The GCSE Art and Design Unendorsed course provides students with a wide range of creative, exciting and stimulating opportunities to explore their interests in ways that are both personally relevant and developmental in nature. Students explore drawing for different purposes and needs through three main sketchbook projects and are introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of media, techniques and processes.

The course enables students to develop their ability to actively engage in the processes of Art and Design – to build creative skills through learning and doing, to develop imaginative and intuitive ways of working and develop knowledge and understanding of media, materials and technologies in historical and contemporary contexts, societies and cultures.

Assessment is by Unit 1: Portfolio of Work (Controlled Assessment) 60 per cent and Unit 2: Externally Set Task 40 per cent.

It is a strong foundation for further progression to Art and Design related courses such as A-level Art and Design and enhanced vocational and career pathways. We are passionate about preparing our GCSE pupils for success at A-Level and beyond.


KS4 GCSE Specification

Art students are required to develop knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to their chosen endorsement through integrated practical, critical and theoretical study that encourages direct engagement with original works and practice. Pupils may work with both traditional and new media.

Art based study can be defined as practice that usually involves the development of personal work and lines of enquiry determined by the need to explore an idea, convey an experience or respond to a theme or issue. Craft based study can be defined as practice that usually involves making activities that draw upon knowledge of tools, materials and process and associated intellectual, creative and practical skills. Design based study can be defined as practice that usually involves developing a response to a specific need, brief or starting point, taking account of established requirements, constraints and/or parameters.

At NMS we run the AQA GCSE Unendorsed Art Course. This is a broad course exploring practical and critical/contextual work through a range of 2D and/or 3D processes and new media and technologies.


Pupils will be set homework every two weeks to allow for the amount of time that must be spent on each homework task in order to produce a high quality result using the skills and techniques taught in lessons. Homework is differentiated and each pupil sketchbook contains detailed information on this.

GCSE Art students are expected to stay up to date and develop their own ideas independently in their sketchbooks through use of photography or alternative materials. The art department are happy to support each pupil at lunch and after school in order to stay up to date and surpass their GCSE target level.


The art department is open to GCSE art students Monday to Wednesday lunchtimes and after school on a Wednesday and Thursday or by arrangement.

Bespoke workshops are run throughout the year and there is a visit to Chatsworth ‘Beyond Limits’ Sculpture Exhibition.