Apprentice of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (AFA)

Last updated
Last verified
Coverage

Graded A* – E. Awarded by The Writers’ Examination Board, Bristol Grammar School, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SR.

Coverage:

  • Bristol Grammar School, BS8 1SR
  • Kingswood School, Bath, BA1 5RG
  • Red Maids High School, Bristol, BS9 3AW
  • Marlborough College, Marlborough, SN8 1PA
  • Clevedon School, Clevedon, BS21 6AH
  • Wellington School, Wellington, TA21 8NT
  • Enfield County School, Enfield, EN2 6QG
  • Badminton School, Bristol, BS9 3BA
Purpose

The AFA programme is taught in schools and colleges to provide a focused and meaningful grounding for students in creative writing as they prepare for the next stage of their education, including undergraduate study at university. The programme is designed:

  • to enable learners to read, study, and write a range of texts, defined in the syllabus as different forms
  • to enable learners to write regularly and often, exploring a range of forms and genres, and developing increasingly skilful technical control
  • to enable learners to read widely and perceptively in a way that informs and shapes their own writing
  • to share their own writing, and their opinions of the writing of others, with their peers, learning to give and receive constructive criticism and developing their editorial skills

The AFA programme is designed to equip students with the relevant knowledge and skills for progression to the study of creative writing at undergraduate level.

Education context

The AFA is a linear programme of study, and it will be graded A* – E to align with the new, linear GCE qualifications offered nationally. First teaching began in September 2017, and the first award of the AFA will be in 2019.

A representative from each participating centre (see above section for 'coverage'), together with the Head of English at Bristol Grammar School, and the two examiners, comprise the Writers’ Examination Board, the body awarding the qualification.

The specification design and development is overseen by the Head of English at Bristol Grammar School, and the course is reviewed annually by the Writers’ Examination Board. View the specification, specimen examination materials, exemplar scripts, and other information about the programme: www.writersexaminationboard.com

Students’ AFA work for the coursework portfolio (WRITE-1) is internally marked and moderated by participating centres, and then moderated by the Head of English at Bristol Grammar School. Students’ work for each of the two examined units (WRITE-2 and WRITE-3) is marked by an examiner, both of whom are currently examiners of the AQA AS/A2 in Creative Writing.

The Writers’ Examination Board will meet annually to finalise the award of the AFA, following reports from the Coursework Portfolio Moderator and the two examiners.

Final results and grade boundaries are considered by the Writers’ Examination Board. The role of the Board is:

  • to oversee the assessment of students taking the AFA programme, in line with Bristol Grammar School’s policy and procedures and informed by AQA’s best practice, the Board currently offering AS/A2 Creative Writing
  • to apply special consideration, where necessary, in line with guidance from JCQ
  • to confirm grades, grade boundaries, and to determine grade awards
  • to ensure robust development of the AFA specification
Awarding providers
  • Bristol Grammar School
Structure

The AFA is a single award, graded A* – E. The AFA is currently available in only one subject area: creative writing.

Any student at a participating centre may take the AFA in Creative Writing alongside their other qualifications.

The course is linear and is made up of three components:

  • a coursework portfolio (WRITE-1) worth 60%
  • a two hour examination (WRITE-2) worth 15%
  • a three hour examination (WRITE-3) worth 25%

Coursework is completed during the course of the programme of study, typically two years. The final examinations are taken during an examination season at the end of the programme of study.

Subject areas

Creative writing.

Levels

The full range of AFA grades (A* – E) is intended to mirror the equivalent range among GCE level qualifications.

Grading

The AFA is graded A*, A, B, C, D, E. Attainment insufficient to lead to the award of a certificate is reported as Unclassified (U), with final oversight by the Writers’ Examination Board.

Assessment
  • The AFA uses two single tier examination papers covering all grades
  • The AFA is awarded using a mixture of internal and external assessment
  • 60% of the course will be delivered via an internally assessed and externally moderated coursework portfolio, with the final 40% being assessed through two examinations. This will be reviewed annually
  • The assessment arrangements mean that all students will complete their AFA in Creative Writing by May each year

Procedures are in place to handle enquiries about results (EARs) and appeals against EAR outcomes.

  • These procedures are aligned with those of JCQ, wherever practicable
  • Procedures are in place to provide access arrangements for students taking the AFA. These procedures are based on current JCQ access arrangements
  • Special consideration procedures are in place and these are based on current JCQ guidance
  • A certificate is awarded to all students who successfully complete all the components of the AFA programme
Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

60% of the course is made up of an internally assessed and externally moderated coursework portfolio.

Two examinations make up the remaining 40%:

  • WRITE-2: Commissioned Writing = 15%
  • WRITE-3: Responsive Writing = 25%.

This will be reviewed annually.

Resit arrangements

No resits of units are permitted.

In exceptional circumstances, component results for the coursework portfolio can be carried forward from one examination series to another.

Programme size

The AFA programme is aligned in size to GCE level qualifications in similar subjects, which is 360 guided learning hours over the two-year duration of the course. However, these figures are for guidance only, and the GLH available may vary according to local curricular practice among participating, centres and the learners’ prior experience of writing. In creative writing, the amount of independent reading and writing undertaken by learners may well make a significant difference to levels of achievement. It may also enable the programme to run successfully even in centres where there are fewer than 360 guided learning hours available.

Key issues for UK HE admissions

Any student at a participating centre may take the AFA in Creative Writing alongside their other qualifications.

The awarding of grades A* – E will be comparable to the awarding of those grades in similar GCE level qualifications, including the AS/A2 in Creative Writing awarded by AQA.

The AFA is designed to equip students with the ability to:

  • write regularly and often, exploring a range of forms and genres, and developing increasingly skilful technical control
  • read widely and perceptively in a way that informs and shapes their own writing
  • share their own writing, and their opinions of the writing of others, with their peers, learning to give and receive constructive criticism, and developing their editorial skills

It also encourages and develops generic academic skills such as:

  • creativity
  • critical thinking
  • enquiry
  • independent learning
  • international cultural awareness
  • communication
Timing of assessments and results

First examinations of the AFA will be in May 2019.

Results will be available in the latter part of August.

Qualification dates notes

The AFA is available for first teaching from September 2017, and is current in eight centres.

Certification information

Grade descriptions and total entries will be published by The Writers’ Examination Board on their website.

Progression information

The awarding of grades A* – E will be comparable to the awarding of those grades in similar GCE level qualifications.

The AFA in Creative Writing has been constructed to facilitate progression in writing from the English curriculums provided at KS4, and towards undergraduate-level creative writing programmes at university. It emphasises exploration, discipline, specialisation, creativity, and craft. The progression to the requirements of undergraduate-level programmes in creative writing and English is natural, with the Writers’ Examination Board being in regular liaison with higher education centres specialising in creative writing, and national bodies concerned with English teaching, such as NATE and NAWE.

Further information

For further details, see:

www.writersexaminationboard.com/