‘No society can afford to ignore the fact that the capacity for behaving artistically is inherent in every

human being and cannot be neglected without detriment to the individual and to society as a whole’

Rudolf Arnheim

Click here for Art & Design curriculum outline


Why do we study Art?

Art offers unique opportunities for students to reveal their potential, express their ideas, develop their imaginations, and investigate a wide range of images and artefacts. The individual engaged in an art activity, whether it is expressive, imaginative, productive, reflective, or critical is developing knowledge: about themselves, others, culture, society, and about the interaction of these with ideas, processes, techniques and media. As such it is an invaluable part of the education of young people. It develops a visual language that complements other languages such as those used in mathematical, scientific, literary and factually based subjects. It encourages personal expression, imagination, sensitivity, conceptual thinking, and powers of observation, analytical abilities and practical-orientated attitudes. It is especially concerned with mental processes involved in visual experience and aesthetic experience and develops a range of skills and concepts that can be used throughout life. This fully justifies our commitment to art education, because artistically minded people actually see (and so perceive and understand) more than artistically uneducated. Art also offers opportunities for students to develop self-knowledge, skills in evaluating themselves, in target-setting, in understanding their role and place within cultural forms, in understanding themselves as learners, such as learning how to learn. These skills are crucial to human development.

Art & Design programme of study at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

Our Key Stage 3 programme of study has been designed with the National Curriculum for Art & Design at its centre. Students are taught how to experiment, invent and create their own art, craft and design through practical and engaging lessons. Our broad curriculum covers a wide range of techniques, processes and specialisms that challenge and inspire students to take risks, solve problems and express their own ideas, views and emotions.  The curriculum is delivered through a series of engaging and diverse Art & Design projects that provide students with the opportunity to experience working in both 3 Dimensional  and 2 Dimensional techniques, developing their skills and understanding of drawing, painting, construction and modelling techniques and processes.

As well as developing student’s practical skills the curriculum also teaches students about the importance of Art & Design  in society and the significance of its role in our history.  In Year 9, we also introduce students to the many careers and opportunities the Art & Design Industry has to offer, through an extended careers based project that challenges students to complete a range of practical design 

In Year 7, the order of study is as follows:

Autumn Term – ‘The Formal Elements’

Spring Term – ‘Starry Night and Messy Monsters’

Summer Term – ‘Drawing with Scissors’

In Year 8, the order of study is as follows:

Autumn Term – ‘Beautiful Bugs & All Is Not Lost’

Spring Term – ‘ Movements’

Summer Term – ‘Keith Haring Project’

In Year 9, the order of study is as follows:

Autumn Term – ‘Careers in Art & Design’

Spring Term – ‘GCSE Art Taster Project – The Human Form’

Summer Term – ‘Confectionery’

During the Spring term of Year 9, students will be introduced to the structure of GCSE Fine Art & Photography through a Taster Project in order to help them make an informed choice when they complete their options. 

Art & Design programme of study at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

Students begin more in-depth studying for their GCSE in Fine Art in Year 10. This enables students to build on the knowledge and skills they developed at KS3. Students will revisit techniques, materials and processes in order to master them, while also being introduced to new materials such as acrylic paint and printmaking. Assessment is based on 60% coursework and 40% external exam and is based on the AQA GCSE art specification. The coursework portfolio is made up of a selection of the work students complete throughout the 2 extended projects over the course of Year 10 & 11, while the external exam unit is based around students’ individual responses to a set exam paper released in the January of Year 11 and culminates in a 10 hour practical exam. Students are assessed for both components on the following 4 assessment objectives:

AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.

AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.

AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.

AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

In Year 10, the order of study is as follows:

Component 1 Coursework Portfolio

Autumn Term – Storm

Spring & Summer Term – Identity

In Year 11, the order of study is as follows:

Component 1 Coursework Portfolio

Autumn Term – Identity continued

Spring & Summer Term – Component 2 External Exam Unit

How can parents and guardians support at home?

As well as monitoring homework and encouraging students to attend any additional intervention and extra curricular sessions on offer, there are a range of ways in which parents and guardians can help to support their child with developing their Art & Design skills. 

In order for students to achieve their full potential in Art & Design it is important that they practise the skills and techniques they are introduced to in lessons in their own time in order to master them. Therefore, having a quiet space at home and some basic equipment such as drawing pencils, watercolours, pencil crayons etc (please see the link below for a full list of useful equipment to have at home) is a huge advantage for students studying Art & Design. As 60% of students’ final Art grade at GCSE is based on coursework, there is an expectation for students to be working on their coursework in between lessons at home. If you are not seeing your son/daughter completing any artwork at home, please quiz them about this.

If a suitable space or equipment is not available for students to work at home, for any reason, then students are very welcome to come and access the facilities and equipment in school during lunchtime. Please email [email protected] for details.

Parents and guardians can also support students by encouraging them to experience Art and Design first hand by providing opportunities for students to visit many of the galleries locally and nationally. The majority of these are free to the public and if a face to face visit is not possible, often galleries provide access to their collection online through virtual tours.

Useful websites for research, virtual tours and tutorials:








Extra-curricular opportunities

We pride ourselves on providing a range of excellent opportunities outside of the classroom.  As well as helping to consolidate students’ understanding of the artists and designers studies in the classroom, these experiences help to foster a love of Art & Design and an understanding of the opportunities the industry has to offer.  Across the academic year, such opportunities include:

  • Weekly lunchtime GCSE Art Intervention sessions
  • Visits to Whitley Court
  • KS3 Lunchtime Art Club
  • Whole school annual Art Exhibition
  • SHINE Homework Tasks and activities