Head of History of Art, Sarah Phillips has been instrumental in saving the History of Art A level from extinction after AQA decided that the course was no longer financially viable. In a written announcement, the Schools Minister Nick Gibb confirmed that the exam board Pearson would offer the qualification from September 2017. Godalming College is one of the biggest state providers of the History of Art A level in the country with more than 30 students each year completing the qualification, many of whom continuing their studies at degree level.
Sarah, who was asked by AQA to write the specification for the new linear A level was outraged when AQA decided to withdraw the qualification and felt that the true value of the subject was not fully recognised. Since then she has been involved in a campaign with notable figures from the arts world which culminated in a debate at the Courtauld Institute on Friday 30th November. In the debate Sarah argued that it gave her students a realistic insight into the culture around them with the advantage of being able to visualise historical events, places and people.
‘History of Art’ Sarah says ‘is very relevant to young people today. They can enjoy unprejudiced intellectual enquiry and learn to respect difference and individuality. It is the study of humanity, politics, literature, science and society and I am delighted that it has been saved in the nick of time.’
Pearson formerly known as Edexcel have announced that they added the History of Art A level to their portfolio for teaching in 2017. Artists Anish Kapoor, Jeremy Deller and Cornelia Parker, the Tate Gallery’s Nicholas Serota, The National Gallery’s Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Charles Saumarex Smith of the Royal Academy of the Arts all welcomed the news which was announced by schools standards minister Nick Gibb in a written ministerial statement. Debate at the Courtauld institute
Photographs by Katrina Campbell