All members of the Art department aim to teach outstanding lessons that enrich and challenge all learners to think creatively about visual problem solving. We provide a harmonious, inviting and safe environment that encourages students of all ages and ability to feel confident artistically, and able to think creatively to develop ideas in a personalised and diverse way.
The department aims to expose each individual to the broadest spectrum of mediums; through different forms of drawing, printing and painting to ambitious 3 dimensional and mixed media approaches as well as digital manipulation through programs such as photoshop. All teachers nurture the best possible standard of behaviour from all learners. Lessons aim to be challenging, engaging and fun, with a combination of individual and collaborative activities that encourage risk taking, ownership and independence.
KS3: Learners are introduced a broad range of disciplines, both 2D and 3D. The fundamental skills of drawing are taught, as this form the basis of all projects. An understanding of the visual elements are embedded. Projects are linked to artists and art movements to give a contextual underpinning. From Year 7 pupils have the opportunity to work with acrylic paints, clay, printing inks, collage materials and photoshop amongst other mediums.
KS4: The GCSE course begins in a structured way, with tutor led activities that build confidence, knowledge and understanding. As the course progresses students have the opportunity to develop personalised ideas, based on a given theme. By the time the externally set assignment begins in Year 11 students are equipped with all the tools needed to develop a sophisticated and confident body of work that covers all 4 of the assessment objectives. Assessment sheets are written up for students to help understand and identify how they are performing and what they need to do to improve. Coursework accounts for 60% of the overall grade, and the ESA is 40%. Edexcel is the exam board we use.
KS5: The A Level course provides a platform for students to develop a highly personal and meaningful portfolio. Component 1 is the personal study, where students pick their own theme to develop ideas around. Component 2 is the externally set assignment which the exam board will set. It consists of several different starting points for students to base their work around. Specific tutor led activities take place at the beginning of the course, and after this a more independent approach is be adopted by students. As such a large part of the course will be spent having individual tutorials to ensure the right paths and approaches to ideas are taking place. Assessment sheets are written up for KS5 students to help understand and identify how they are performing in line with the 4 assessment objectives. Coursework accounts for 60% of the overall grade, and the ESA is 40%. AQA is the exam board we use.
What will you learn about?
KS3: The beginning of KS3 is based around developing drawing skills. Learners then get the opportunity to work with clay, acrylic paint, collage and print. Each project has a contextual element so the work of a range of artists can be looked at, understood and responded to.
KS4: The GCSE course begins in a structured way that focuses on each of the 4 assessment objectives through the development of ideas, artist research, drawing, experimentation and producing final outcomes. As the course progresses students are expected to use the knowledge acquired to begin developing own ideas. Based on a given theme they can pursue a more personal direction with their work to fulfill the assessment criteria.
KS5: By the time students arrive at A Level, a firm understanding of the assessment grid should already be developed. After an initial period of tutor led activities that are focused on looking, recording and mark making, students pick their own theme to base their ideas around. A more sophisticated and personalised portfolio is developed and specialisms are identified as the course progresses. Students have their own studio space. Ambitious and thoughtful outcomes are developed and realised. Risk taking is key in order for students to push their own boundaries and maximise their potential for going on to art school
To be successful in this subject students will need to be good at and enjoy:
KS3: A successful art student, regardless of ability should be able to show clear progress over time. Any drawing done at home will be of great benefit, whether it be drawing from direct observation, copying photos or pictures, or simply drawing from imagination. An open mind and a willingness to try new ways of working is essential. The ability to reflect on own work and the work of others is crucial and all pupils must listen to others’ points of view. Resilience and a growth mindset are key. Overcoming mistakes is the best way of learning and progressing.
KS4: Any pupil who has chosen to study art at GCSE will do so because they have a genuine passion for the subject. KS3 will have laid a solid foundation on which to build on. Classwork and homework activities will consist of practical tasks, research, written analysis and photography. Students must be able to develop own ideas and take ownership over their work. An integral part of the course consists of drawing and painting. Opportunities are available to work with other mediums and materials. Students may wish to specialise in printmaking, sculptural work or digital media.
KS5: A successful A level art student fully addresses the assessment objectives. Work should reflect a great deal of enthusiasm, effort, ambition and an adventurous and enquiring mind. Ideas will cover a range of concepts and possibilities. Developing a personal style, creative confidence and independence in the use of visual language to communicate ideas, feelings and meanings will become evident. A Level art students will be expected to come to lessons with a clear idea of what they intend to achieve, and be able to take on board constructive criticism as well as share their points of view on others’ work and ideas. Passion, risk taking and resilience are imperative to success.
Progression routes & career opportunities
We encourage as many of our A Level students to go on to art school. A great next step is to do foundation studies in art and design. This is a one year full time course that allows students to develop as an artist and find their own specialism. Whilst this is encouraged, students can go from doing A Levels straight on to a degree course. This could be fine art, illustration, graphic design, ceramics, photography, textile design, interior design amongst many others.
In terms of where art could lead to as a career? Anywhere! From the creative industry through to professions such as doctors and lawyers, art equips students to visual problem solve, to think creatively, and to communicate ideas and opinions. Art teaches skills to do with working collaboratively, to think critically and to be innovative, as well as developing confidence and leadership skills.
Some careers closely linked to art qualifications are;
- Fine Arts: ceramicist, mixed media artist, muralist, painter, portrait artist, printmaker, sculptor.
- Publishing: comic book artist, illustrator, medical illustrator, storyboard artist.
- Advertising: art/creative director, graphic designer, typographer, web designer.
- Architecture: interior designer,landscape architect, urban designer
- Computer Graphics: computer animator, concept artist, digital illustrator, motion graphics designer, video game designer, visual effect animator.
- Fashion: fashion designer, jewellery designer, makeup artist, stylist.
- Museum/Gallery: curator, dealer, gallery owner, museum educator.
- Photography/Film: cinematographer, costume designer, fashion photographer, photo editor, photojournalist, set designer, special effects makeup artist, studio photographer.
KS3: Homework is set throughout KS3 and is often be based around gathering artist research and resources to prepare them for classwork activities. Practical tasks are also set. It is useful if learners have basic resources available at home such as a pencils, pens, rubber, sharpener and a beginners set of acrylic paints.
KS4: At GCSE it is crucial for students to continue working in to their sketchbooks, as this forms a large part of their overall grade. Any artist research required must be done in advance and photography is often set to do outside of lesson time. Students ideally will have all resources needed accessible at home, such as a set of paints and drawing materials.
KS5: Homework at A Level is ongoing, and much time should be spent on this. As well as developing ideas and resources outside of school, students are encouraged to keep a visual diary to record ideas, thoughts, sketches and gallery visits. Independent research is vital in order to achieve a top grade.
We aim to enrich students’ learning not only by opening up our rooms at lunchtimes and running art clubs, but also by arranging trips for all year groups, both nationally and internationally.
Student leadership is a very important part of the school and within art, and we have A Level art captains who organised and deliver clubs. We also have mentors who help out in lessons and encourage younger students.
Head of Art: Paul Withyman
Art Teachers: Gregor Claude and Jamie Kilburn
Art Technician: Lyn English