Learning how to draw is at the core of the art curriculum, and starts in the first lesson in Year 7, carrying through to Year 13. We are driven by our passion for art, and our belief in the potential of every student to reach success at A-level. We study the main areas of Fine Art Painting: Still Life, Portraiture, Colour Theory and Landscape. The students explore many different modes of expression during their learning journey, including drawing in different medias, painting, sculpture, collage, ceramics, batik, photography and printmaking. We analyse and investigate a diverse range of artists’ work to inspire and guide us, learning skills and techniques as we progress.
Skills are sequenced, with a clear understanding of what is needed to achieve success at A-level, worked backwards to the foundation in year 7. Learning is spiraled, with students building knowledge and understanding, repeatedly revisiting key learning points. This is done through exploring each of the themes (still life/portraiture/colour theory/landscape) in every year at every key stage, in greater and greater depth. This approach allows the students to develop strong skills acquisition, year on year. By Year 13, students possess a high level of skill, dexterity and eloquence in their visual expression. We see art as an academic subject, and students learn how to talk and write about art, being able to confidently discuss their experience and understanding of what they look at and create.
The sketchbook is central to artistic practice and it is central to exam success. We instill in students a sense of the importance of the sketchbook from the start of year 7. We invite them to think of their sketchbook as an art object in its own right, a beautiful artefact to be cherished. The sketchbook is where all of the students’ learning journey is contained and where the majority of marks are earned, as it contains evidence of their drawing skills, artist investigations and development of personal outcomes. Teachers keep their own sketchbooks, sharing theirs and student’s outcomes, to teach skills and inspire. We exhibit students’ coursework at GCSE and A-level, for assessment, celebration and inspiration: students at all key stages can see the stages of progression. This is an aspirational journey for students, supported through personalised feedback and assessment, which builds confidence and passion, leading to success.
We see the department as artist’s studios, and we aspire to create the atmosphere and attitude of a productive workshop. There is an ‘open door’ policy in the department, and we actively encourage Sixth Form students to work in the art studios, on the walls, doing their coursework during study periods. Their presence ensures that lower years can see them create, and understand the journey ahead of them.
We have a clear, collective vision in the department. We share a passion for art and a belief in our core intent and the potential of the individual.