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History of Art A level

(45 Posts)
houselikeashed Fri 19-Jun-20 20:37:37

Just had this recommended as an A level subject to consider for DD. I've read the course syllabus, and am not sure how to do with actual 'art' it is. DD is into Drama, Photography, and Psychology (in that preference order).
She is bright, and headteacher suggested a more academic option rather than photography.
Has anyone had a dc take History of Art? How did they find it? Boring? Essay based? Creative?
Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Devlesko Fri 19-Jun-20 20:46:47

I've never seen this offered tbh, is it a private school?
I know that Psychology is very demanding as I used to cover for another teacher, I taught Sociology.
I also know that Drama can be quite academic, depending on the board i.e essay based.
I think with Photography they would be a good mix, and she should take what she wants.
Sounds like the head only values academic subjects.

Unescorted Fri 19-Jun-20 20:53:12

What does your DD think - she is the one having to study it. If it doesn't interest her then why make / influence her do it. We are living in an increasingly visual world - and the innovative creative skills cannot be easily replicated by a computer algorithm. I would give her my blessing to do photography if that is were her passion lies.

lanthanum Fri 19-Jun-20 21:01:04

Does she have any idea what she wants to do afterwards? That's an interesting collection of subjects, but it's not clear what it leads to.

The head is probably concerned that if she might want to go to university, her subjects do not particularly support each other, and maybe history of art would show more academic skills than photography.

Having said that, I had a very bright friend who wanted to do a foundation art course after her A-levels. Her parents pushed her into a History of Art degree because they thought she should do something more academic, and she ended up dropping out of it because it wasn't what she was actually interested in.

PettsWoodParadise Fri 19-Jun-20 21:56:42

DD is thinking of doing this so I am watching with interest. She is currently at a state school but an independent sixth form offers this A level and requires four A levels and this seem to appeal to DD on top of some more traditional A levels.

Ellmau Fri 19-Jun-20 22:06:03

It's an academic subject rather than a creative one.

But unless she plans to pursue a creative subject at degree level, I really wouldn't suggest doing two at A level - it will limit her options.

Pipandmum Fri 19-Jun-20 22:11:38

It's an academic subject- she doesn't do any art, but studies it. Lots of essays. As others have pointed out it depends what she is thinking of doing afterwards.
My own daughter is leaning towards art, history and psychology. She wants to go into the creative arts but as still just 15 is taking history (she loves the subject and writing essays) and psychology which will keep her options open.
Which just emphasizes why I hate this system. She loves science and it would be great if she could just continue a broad range like her GCSEs for another couple years until she has a better idea of the direction she would like to go in. Works in other countries.

Fennelandlovage Fri 19-Jun-20 22:29:15

I did history of art long ago paired with art and another essay subject. As others have said it might affect uni offers. I was offered AAA Offers for unis that normally offer ABB-BBB because my third was art. I landed up studying something totally different at an RG uni but it was a convoluted path. I would look at uni courses she might be interested in and see what they are looking for and work backwards. FWIW I loved art history - it was the best thing I ever studied at school but I was interested so not sure it would be a good fit for someone not interested.

houselikeashed Sat 20-Jun-20 00:11:26

Thanks all.
So, long term, she would like to go to Drama School and become an actress. From what I've researched, no particular A levels are required for this, but life experience would be valuable.
Dd is autistic, so I need to make sure she knows she is signing up for, and that she can continue along the path she wants.
As a plan B, she would like to work with children with mental health issues. (She was helped hugely by one particular worker, and she'd like to help others).
Sadly she's going to have to move schools from her lovely private boarding school, back into the state system for A levels, which will probably result in school refusal and erratic attendance.

OP’s posts: |
My0My Sat 20-Jun-20 01:09:54

Actually acting experience and the prep of audition pieces is what she needs. Choose a school with ace drama or it will be very difficult to get into a drama school. My DDs went to a school that had a brilliant drama dept and mostly girls got top grades in the exams. You also would be wise to find a Saturday drama club. She will need experience of acting in something if the school isn’t great at preparing for drama school. Is she up for it? History of Art won’t make any difference to acting. She might as well do what she wants.

For nursing, biology is useful, so you need to research her career choices a bit more as they are rather diverse. I would think her current choices of A level would not be suitable for nursing. Biology and Psychology would be though.

crazycrofter Sat 20-Jun-20 08:34:00

Psychology on its own would be fine if she wants to go into mental health nursing. Dd is starting year 12 in Sept and doing Psychology, History and RS. Mental health nursing is a possible option for her.

helpmum2003 Sat 20-Jun-20 08:45:25

It's good that she has career options in mind:
1)as a PP said getting into acting conservatoire/college depends on audition only so A levels are theoretical to a degree. Drama A level would be useful but not essential. If it's a good Drama dept well worth taking. Out of school supplementation very important. Are there any local amateur dramatics that put on big shows?
2) In view of the above I would encourage biology in addition to psychology for Plan B. If she ended up wanting to do a psychology or nursing degree she would be a stronger candidate for it.
3) You mention she has autism. Would she cope with working in that area? I know autistic people vary so widely with their condition.

