as well as organisational, presentation, and team-working skills.

Top School for Art & Design

The Oratory School has been recognised as England’s Top Sixth Form Subject Performer in A Level Art & Design in 2018 by Oxford Analytics.

Pupils have been acknowledged as having achieved the highest national average student progress and the most outstanding A Level performance in this subject in England. As a result, The Oratory is now regarded as the No.1 centre (value added) of all reported centres* that taught A Level Art & Design in England in 2017-18.

Director of Art, Phil Chaundy, said: “Anyone who enters our Art and Design Departments can immediately see the sheer ambition in the quality of creative work produced here. It is great to have received recognition for this.”

Head of Sixth Form, Stephen Burrows, said: “We are rightly proud of our fabulous Art and Design Departments, which are a hub of continuous activity and creativity. Our A Level results were very strong for the last academic year and this is undoubtedly a particular highlight.”

The Oratory Art and Design Departments are described as a “creative oasis” where “the words ‘art department’ simply don’t do justice” by The Good Schools Guide 22nd Edition. The departments are equipped with 12 specialist art studios, which include a photographic studio and darkroom, a clay room, a 3D room, a painting and drawing studio and its very own gallery. Here, anyone can be an artist and anything can be art. All pupils are encouraged to use any material they wish to convey their vision. Recently a pupil spent a short time in hospital and used it as inspiration, turning it into a universal comment on hospital care and mortality using plaster casts from real bones and video loops for his A Level project.

Oxford Analytics exclusively serve the education sector and specialise in supporting post-16 providers in the analysis of performance and the raising of achievement in subjects. One element of research considers student progress in preference to student outcomes, highlighting examples of excellence that are often invisible (and uncelebrated) in headline performance table measures.

The Oratory School is proud to have achieved this significant accolade, which is testament to the talent, dedication, hard work and commitment of The Oratory School’s Art and Design Departments’ staff and their pupils.

*DfE VA report January 2019