Art & Design + Photography

Art 1
The Art & Design department is situated in its own block and consists of four specialist rooms. All staff are fully qualified specialist Art and Design teachers. The department also has a full time technician who assists staff and students on a daily basis, and in addition displays the work of our students around school to celebrate success.

The department provides students at all Key Stages with a practical course in the visual arts from KS3 foundation to KS4 GCSE and KS5 AS and 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 & 9)

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.

-          Y7 have one period of Art and Design each week.

-          Y8 have two periods of Art and Design each week.

-          Y9 have Art and Design for half the year.

Options are taken at the end of Key Stage 3. 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 Y9 after careful counselling of students.

Key Stage 4 (Year 10 & 11)


Students who have selected Art and Design/Fine Art 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. 40%  for the final terminal 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 moderators visit at the end of the course. Students will be given information and advice of future AS/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 - AS/A Level courses (Y12/13) – Art & Design and Photography

Students have a choice of either AS Art and Design or AS Photography. Successful completion of said courses ensures continuity onto A Level.

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.

AS Level - 2 units of work – 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. Towards the end of the course students produce a project of their own inspired by the visit.

A2 – 2 units of work – Students again produce a practical portfolio of work, this time from their own interests. Themes are discussed with staff and fine-tuned to ensure that they meet the examination assessment objectives. A two to three thousand word dissertation is also produced to accompany the portfolio.

At AS and A Level, work is displayed in June for the external moderator’s visit.

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 from the Art technician.

Other learning opportunities

The department prides itself on the wide range of learning opportunities our students have access to. These range from lunchtime and 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 recent few.

Projects in the local community are also well received and supported, our most recent being designing and carving a totem pole with a wood artist for the My Space Youth Club, newly opened in Bentley. Our students also designed the metal name plate.  Such projects allow access to real artists and designers and provide our students with the opportunity to learn new skills both in and out of the classroom environment.

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)
  • Certificates of achievement (KS3 & KS4)
  • 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 fedback to our students regularly.

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