Course Explorer | Highcliffe School

Course Explorer

Graphic Communication

Subject Mission Statement

Art, Design and Technology subjects sit in the curriculum to develop students practical hands-on learning experience. Students develop the skills to be independent and creative developing their knowledge of both technical and life skills. Our curriculum is one that offers something for all, where diversity and individuality is celebrated, and personal outlet is encouraged and embraced.


Highcliffe School offers a high-quality Graphic Design Education, where each student has access to and learns to use the Adobe Creative Suite, consisting of; Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign - whilst developing the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own high quality Graphic design outcomes. As student’s progress through the Key Stages, they are able to think more critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of Art & Design. Students learn how to communicate design ideas and problem solve ‘briefs’ to talk to specific user groups.


KS3 Intent Statement

Art, Design and Technology subjects sit in the curriculum to develop students’ visual and oral literacy. One, which develops students’ as lifelong learners through their exposure to new subjects, themes, materials, skills and techniques in the early KS3 years. Our broad subject areas drive learning to enhancing and embracing students, creativity, imagination through exploration of media and processes. Where student thrive on new experiences and aspire to achieve the extraordinary.
Visual stimulation through displays and exhibitions of work, drive learning and sets high expectations to inspire and challenge throughout early foundation years. Celebration of work through competitions, clubs, trips and students exhibits captivate and drive passion for future progression, enhancing aspirations and embracing person goals. Design is the common thread across Art, Design and Technology, where students develop the skills to be independent and creative, such as developing: products, artwork, sculptures, food, garments and packaging are some examples of purposeful and individual outcomes developed at KS3.
Our Curriculum is built to develop students’ knowledge of both technical and life skills. With an emphasis on learning the importance of take risks, whilst developing an understanding of aesthetic qualities of their own work and the wider world of Art, Design and Technology. Students develop technical skills and knowledge across the subjects and key stages. Our curriculum journeys are designed specifically to extend and expand on learning whilst consolidating previous knowledge and skills to prepare for future development. Working away from preconceptions and embracing diversity making our curriculum accessible for all.
In the early years, students develop the skills around routines and best practice when working in practical subjects and curriculum areas. Learning Life skills: tidying up, presentation, organisation, classroom routines, managing resources and materials whilst working as a team are fundamental to success and enjoyment of KS3. To be ready for the independence offered at GCSE and A level. The board curriculum offers a breath of knowledge built on experiences, discussions, whilst developing life skills, ideas and values. Students learn to respect their environment and equipment, with some consideration for ecological issues and being resourceful with materials. Students learn through project based learning. Students develop their written skills investigation the work of others, evaluating outcomes, whilst conversational confidence is a key to assessment and understanding in our subject areas.
Year 8 and 9 years are built to extend on that knowledge and independence learnt in Year 7, but to encourage more personalise learning and outcomes with less modelling to enhance prior learnt behaviours and routines. Key stage 3 fuels the passion for emotionally strong lifelong learners who aspire to be the best the possibly can.

KS3 Learning Journey


The Graphic Design Course and practice is defined as the need to explore an idea, convey an experience or respond to a theme or issue of personal significance.

The two year course consists of:
Component 1: Portfolio 60% of overall marks
Each student must select and present a portfolio representative of their course of study. The portfolio must include both:
A sustained project developed in response to a subject, theme, task or brief evidencing the journey from initial engagement with an idea(s) to the realisation of intentions. This will give students the opportunity to demonstrate, through an extended creative response, their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding from across their course of study.
A selection of further work resulting from activities such as trials and experiments; skills-based workshops; mini and/or foundation projects; responses to gallery, museum or site visits; work placements; independent study and evidence of the student’s specific role in any group work undertaken.

Component 2: Externally set assignment 40% of overall marks
AQA will provide a separate externally set assignment for each title, each with seven different starting points. Students must select and respond to one starting point from their chosen title. The externally set assignment provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate, through an extended creative response, their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding in response to their selected starting point.
The extended creative response must explicitly evidence students’ ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skill and/or understanding from initial engagement with their selected starting point through to their realisation of intentions in the 10 hours of supervised time.
Students must ensure that the total submission for Component 2 evidences coverage of all four assessment objectives and evidence of drawing activity and written annotation. Students must identify and acknowledge sources which are not their own.
Externally set assignments will be available to students and teachers from 2 January. A preparation period which can begin on or after 2 January is followed by 10 hours of supervised unaided work in which students are required to realise their intentions. Students must not undertake any further preparatory studies once the first period of supervised time starts.

