The development of skills associated with making and creating is a crucial part of our subject, and is often what makes it so enjoyable for our students. There is a special joy to be found in the processes of experimentation and discovery when learning about the exciting potential of artistic media and techniques. Pablo Picasso famously said that ‘every child is an artist…’, and we strive to enable our children to retain their capacity for creativity and open mindedness.
The creative industries are a vital part of our country’s economy; the UK has a reputation for innovation in this area and a solid foundation of learning in art & design can underpin success in a range of careers in the arts, design, engineering and media industries.
Art is a rigorous subject that has the power to challenge thinking and encourage risk taking and originality. It enables young people to make a personal response to the world around them, and can address thought-provoking issues such as identity, society, and communication.
The emphasis at Key Stage 3 is on the development of skills within the subject. Students work through a series of projects that enable them to develop understanding of a variety of techniques and processes, whilst understanding how they can learn from the work of others. We explore the work of artists and designers from a wide variety of contexts, and students are supported in the development of their critical and analytical skills. Lesson work is supported by homework, which present opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom with self-directed and in-depth explorations of a theme.
Students have one art lesson a week. We aim to give every student the widest possible experience of media, including drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and mixed-media. In year 9, the subject is organised as a carousel, enabling all students to have the opportunity to spend time in the Photography Department for part of the year.
- GCSE Art & Design
Those students who choose to study the subject at GCSE will continue to develop a wide range of skills and understanding in different 2D and 3D artistic media. They will be encouraged and supported in the development of their own personal visual language as they progress through the course, and will be expected to work with increasing independence.
Students have five hours of lessons a fortnight. From the beginning of Year 10, all work produced may be submitted as part of a portfolio of work, which is assessed as component 1 of the GCSE (60% of final grade). Students work on two separate projects: the teacher sets a theme and students explore this by producing preparatory work in a sketchbook. Intentions are realised through the creation of several finished pieces of work, which may take any number of 2D or 3D forms, for example a painting, a series of photographs, a ceramic vessel, sculpture, a lino-print on fabric or an installation piece.
Component 2 of the GCSE is a separate project with a choice of themes set by the exam board. Students follow what would by then be a familiar process of developing ideas, experimenting with media, and critically analysing the work of artists and designers, before developing and realising their own responses to the theme. At the end of this period in Year 11, students must work independently to create their final piece during 10 hours of controlled time, spread over a number of days.
Both components are assessed using four equally weighted GCSE assessment objectives. These support a broad approach to the subject, and reward creativity and exploration, high levels of skill and intellectual rigour. Teachers use the assessment objectives to monitor progress throughout the course, to ensure that all students know what they need to do to improve.
Lesson work is supported by homework tasks, which are set every fortnight at the start of Year 10; as students develop confidence and independence, the expectation is that this additional work becomes increasingly self-managed. All art students have access to the art studios and other facilities during lunchtimes and after school, when teachers are on hand to support their work.
The department operates a system of open access to the art studios, enabling students to use our facilities and materials outside of lesson time. At every stage they receive support and guidance appropriate to their ability and levels of confidence.
Key stage 3 students are welcome to join Art Club which runs after school once a week, to support experimentation and personal artistic development. Exam groups are also encouraged to make regular use of the facilities.
The Art and Photography department organises regular educational visits for students to experience artworks first hand. These opportunities are vital; they enrich learning in our subject, and can often be the springboard to understanding and inspiration for our students.