Curriculum - Subject Information



Art is studied by all students in year 7 to 9. Students can choose to study the subject further in year 10 and 11, as one of their GCSE option choices.

Reason for sequencing the curriculum for every year group in the way it is, and the subject specific/pedagogical approach taken:

The main aim of the art curriculum is to encourage and nurture a love and passion for art and different art forms, and to allow students to appreciate its importance in history and culture. Every topic covered in art is placed in social and historical context for students to appreciate and understand its significance.

The main thread that runs through the learning journey is ‘drawing’ which is referred to in every year. When students start in year 7, they are given (with the permission of staff) a photograph of a member of staff to create a monoprint portrait based on the picture. This allows students to familiarise themselves with staff at the school as well as the task forming a benchmark test that enables the assessment of the skills students have. These skills include the use of tone, mark making and proportions, as well as demonstrating the characteristics of a student’s drawing. The skills demonstrated in this assessment are developed throughout the learning journey. Students have usually been introduced to some colour theory at primary level (to varying degrees) and this is further developed in year 7 by exploring how students apply paint and the exploration of colour psychology, which will lead into expressionist art and an introduction to relevant artists’ work. This prompts students to develop their independent thinking – a skill which is required and developed in every year. The final piece of work in year 7 is landscape, which allows students to develop their choice of material and tools that will create layered work with depth and aerial perspective.

In year 8 students begin to explore the work of individual artists in more detail, further developing their understanding and application of texture in art. Students are encouraged to use books (and not just rely on the internet) to research artists and their techniques. This allows for a progression and development of skills and application of techniques, e.g. developing the use of craft making. In year 9 students produce an exploration of sculpture, linking with illustrative artists. Students are also given a taste of the work they will produce at GCSE level through self-portrait work that draws upon skills they have developed during Key Stage 3.

In year 10 and 11, students study art, craft and design – all elements of which have been introduced in Key Stage 3. This requires a wide range of mediums through which art can be expressed, including print making, textiles and acrylic canvas painting. Students are asked to reflect on and refine their work. The work produced will link with another artist, craftsperson or designer and will incorporate a theme, calling upon all skills students developed earlier in their learning journey. In Key Stage 4, students are able to choose the artist and topic (within the theme) they would like to use as their inspiration in order to provide personal choice and independence.

Subject terminology is introduced to students at the start of every topic (Key Stage 3 students develop and build an art glossary) to embed knowledge required at a later date and to help build confidence and understanding. 

How we build on prior learning:

Year 7 students begin with portrait drawing, which benchmarks their skills set and also encourages them to build their self-esteem and knowledge of what is involved in art.

Students are encouraged to bring in artwork they have created in their free time, which helps to build a picture of the students’ skills and also builds passion for the subject.

Assessment is focussed on key areas, which are developed over time. Assessment areas are consistent from year 7-11 and contain activities/outcomes that increase in complexity over time, sometimes repeated as baseline or mid term assessments such as observational drawing tasks.

How we prepare students for the future:

The five-year art and design curriculum offers students a wealth of opportunities to develop and increase their artist's skills and knowledge, each student going on a creative, personal journey.

Life skills:

  • We explore the social context within art. For example: mental health, environmental issues and art in the news.
  • Social skills (students are taught within a ‘safe learning environment’ to build confidence in many areas.)
  • Practical skills, from safe and proper use of tools and media to cleaning up!
  • Problem solving.
  • Reflection, refinement and evaluating.
  • Independence.
  • Teamwork.

Education beyond GCSE:

  • Communication of thoughts and ideas.
  • Creative projects/tasks/challenges are developed to enable students to receive an education that broadens their knowledge and experience – to prepare them for the next steps of their journey.
  • There are many references thought out the art and design course to the wider world, such as building a portfolio, skills needed for practising artists and degree level art courses.


  • A university representative is invited in to speak to students about what it is like to study the subject at university level and how to use the subject as an entry to a career.
  • The art and design department follows the art, craft and design curriculum so students can experience a greater variety of projects/mediums/challenges. This enables students to find areas that they can excel in that they may never have had the opportunity to see/do. For example, students can explore textile, clay work, fine art, printmaking.
  • Links to key artists, craftspeople and designers within the field.
  • The subject allows students to exercise their written and visual expression, which are essential skills for their future employment.

Additional provision to support learning:

The art and design department offers a range of extra curriculum opportunities throughout the five-year curriculum:  

  • We have an open-door policy for all students to discuss their work.
  • Every year group gets the opportunity to attend a lunchtime art club (skills based.)
  • Year 10 and 11 have the opportunity to attend two supported weekly after school sessions and use the art room facilities most breaks and lunchtimes.This is extended to daytime workshops during the Easter holidays.
  • The art and design department organises trips for both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students; visiting Galleries in Norwich and Ipswich (students also have the opportunity to attend specialist workshops at these galleries.) Visits also include trips to our local community (Stradbroke's church and Stradbroke's beautiful wildlife pond area for primary observational drawing.) 
  • The art and design department invites guest artists to come in and do specialist workshops. This includes practising artists and visits from Norwich University of The Arts. 
  • GCSE students have the opportunity to apply for specialist artist’s workshop (this year they have been successful in their application for a one off, highly skilled workshop with the artist Colin Davidson (this is in conjunction with the Ed Sheehan exhibition, Ipswich.)
  • Students in Key Stage 3 have opportunities to work with our local police (an example being a competition to redesign the police uniform for 2020. This was displayed at the Royal Suffolk Show.)
  • In-house Key Stage 3 competitions also take place, such as designing the school Christmas card.
  • Cross curriculum opportunities are utilised. For example, working in collaboration with the English Department for World Poetry Day (year 9 created wonderful visualisations in the style of artist Pat Perry, using poems provided.)


Art Learning Journey

Example Key Stage 3 Assessment Skills/Feedback

Art Curriculum Map

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