Good luck.

helpmum2003 Sat 20-Jun-20 08:49:25

Just going back to the Drama a club/group that offers LAMDA exams would be worth looking at.
Also, next summer she would benefit from attending a summer school at one of the acting colleges, it gives a good idea about standards involved etc. It would be worth looking at their websites to get general application information.

Fifthtimelucky Sat 20-Jun-20 11:12:23

How about English as an alternative to history of art? Goes well with, and would reinforce, her drama studies?

But I'd go for history of art over photography.

houselikeashed Sat 20-Jun-20 11:22:49

Thanks all. Some useful advice .
Drama is very much her THING. Always has been. She does LAMDA exams, (prepping for grade 7) and goes to a Saturday theatre group since she was 6. We know a little about the industry as we (used to, prior co-vid) work in theatre, but on the music side of things.
She does school public speaking comps, plays, and musicals.
As we know the industry, we are keen to make sure she has an ok back up of decent exams to access any courses she may want to do in the future. She will not even consider doing any science A level (even though she was recommended for Chemistry and biology) as she just doesn't enjoy them.
It's going to take a long time to sort her A level choices out, as well as manage the school change (heartbreaking). Actually, if she agrees to Drama and psychology, the 3 option may be determined by what her new school offers. May not be photog or History of Art on offer.

OP’s posts: |
houselikeashed Sat 20-Jun-20 11:23:42

Does anyone want to sponsor my dd through two years of boarding school?!! grin grin

OP’s posts: |
houselikeashed Sat 20-Jun-20 11:30:09

fithtimelucky Do you mean Eng lit? She's not doing that for GCSE, so that option is out. We tried to encourage her to take it, but was advised by school not to, on account for the amount of essays involved.

OP’s posts: |
TheMotherofAllDilemmas Sat 20-Jun-20 11:51:34

History of Art is just like history, but instead of writing about events you write about the context or stuff that may have influenced the artist. It doesn’t matter how creative she is, she needs to enjoy reading, writing and history or she is going to hate history of art.

When it comes to A levels, it is not only about indulging in the subjects you love. Focusing on what you are good at and getting the right combination of subjects for what you want to do at university/after a levels is key.

Some school career advisors are great at suggesting the right combination of subjects to students, some other are not. Consider checking the usual requirements of universities for the degrees she may want to study before deciding what A levels to take.

LIZS Sat 20-Jun-20 11:59:22

It is about the theory, context and development of art. Rarely offered though and may not be a robust enough subject for some unis without some thing like English or History. Very unusual not to take Eng Lit at gcse and that is normally viewed as supporting Drama, both at gcse and A level which also include study of text and essay writing.

TheMotherofAllDilemmas Sat 20-Jun-20 12:06:10

We tried to encourage her to take it, but was advised by school not to, on account for the amount of essays involved

Steer clear, well clear, off history of art. Essays are an essential element of history of art study.

titchy Sat 20-Jun-20 12:23:33

If she's going back into the state system then forget HoA - it just won't be offered. I'm surprised at no Lit at GCSE - that seems rather an odd subject to drop confused Combined Lang/Lit A level might work though. Or maybe a BTEC in performing arts? The extended diploma (3 A level equivalent) might be putting all eggs into one basket, but the two A level equivalent plus Psychology A level might be possible. Does she have offers for state sixth form? What's offered?

LIZS Sat 20-Jun-20 12:37:14

Agree you might want to consider non A level options. A level Drama in includes a significant essay writing element. A sixth form college or fe college may give her more flexibility.

houselikeashed Sat 20-Jun-20 12:42:43

We're about to start looking around places as soon as we can. We have to be realistic that she may well return to school refusing.
Our options that I will be looking around will be….
-Nearby comp, looks like strong drama, bus from outside our door. Offers Drama and Psychology.
-Further away College - offers all subjects we're looking at, 7am bus could be an issue.
-Nearby theatre offering Extended BTEC diploma.
We may be able to fund 1 subject privately with a tutor.

OP’s posts: |
houselikeashed Sat 20-Jun-20 12:47:52

Oh, forgot to add - dd preferences of the above places are
1 - Theatre Btec
2 - nearby comp
3 - 7am bus to college.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 20-Jun-20 12:54:54

Nearby theatre then surely? The ext dip will still get her to uni if the conservatoire option doesn't work out. Psychology studied in her own time would boost chances of nursing. Or she could look into drama therapy as a career option.

I'm assuming this is for next year, as you're leaving it pretty late for this September?

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