The Art Department
The department provides a learning environment which takes into consideration each student’s needs and abilities, while having high expectations of all. The curriculum is designed to offer challenge, progression, relevance and articulation. Our specific aims are:
- To develop in our students a confidence in their creative ability.
- To promote the acquisition of skills in problem-solving, presentation, organisation, self-discipline, critical analysis, communication and technology.
- To improve students’ visual awareness by developing their observational skills, expressive and investigative drawing abilities.
- To develop our students’ manual dexterity through structured experimentation with a variety of materials and equipment with due regard for health and safety.
- To develop in our students an awareness of their cultural heritage and an understanding of the importance of the visual arts and design in todays’ society.
- To prepare our students for examinations, and advise on subject choice and career paths.
- To promote and encourage cross-curricular links where possible.
- To develop a well-trained and motivated staff who pride themselves in delivering an interesting, relevant and cohesive curriculum in an atmosphere of mutual respect for pupils and colleagues.
- To promote a variety of effective learning and teaching strategies.
- To monitor students’ progress regularly and accurately to ensure that every pupil is directed to achieve their full potential.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 skills in the basic formal elements of line, tone, colour, texture, form and pattern are developed through various units of work. An introduction is given to the use of a variety of media and techniques, such as: pen and ink, charcoal, colour pencil, paint, print and paper construction. Reference is made to relevant artists throughout each project.
In Year 8, students are encouraged to extend and develop their skills through themes such as ‘Portrait and Identity’, which allows for both observation and the introduction of new skills. More emphasis is placed on drawing and artist research, whilst the computer is used as a vehicle for research. Students continue to extend and develop their skills and an introduction is made to photography, Photoshop, block printing, stencil, screen print and 3D media.
Homework is compulsory and is set twice a fortnight, although some of these extend over two sessions to enable students to complete more developed work. It is concerned mainly with the keeping of sketchbooks and their use for recording and researching information relevant to the topics being studied. Homework is not always practical based, but may involve working from books in the library, the internet, or postcards and laminated sheets that are kept in the art department. Some homework tasks relate directly to the gathering of materials required for the following lesson.
Key Stage 4
In Years 9, 10 and 11 students embark on the AQA Art and Design GCSE syllabus: Component 1 (60%) is coursework based, comprised of 2-4 projects and Component 2 (40%) is the externally set exam (10 hours). We follow the unendorsed specification which allows students to cover all disciplines of the art making process, including: fine art, sculpture, photography, textiles, graphics and lens based media. Homework is set regularly and students are encouraged from Year 9 to work independently on extension tasks. Work is always marked, and it is returned, discussed and reviewed by the students as a group.
The first unit of work is mostly teacher directed, in order to produce good working methods for subsequent units. During the course of the summer term, Year 9 students experience a two hour examination. In Year 10 the projects become increasingly thematic and students are encouraged to develop their own ideas independently. The portrait themed project in Year 10 is enriched by a visit to London and the National Portrait Gallery.
In Year 11 students embark on preparatory work for their mock examination (10 hours), which takes place towards the end of the Autumn term. The final external examination paper is given to the students in January, in advance of their examination, as directed by the examination board.
Key Stage 5
In Year 12 students embark on the AQA Art, Craft and Design syllabus which is a two component course. Component 1 is a coursework unit which is a personal investigation with a written element and Component 2 is an externally set assignment with a fifteen hour practical examination, completed at the end of Year 13. The course is an exciting, creative and dynamic A Level, which allows students to follow a whole range of different disciplines, including: fine art, textiles, photography, lens based media and graphics. At the beginning of Year 12 art A level candidates are given a summary of the course and are shown a current marking scheme. Homework is regularly set, and all students are encouraged to attend life drawing classes and to visit London and local galleries to further their research, and to develop the practice of visiting art galleries and museums.
Work is marked and moderated by the art department before it is given a final mark by the exam board. Work is presented in a formal exhibition at the end of the course.
Beyond The Curriculum
The Art Department is committed to offering a variety of extra-curricular art and craft activities to students of all ages and abilities. These after school classes allow our students the opportunity to undertake work that is not normally encountered within normal timetabled lessons. In the past two years we have offered Christmas crafts, screen print a T shirt, photography and Photoshop sessions, textiles, booster classes and sculpture workshops. In our extra-curricular clubs and especially with the Gifted and Talented forum, we encourage students to enter competitions in art, design and photography. We recognise that these have a positive effect on interest and motivation. Our involvement with enrichment days and enrichment week, which takes place during the last week of the summer term, is wholehearted. It gives the art department the opportunity to offer exciting workshops to smaller groups of students and to take art students on gallery visits. In the past few years we have offered mural painting, 3D withy construction and stage design, which also involved the painting of the stage sets for the last two school productions. An annual workshop day is organised for our talented students to learn new and exciting skills with visiting practioners.
For the last two years, Year 12 and 13 students have had the benefit of life drawing classes by professional tutors. All students who study art and design at KS4 and in the sixth form are offered the opportunity to visit major museums and collections of art during their period of study. These visits have proved a valuable starting point for observation and contextual studies.
Facilities and Resources
Lessons are taught in two specialist art rooms which have been recently refurbished. Each studio contains computers, two butler sinks, two drying racks, an interactive whiteboard, several plan-chests, paper cutters, plentiful racking for folders and adequate display boarding. Equipment includes two digital projectors, 3 SLR digital cameras, a digital video recorder, studio lighting, a visualiser, drawing tablets, sewing machines, batik pots, screen print equipment, a printing press and easels.
The sixth form study area is located between rooms 21 and 22 and is equally accessible from both. It houses departmental books and visual resources which are well used by all year groups. In addition, prospectuses for art colleges and universities are displayed here.
There are many areas throughout the school where current artwork can be displayed successfully and these are well used. These include the gallery located outside the Headteacher’s office, the 6th form suite and the Library. There are also display cases in corridors throughout the school. These areas are an invaluable addition to the art department, encouraging student achievement and stimulating best practise.
We store a collection of objects in the department and it is our intention to add to these with relevant items. We have a collection of African, Islamic and Egyptian artefacts to aid our teaching of non-western art, in line with our art department development plan. We also have a skeleton, shells and a wide variety of natural forms.