Art & Design + Photography

The Art & Design department is situated on the ground floor and consists of three specialist rooms. All staff are fully qualified specialist Art and Design teachers.

The department provides students at all Key Stages with a practical course in the visual arts from KS3 (Yr 7 & 8) foundation to KS4 (Yr 9, 10 & 11) GCSE and KS5 A Levels. We have good examination pass rates and many of our students go onto College, University or a career in the arts.


We aim to produce students who understand and value the contribution the visual arts makes to our local, national and global economy and how they enrich our lives on a daily basis.

Art and Design is like fresh air – it is all around us and we cannot function without it!

We provide opportunities for students to obtain a greater understanding and appreciation of Art & Design


To encourage active participation in Art and Design at all levels – KS2 to KS5.

To develop skills and techniques appropriate to Art and Design.

To understand and apply a media in 2D and 3D.

To contribute to the arts within the community.

To develop critical thinking skills and evaluation techniques of their own and others work.

To communicate in and respond to the language of Art and Design – visual, verbal and written.

To provide access to professional artists and designers.

To develop leadership skills in supporting workshops and groups of younger students.

To develop risk taking and self-confidence.

To identify and solve problems in a creative way.

To organise and relate abstract ideas to practical outcomes – be creative thinkers.

To express ideas, feelings and emotions.

To explore other cultures past and present and develop an understanding and appreciation of others.

To foster students understanding of careers in the arts e.g. marketing, advertising, graphics etc.

To encourage pupils to gain examination qualifications –GCSE,AS, A Level.

To learn about and be able to apply to colleges, universities and careers in the visual arts and creative industries.

To develop hand/eye co-ordination and dexterity skills.

To understand how art influences and is shaped by social elements world-wide.

Key Stage 3 (Year 7 & 8)

Foundation Level

Pupils are provided with a broad and balanced foundation course in Art and Design. This consists of a wide range of artistic experiences, learning more about new media, 2 and 3D, gaining new knowledge and developing practical skills.

Pupils have the chance to work both independently and in groups.

-          Yr 7 have 1 period of Art and Design each week.

-          Yr 8 have 1 period of Art and Design each week.

-          Yr 9 have Art and Design 2 periods per week.

Options are taken at the end of Yr 8. The scheme of work covers a wide array of artistic disciplines from drawing and paintings to 3D sculpture and ceramics. Students are taught via clear demonstrations and shown examples of good practice to aspire to from staff and past students. Artist and Designer research is also an important part of the course developing students’ art history, appreciation and understanding of the world we live in. Options are taken in Yr8 after careful counselling of students.

Key Stage 3 & 4 (Year 9 & 10)


Students who have selected Art and Design, Fine Art or Photography as an option have 3 periods of lessons per week. Artistic skills are continually challenged and developed through a range of projects: many of these briefs are open ended to allow for choice, self-expression and unique outcomes. Students continue to expand their 2D and 3D skills, knowledge and expertise over the two years. Great emphasis is spent on how to meet the examination assessment objectives and how to achieve a top grade at GCSE.

60% of the marks are awarded for coursework and 40% for the externally set assignment (10 hour examination). Students have to produce a practical portfolio of work meeting all the assessment objective demands. There is no revision, all work is practical but this also includes written annotations and evaluations of own and artists’ work.

Work is presented in display form for the external moderator’s visit at the end of the course. Students will be given information and advice of future A Level courses in readiness for Y12, should they decide to stay on Post 16. Some Gifted and Talented students do GCSE in 1 year or take up a second subject in Y11.

Key Stage 5

A Level courses (Y12/13) – Art & Design and Photography

Students have the choice to study either or both of these subjectsof either Art and Design or Photography . Students can study both subjects.

Students are timetabled 5 periods of Art and Design / Photography lessons per week, although to be successful it is expected that students will put in more studio time in their free periods.

A Level - Students  produce a practical portfolio of work based on a common starting point – usually inspired by a visit to a location e.g. York, National Sculpture Park etc. Students gather visuals first hand and develop these back in the studio to produce a personal exploration with a series of outcomes 2D & 3D in various scales. Students continue to work with a wide range of media and develop new techniques and skills as we go through the course. Students then produce a project of their own inspired by the visit which is an independent and personal choice.

A two to three thousand word dissertation is also produced to accompany the portfolio and this is marked separately.

A Level work is displayed in June for the external moderator’s visit and grades are awarded and published in August

Note: all students are expected to provide themselves with basic equipment and materials: photographic printing can be undertaken at school but printing and paper has to be charged for. Cameras can be loaned.

Other learning opportunities

The department prides itself on the wide range of learning opportunities our students have access to. These range from 3 after school clubs run by staff and other older students, to trips and visits to exhibitions and centres of excellence e.g. Universities. In addition to this we also invite into school various artists and designers to run master class events such as ceramics, fused glass, china painting, to name a few.

Projects in the local community are also well received and supported.

In addition to the above our students at all Key Stages support the learning of other younger students through visits to our primary partner schools and transition projects for Year 5 and 6 at Don Valley. Such opportunities develop student confidence and leadership and help invest in others future success – a great way to learn for all.

Trips and visits

The department takes every opportunity to visit exhibitions, galleries and places which will enrich our students’ learning opportunities e.g. London visit to the National Gallery and Design Museum etc. We try to expand horizons and use such trips to motivate and inspire our students leading to richer creative outcomes in school e.g. our photography students learn on location, making the outcomes far more effective than shots taken in class.

Rewarding and Celebrating Success

The Department has numerous ways of rewarding our students and celebrating their successes. These include:

Displaying successful pieces on the classroom wall and throughout school.

  • Merit stickers in books (KS3)
  • Pledges
  • Badges for excellence and effort
  • Acceptance to trips and visits
  • Positive postcards – sent home to parents/carers
  • Telephone calls and reports home
  • Publicity in school and local press

To name a few - Our students’ work is often mentioned by visitors to the school and this is fed back to our students regularly.

For more information please contact Mrs E Caine, Subject Leader of Art & Design.