Edexcel GCSE Art and Design (2016)

Here, you'll find everything you need to prepare for the changes to GCSE Art and Design from 2016 (first assessment 2018), including our accredited Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Art and Design specification, sample assessment materials and FAQs.

Supporting creativity, independence and progression

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We have worked hard to ensure that our Externally Set Assignment (ESA) is visually engaging and accessible for learners. Students develop their knowledge, understanding and skills throughout the GCSE course, and our ESA enables students to draw together, and refine, their knowledge and skills.

Our clear performance descriptors and narrower mark bands will help you and your students really understand the required standard and give you confidence marking student work. We will produce a comprehensive selection of visual exemplars covering both components and a wide range of student achievements. Our free teacher marking training will help you understand how to apply the newly designed assessment grid to your students’ work.

The flexibility and choice within our specification allows you to design a course of study that appeals to your students’ interests, and that draws on your department’s expertise and resources. You will find more areas of study within each endorsed title than in the legacy specification, giving you more choice when designing your course.

Our GCSE, AS and A level specifications have been developed together to ensure a consistent experience for you and your students, and to encourage smooth progression.

Students are required to actively engage in the creative process of art, craft and design in order to develop as effective and independent learners, and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.


Getting started guide
Download PDF | 1.8 MB
Qualification type:
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)
Level 1/2
Accreditation status:
Art & Design
Art, Craft and Design (1AD0)
Fine Art (1FA0)
Graphic Communication (1GC0)
Textile Design (1TE0)
Three-dimensional Design (1TD0)
Photography (1PY0)
UK and international
First teaching:
First assessment:


Edexcel GCSE Art and Design 2016 specification
Download PDF | 1.7 MB
What's changing

What's changing

These changes will apply to all awarding organisations’ specifications:

  • The structure of the qualification, and the component weightings, will remain unchanged: Component 1 Personal Portfolio will be worth 60% of the qualification and Component 2 Externally Set Assignment will be worth 40% of the qualification.
  • The 2016 GCSE will comprise 100% non-exam assessment, which means that all student work for both components is internally assessed by the centre and externally moderated by Edexcel, just as it is now.
  • All students will have to submit evidence of using drawing to support the development process in both Component 1 and Component 2. Note that students will have to use drawing skills for different needs and purposes appropriate to the context, and that technical mastery of drawing skills is not required unless relevant to the chosen area of study.
  • All students will have to use written annotation and appropriate specialist terminology to record their ideas, observations, insights and independent judgements.

Our approach

We’re working with the teaching community, higher education, learned societies and subject associations to design our new qualification for 2016. Our ambition is to retain what you like about the current GCSE Art and Design qualification, while updating it to satisfy the new content and assessment requirements.

We have also commissioned and conducted our own research projects, including national and international benchmarking, and trialling. This research is helping us to understand how to build on the strengths of the current GCSE and to identify the skills that students need to progress to further study in art and design and other subjects.

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Free launch events

Book your place on our free launch events!

We're holding free launch events this autumn to give teachers and heads of department the chance to find out more about our new GCSEs for first teaching in September 2016.

Book your free place



If you don’t have an Edexcel Online account, you can book by emailing us at trainingbookings@pearson.com

Launch events may be based on draft materials which are subject to change as we go through the accreditation process. We'll give you the most up-to-date information available in our training events, and will make the latest presentation available for you to download. 

Download the presentation

Can't get to one of our launch events? View the presentation here.

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Teaching support

We will support you in planning and implementing the new GCSE Art and Design qualification through:

  • Free launch events
  • Free planning, and teaching and learning resources
  • Free resources to help you understand the standard
  • Our Art and Design subject advisor service, led by Susan Young

Support for tutors

See what training courses are available

Visit the art and design teacher community

News and updates


See all news and updates
Your subject advisor
Susan Young, Art, Design and Media subject advisor
Susan YoungArt, Design and Media
UK: 0330 058 3836
Intl: +44 (0)330 058 3836
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