GCSE and A level Art & Design courses for young people (12+) and adults

Understanding advanced and higher level Art & Design, suitable for aspiring GCSE and A Level Art and Design students

Our students consistently achieve the highest results (A* to B) and fulfil the requirements in advanced studies for entrance into further education.

Art at the old school
photograph of Joel Bailey

Joel Bailey

Led by Joel Bailey who is a specialist creative educator, teacher and practicing artist, with 27 years experience. Joel graduated from the University of Creative Arts and undertook post graduate studies at Brunel University then gained his Master of Arts degree at Canterbury Christchurch. Joel has a long and secure track record in delivering GCSE, AS and A level Art & Design and Fine Art courses accredited by Edexcel.


Our GCSE Art & Design students are following the exam criteria as set by Pearson Edexcel.

GCSE Art & Design (9-1) is a 100% taught course (unit 1) with an externally set assignment in yr 2 (Unit 2).

The four assessment objectives are:

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

The students undertake their studies in 5 broad themes:
  • Mark making, drawing and visual language.
  • Abstractions and composition.
  • 3D experimentation.
  • Exploring textiles or print making of repeat design techniques.
  • Externally set assignment period of sustained focus - 10hrs

All teaching and learning is directed by Joel Bailey, marking undertaken internally and moderated externally by Pearson Edexcel.

There is no Art & Design workbook for this course. Art departments and centres develop their course structure focused on the skills and needs of their students.

Because of the high standard achieved at The Old School external candidates are no longer accepted unless they are supported and guided by our art teachers.

For further information please take a look at the attached specification.



This year we are running workshops for serious artists to gain an insight into the requirements for advanced study in art & design. The aim of the workshops is to enhance the drawing and creative skills of GCSE and A Level art and design students. Our workshops help students to have confidence in their own feelings, build on existing aspirations and identify and solve problems and encourage their own personal creativity. Joel will suggest ways in which students might develop ideas and help them focus on the technical skills required to achieve them.

We encourage students to work in all mediums: watercolour, oil paint, acrylics, soft pastels, charcoal, graphite etc. We welcome all levels of ability: professional artists, experienced amateurs and complete beginners.

Our aim

is to provide a monthly full day, where the students come to the school to complete their Art & Design portfolios and take guidance and teaching from Joel, in order for them to prepare to enter into the GCSE or A level Art & Design examinations.

We are increasingly contacted by families whose children attend the French education system but who feel that their children would excel in the Arts if they could be taught the subject in addition to their regular school studies. Fitting this round the weekly schedule of any Collegien or Lyceen is difficult which is why we have come up with the monthly solution.

photo of Joel in Art Class


The focussed teaching days are as follows:

23rd September 2023
14th October 2023
18th November 2023
9th December 2023

20th January 2024
10th February 2024
23rd March 2024
6th April 2024
4th May 2024
8th June 2024


Year 1 from September to June
Monthly intensive workshop Saturday 10-3 (remote or on site)
15 minutes per week assignment setting and updates (remote)
1 week intensive on site workshop

€500 per year payable over 10 months, €50 per month plus materials, paper, pastels, inks etc

Year 2 from September to June
Monthly intensive workshop Saturday 10-3 (remotely or on site)
15 minutes per week assignment setting and updates (remote)

€500 per year payable over 10 months, €50 per month plus materials, paper, pastels, inks etc

Exam entry fees:
2 full days at our centre for the controlled assessment (exam) & GCSE Art & Design 1AD0 exam entry €300.
For GCE A level, please note that the examination entry fees total €600.

Annual Art Exhibition and moderation. Students do not have to be present

We make the entries in February, however the exam title is published in January and Joel will ask the student to start to think about their ideas and responses for the exam.

The 50 taught hours, indicated above, are an estimation of the time needed for an external student to produce enough quality work, in preparation for the examination. We reserve the right to recommend additional workshops if we feel the student is not ready to be entered for this examination.

GCSE and A level Art & Design examinations will take place on 28th and 29th April 2020 at The Old School. Allocated slot - 9am to 5pm, times tbc.

Students can join part way through the year but must fulfil a minimum of one year study for GCSE Art & Design. GCSE Art & Design is normally a two year course, however, a number of students have completed the course in one year with intensive guidance.

The celebration of the course and presentation of art work for moderation takes place towards the end of May or beginning of June 2024. Date TBC.

All students will have access to Joel for development and teaching by phone or Skype and will have the opportunity to attend the focussed GCSE and A level workshops once a month.



47410 St Colomb de Lauzun
05 53 40 60 54

The Old School : College - Lycée
Etablissement d’enseignement secondaire privé hors contrat RNE 0471040A

website by: Abbey Hill Studios