KS4 Intent Statement

Art, Design and Technology subjects at GCSE sit in the curriculum to extend our visual and oral literacy. At GCSE these begin to encompass the importance of person choice, further independence, self-discovery, and individualisation as the driving force of our broad curriculum areas. The diversity of our curriculum is wide and broad, allowing all students of all abilities to make personal informed choices for subject selection at GCSE in ADT. Careful support and guidance during the progression stage from KS3 to 4, are built into our ADT plan. Developing students and parents knowledge and understanding of what our subjects offer across ADT. Encompassing an outlet avenue to all students of all abilities ensuring they feel confident to perform successfully in one or more areas in ADT.
GCSE offers a new layer of self-awareness, social, cultural and moral diversity across ADT. In some of the Art and Design subjects, this is an outlet for personal projects and investigations that unpin the deeper conceptual thoughts, which can act as a layer of support to some of our more vulnerable students. Our curriculum is one that offers something for all, where diversity is celebrated and personal outlet is encouraged and embraced. ADT seeks to raise aspirations for students of all abilities, regardless of academic achievement. Independent skills learnt at KS3 are develop upon; time management and personal choice drive students’ independence and the smooth transition from learning at KS3 to GCSE. Written and visual language, use of subject terminology are key to success and understanding of the Assessment Objectives from KS3 to 4.
Refining skills and understanding the wider knowledge of a broader variety of ingredients, materials, styles and processes inform students’ choices whilst influenced by the wider world of Art, Design and Technology. Enhancing students’ opportunities to extend on basic use and understanding of techniques from KS3. E.g. Pencil use to graphite stick, watercolours to oil paints in Fine Art. Cooking pasta to making pasta in Food Preparation and Nutrition. Developing digital skills with subject specific software (adobe) in Graphics to designing functional products. Product Design casting to vacuum forming. Making fabric samples to garments in Textile Design. All subject areas Develop and extend on technical skills and knowledge taught at Key stage 3 to 4 , this is an integral part of students learning journey, which is embedded in our curriculum planning
Developmental work on personalisation of presentation skills in workbooks/ folders portfolios/sketchbooks, scale, size and time management are all-important learning focuses at KS4. Developing students own style in ADT subjects, drawing on personal interests, strengths and in some cases self-expression. Students have an opportunity to develop and share their interests through coursework-based work and sustained projects. Which lead to more opportunities for peer discussion and sharing of group ideas. There are opportunities to take personal experiences and apply them to real life world problems. Individual and holistic development is embraced and encouraged through celebration of all work from all students - in our end of year in our GCSE and A level exhibition. Celebration of work within the local community from invites to exhibitions, Residents’ afternoon tea, embeds our strengths in ADT.
Future aspirations in careers and educational experience and routes are enhanced at KS4, lead by subject assemblies with our ADT KS5 Ambassadors as role models. Outside agencies support our career pathways for example: Guest chef, Royal Navy chefs, workshops with Arts University, Elite Art group, clubs, gallery visits, trips, and our residential in Conway working with artist, all extended learning opportunities fuelling passions to the wider world of ADT. Key stage 4 supports the technical processes and life skills learnt at KS3, whilst extending on their visual, critical, emotional and personal development.

Qualification Details

Exam Board: AQA
Qualification Title: Graphic Communication
Qualification Specification Code: 8203
Qualification Webpage: Click here to visit the AQA webpage for the specification.

Why should I study this course?

This creative design GCSE course, gives students the freedom to immerse in the wider world of Design - in ways that will inspire and bring out the best in all our students. The course equips students with the skills to continue the subject with confidence at AS, A Level and beyond. The course allows for progression from KS3, whilst providing a strong foundation for further study at degree level and various vocational pathways.

What knowledge and/or skills will I need?

Students must demonstrate they have a genuine passion for Graphic Design with a creative mind that thrives on problem solving and designing outcomes for a specific audience. Our schemes of work for Year 10 begin to encourage students to think about a target market. It is essential that they enjoy working in a wide variety of materials with the ability to translate their ideas into a digital outcome. A good working knowledge of Adobe Creative suite is desirable – but not essential.

What will I study in this qualification?

How will I be assessed?

The exams and non-exam assessment will be measured on how students have achieved the following Assessment Objectives:

AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.
AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.
AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.
AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

Marks for both Portfolio and Externally Set Assignment are marked out of 96 marks.

Possible Career Paths

The skills learnt throughout the course will equip students for future creative career paths, such as: Graphic designer, Architect, Illustrator, Animator, Print designer, Interior designer or Retail designer are a few to mention. A GCSE in Graphic Design will also provide a sound background for other less obvious careers where the ability to think differently and creatively gives an individual the edge on the competition. Self-expression is actively encouraged throughout students’ artwork; the written work and discussion are all encouraged and important in the development of knowledge and understanding about the wider world of Design. These are valuable tools for all aspects of future life. The Graphic Design Department is committed to providing a diverse, innovative course, which will provide a rewarding and exciting element to student’s future creative pathways.


This course is designed to follow the GCSE Art & Design courses offered in Graphics, Textiles, Fine Art and Three Dimensional Design. It is recommended that one of these courses has been successfully completed at GCSE Level. Students will develop artistic and practical abilities through knowledge, understanding, skills and application for designing graphic outcomes. Graphic Communication encompasses a variety of design disciplines including Art, Photography, Typography and Media such as the Adobe suite, including Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, as well as animation and CAD/Web design. These elements are firmly rooted into producing highly original and vibrant graphic outcomes, often to a live design brief. This course contains a personal investigation, usually identified in conjunction with a business or commercial client. Students work closely with their client to deliver appropriate, marketable graphic outcomes. A written prose is also required of between 1000 and 3000 words, based around individual investigations, which demonstrates the student’s ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning from an initial brief to a final realisation. There is also an externally set practical assignment including a development period preceding a supervised examination.

KS5 Intent Statement

Qualification Details

Exam Board: AQA
Qualification Title: Graphic Communication
Qualification Specification Code: 7203
Qualification Webpage: Click here to visit the AQA webpage for the specification.

Entry Requirements

Standard Sixth Form entry requirement

What will I study in this qualification?

Possible Career Paths

Who should I speak to if I need further information?

Mrs Bennett

    Owned by: MDS | Last Published: 20/09/2019 09:53:36 | Next Update: N/A