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A-Level Art & Design: Outstanding Achievement with the Written Element – Personal Investigation

Course Code:


Many A-Level Art & Design students do not reach their potential grades due to a lack of intellectual rigour within their written element of component 1 – The Personal Investigation. This revised course tackles the lack of connection between written material and practical work. Through hands on workshops, we will explore how students must demonstrate; clarification of their investigation, substantiate decisions made in their practical work, be reflective and insightful and show analytical and critical understanding of contextual sources. We will show you good practice examples, unpick it, and explore ‘off the shelf’ teaching strategies which respond successfully through time saving and empowering approaches. This course will put you in the ‘shoes’ of your students, take you by the hand and provide you with essential skills and ideas for teaching and learning practice across both components for A-Level Art & Design.


  • Enable your students to meet the top mark bands in your title
  • Teach your students to use specialist vocabulary in relation to their practical work
  • Employ insightful annotation leading to in depth continuous prose
  • Utilise written work to inform the direction of practical work and make students’ outcomes ‘better’.
  • Reach the top mark band or A* by extended thinking within your students written and practical work
  • Take away essential strategies to build an effective curriculum structure for the two year course


Examples of good practice – Written Element – The Personal Investigation Basic, Better, Best – Workshop

10.00 – 11.15am
  •  Examine written element good practice
  • Unpick examples and identify national pitfalls
  • Essay vs Journal vs Evaluations

Morning Break

11.15 – 11.30am

Workshop – Constructing the successful written element – from annotation to continuous prose

11.30am – 12.30pm
  • Understanding Assessment Objective 1 & 3 in conjunction with one another
  • How to use annotation thoughtfully & meaningfully in a personal manner
  • Strategies for organising thoughts and expanding ideas with key word and concepts
  • Constructing continuous prose in a meaningful, insightful and personal manner


12.30 – 1.30pm

Component Two: Successfully Teaching the Externally Set Assignment

2.45 – 3.30pm
  • Understanding Assessment Objective 4
  • Workshop – How to form links between a variety of sources.
  • How to expand student thinking and improve grades with The Externally Set Assignments.
  • Planning – Key Learning Strategies for the Successful Art & Design student

Plenary – Hints and tips

3.30 – 3.45pm  


London | Tuesday 09 July 2024
London | Tuesday 09 July 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Mark Coombe is an experienced Art & Design teacher of 25 years who has taught all areas of Art & Design. He is renowned as a CPD leader, trainer and presenter across all disciplines of Art & Design. He is a practising artist, in particular in animal portraiture – livestock & rare breeds – and his current portfolio is supplying The National Trust in Norfolk, Suffolk and other regions.


  •  All teachers of A-Level Art & Design aiming to improve standards and student outcomes in both components
  • Teachers new to teaching A-Level Art & Design
  • Teachers with current student written work which is; too long, too short, literal and descriptive or an art history essay rather than hinting across all four assessment objectives.


  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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