Art History A level scrapped: AHiS Response


Paul Nash, We are Making a New World. 1918. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1146) 

Despite widespread approval of the new, exciting global syllabus for AS and A level Art History, the AQA examination board has dropped this unique, intellectually challenging programme. AQA were the only body to offer History of Art A level.

The course was designed to develop skills of visual analysis, research and communication as well as build on empathy, tolerance and mutual respect for world cultures at a time when it is most needed.  

The A-level had already been launched in the summer to unanimous support from teachers, students and parents.

The decision by AQA to axe the Art History A-level was taken on economic grounds as they say it is “challenging to mark and award because of the specialist nature of the topics" and also cite "difficulties in recruiting sufficient experienced examiners".

Galleries have never had more visitors, young people have never been more curious to access and explore the world of visual culture, and it has never been more accessible to them through new technologies.

How can we, as a country that values our contemporary and historic culture, now deny young people access to their multiple histories?

Art History teachers recently set up Art History in Schools CIO precisely to alleviate this problem in a time of austerity by training teachers to both teach and mark the new syllabus. We are now campaigning to save the A level. If you would like to support cultural education for all, rather than a tiny minority who might be able to study the Pre-U syllabus, please support us.