Dear Parent/Carer,

As you will be aware your child is now embarking on the final component of the Photography GCSE – Component 2 – the Externally Set Assignment. I thought it would be useful to let you know a little more about this as the component takes place in quite a short period of time and is worth 40% of the overall grade.

The exam titles were issued by the examining body (AQA) on Thursday 2 January 2020 and we will only be working on exam preparation in lessons from January through to the exam at Easter. The preparation work is worth three quarters of the total marks available for the exam component and as such it is incredibly important that all lessons are attended and all homework is completed on time.

Students in your child’s group have been given the exam paper in today’s lesson. The paper gives seven different starting points and students will choose ONE theme which they will work on through to the exam, researching and responding to photographers who work around that theme and then coming up with three ideas of their own on how to respond to the theme. In the lesson today students saw a presentation which outlines each of the starting points and with supporting visual materials to help them make an informed choice about which theme they choose. Students will then follow a period of independent development where they will explore their best idea further, reviewing and refining as they go along. The expectation is that students complete at least 9 development shoots for their chosen idea and students who do this effectively will gain the best marks.

Obviously every student will be working on a different idea and so there is a high level of independence expected. Homework will be set every week which will usually be either a photoshoot or a research homework and these really must be completed. As students will all be working on different ideas we will not set up any formal group shoots during lessons but students are more than welcome to come after school and at lunch times to work on development shoots.

Students can also access to the Adobe Photoshop suite as part of the school package on compatible machines at home so they may be able to work on edits outside of lesson time as well. If there are any difficulties logging on please drop me an email or ask your child to go and see the IT department for more information.

Students will need at least one new black sketchbook which can be purchased on ParentPay for £2. Most students go into a second book for the exam component and some go into three books. If your child receives free school meals they will be given a book at the start of the exam period.

I would really appreciate it if you would have a conversation with your child about the importance of this term in Photography GCSE. The dates for the exams have been set so that they fall well before the other formal exams and it is important to remember that ALL the work produced in lessons and at home form January onwards is part of the final exam grade. It is critical that lessons are not missed and that all homework is completed.

At the top of this article I have linked to the PowerPoint as a PDF and also the Exam Task sheet which outlines all the stages of expected development. Please download these resources. Students can also access my resource Pinterest boards to support their research:

Please do contact me if you require further information or if there are any other ways in which I can support your child through their GCSE.

Best wishes

Ms Atkinson

Head of photography