Visual Arts

Through our rich and exciting curriculum, our intent is to equip our students with a repertoire of practical skills that can be applied to a wide range of art and design practices. We encourage our students to experiment and explore media, materials, techniques and processes and not be afraid to make mistakes but to experience art in a fulfilling and meaningful way, irrespective of ability.

Lessons are designed to offer a mix of direct instructional teaching and personal investigation, so students can see how we model the tasks and techniques and then have the opportunity to explore them in an individual way. KS3 students learn the fundamental concepts of the visual language and how to apply these to different situations. We develop skills and knowledge gradually to prepare them fully for study at GCSE level, where they then are able to hone their interests by specialising in one of the varied disciplines we offer. The GCSE course focuses on individual interpretation, so through our specially design programmes of study, students apply their prior skills and knowledge whilst also learning a whole range of new ones. This prepares our students well for future study at A-level and beyond.

Understanding the context of Art is also integral to our practice. We teach our students about the History of Art and how this fits into the development of different disciplines and practices. They learn how to “read” art through discussion as well as gaining the ability to analyse in detail and write fluently with genuine insight. Visits to local, national and international galleries helps students to fully appreciate Art at first hand and we are passionate about instilling a culture of inquisitive learning into our practice.

We strongly believe that the development of art skills is a journey and not a destination and we encourage our students to be open-minded, to give everything a go and be persistent in their pursuit of personal exploration.

Visual Arts at Key Stage 3

 Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 7An introduction to one of the most influential Art movements of the 20th Century, Impressionism.
Through practical tasks, learn about mark making and begin to develop tonal skills.
Learn about Pointillism and sgraffito and produce more personal responses using observational and landscape drawings for inspiration.
Learn about the Art movement Fauvism and how this was born out of Impressionism.
Learn about colour theory and develop painting skills through the production of a colour wheel and other associated painting tasks.
Develop photography skills to create visuals that will develop into oil pastel studies and eventually collage.
An introduction to the Art movement Cubism, another movement in the Post-Impressionist period.
Learn about portraiture which will include understanding the proportions of the face.
Develop photography skills and learn how to create abstraction through both collage and Adobe Photoshop techniques.

 Term 1 & 2Term 2 & 3CREATE Lesson
Year 8Learn through a mixture of practical and theory tasks based on a project entitled, ‘Architectural Ceramics’.
Learn about the abstract work of Robert Delaunay and further develop and enhance tonal drawing skills.
Learn about the work of Friedensreich Hudertwasser to inspire the designs of coiled drawings and coil-made vessel forms.
Learn to create three-dimensional artefacts in clay.
Build on the three-dimensional skills learned in the first project under the topic ‘Pop Art’.
Learn about several of the influential British and American Pop Artists and produce work inspired directly by their style.
Learn to work collaboratively in a group to design onomatopoeic words that could have come straight from a comic book.
Develop designs and produce 3D card letters to form a group outcome.
An additional Visual Arts lesson is allocated to Year 8 on a fortnightly basis.
Learn about advertising, marketing and branding.
Learn to work collaboratively as a marketing team in order to devise a new product.
Develop, design and create graphic visuals for the advertising company, a new logo for the product, an advertisement storyboard, an app and come up with a catchy strapline that will help sell the product.

GCSE Curriculum:  Years 9-11

The course allows students to explore and develop skills in 4 different disciplines within Art and Design before choosing to specialise in one of these areas. Students will explore Fine Art, Photography, Textile Design and Graphic Communication.

  • Fine Art is defined “as the need to explore an idea, convey an experience or respond to a theme or issue of personal significance.” It includes; drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media.
  • Photography is defined “as the practice of producing images using light-sensitive materials such as photographic film, or digital methods of development and production to create static or moving images.” It can include portraiture, location photography, studio photography, experimental imagery, documentary photography, photo-journalism and moving image (film, video and animation).
  • Textile Design is defined “as the creation of designs and products for woven, knitted, stitched, printed or decorative textiles that might have a functional or non-functional purpose.” It can include art textiles, fashion design and illustration, costume design, constructed textiles, printed and dyed textiles, surface pattern, stitched and/or embellished textiles, textiles for interiors, digital textiles and installed textiles.
  • Graphic Communication is defined “as the process of designing primarily visual material to convey information, ideas, meaning and emotions in response to a brief” and includes communication graphics, design for print, advertising and branding, illustration, typography, and animation.

Year 9 projects are designed to assist in the developing of students’ practical skills, building on what they have learned in KS3 and providing the opportunities to work with a wide range of media, materials and using a variety of processes and techniques. This is supportive of the Year 10 project, in which students begin to apply their developing skills and learn how to construct an extended investigation leading to personal outcomes in a project devised specifically for their chosen specialist area. Year 11 is split into two parts. In the first half students will complete the extended project started in Year 10) and then at the start of January they will embark upon the preparation for their final Externally Set Assignment (exam).


A Level Curriculum

Visual Arts is a popular subject for students wishing to further develop, enhance and explore their art and design skills at a more advanced level. The four discipline areas offered at GCSE are also on offer at A-level and they are run alongside one another which makes for an interesting mix of students, projects and activities taking place in lesson time. There are a range of teaching methods employed from workshop sessions, peer-assessment and group critiques, lectures, individualised practical sessions and one-to-one tutorials. Students will gain a full breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding in their chosen specialist field, which will enable them to execute high quality personally developed outcomes.

The course begins with a diagnostic period for students to consolidate some of their GCSE skills whilst also learning the requirements and expectations of A-level study. Time will be spent learning how to write analysis to a deeper level of insight, which will benefit the writing of the written essay. In addition, students will also receive a one-hour Art History lesson each fortnight to learn about the context of Art from the Renaissance, right through to Modern Art.

Lessons in the Visual Arts studios are always relaxed and enjoyable with strong teacher-student rapport. Students are also welcome to use the studio spaces, equipment, tools and materials in their own free time and study periods.


The Enriched Curriculum

Our commitment to whole-school intent is underpinned by a range of extra-curricular opportunities across Years 7 to 13. The Visual Arts studios are always open at lunchtime and after-school for students to come and extend their skill set, or to simply get on with their project/coursework. A wide range of Art clubs, which have included textile/craft, graphic design, ceramics and photography, have been on offer in previous years and continue to be very popular.

With regards to trips and visits, Year 7 students have the opportunity to go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to learn about various artists, analyse their work and study some of the sculptures through drawing. Year 9 students visit Liverpool Tate gallery to expand their knowledge of Art, while Year 12 students are fortunate enough to experience a trip to Berlin to visit several historic and contemporary art, design and photography galleries.