At Sydenham High we believe that when visually responding to the world around us, drawing provides the strongest foundation. Fine Art GCSE enables pupils to gain both confidence and competence with a range of practical techniques building on this primary skill. Pupils will experience an exciting and challenging course where they will explore and experiment with drawing and painting, sculpture, digital photography, printmaking (both relief and intaglio), and mixed media including some textiles processes. We explore and embrace the work of both historical and contemporary artists and designers, seeking inspiration and ideas to inform our practice.

Course content

Each coursework project lasts for approximately two terms.  In the first project, we explore the creative potential for natural forms to inspire abstract pieces of work. Pupils will undertake a range of experimental drawing techniques and learn printmaking, sculpture and painting techniques.  The second project explores expressive portraiture. In this project, pupils will further refine their practical skills and work more to their individual strengths with increasing independence.

Year 10Year 11
AutumnNatural StructuresMock Exam
Spring Natural StructuresExternally Set Assignment Preparation
SummerExpressive Portraiture + Mock ExamExternal Exam


  • Personal portfolio – 2 projects (each lasting approximately 1.5 terms)  – 60% of final GCSE grade
  • Externally Set Assignment (theme set by the exam board) – preparation for approximately 8 school weeks, followed by a 2 day exam to produce a final piece of work (40% of final GCSE grade)


Pupils have the opportunity to attend:

  • trips to galleries and museums to provide resources and inspiration for coursework
  • after school clubs and lunchtime sessions to supplement classwork and homework

Next steps

GCSE Art is a challenging and inspiring course, which helps pupils develop independence and motivation.  Our Fine Art course allows pupils to gain the broadest range of visual skills, which are applicable in many areas of further study.  Pupils considering careers in any area of design (fashion and textile design, product design, film and theatre, graphics and illustration, architecture and interiors), or the arts (fine art practice, contemporary crafts, gallery and museum work), would find this course most valuable.

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