Foundation years: year 7 and 8

Foundation Years

In Art and Design in Year 7 and 8 we look to help develop student’s creativity, independence and understanding of art and design. This is done through the teaching and practicing of key skills and exploration of topics that help give the students a broad knowledge of Art and Design so they are prepared for the challenges of GCSE. Students homework tasks help that builds their independence, time management and creativity. While at the same time allowing them to explore processes, materials and artists to build their understanding of art and design from around the world. Students will learn how to use Thinking Hard strategies to help them analyse work and evaluate their own work.

Year 7

In Year 7 students develop a good understanding of the key skills needed in Art and a foundation knowledge of practices and terminology that they can then effectively build on throughout their school life. This includes exploring the formal elements such as line, tone, texture, shape, form. Pattern and colour through still-life. We also introduce and refine students use of a range of materials this includes pencil, pen, paint, printmaking, collage and sculpture.

Students refine these skills further in the latter part of the year with a challenging Portrait project like those they might undertake at GCSE. In these project students build on previously taught skills and knowledge but start to learn how to conduct a more in-depth project through developmental and experimental work, focused art history research and then the production of detailed final pieces. While undertaking this project they are constantly refining their skills and developing new ways of working to give them a well-rounded skill base and knowledge of Art and Design. In the portrait project students learn how to create a photographic drawn portrait, by exploring the canon and gridding techniques, they also explore Julian Opie’s Work and acrylic painting.

Year 8

In Year 8 students build on the skills they have already learnt but are introduced to new concepts and ideas. Students start the year by exploring Landscapes. This includes learning about a range of artists and styles that students could use to record landscapes. Students also revisit and explore a range of methods of working for example gridding, impressionism and pointillism. They also investigate a variety of materials for example (paint, oil pastel, pencil) that reinforce the foundation they built on in Year 7 but also extending their knowledge and skill level.

For their second project students undertake a more imaginative project, exploring Mythical Beasts, in this project students continue to develop their understanding of different materials and refining of their skills including drawing, painting, mixed media and sculpture.  Students start by creating realistic recordings of different animals and insects. They then use these drawings to develop their own mythical beasts, considering proportion, shape and form. Students create designs and drawings and eventually a model of their mythical Beasts, giving them the ability to explore a completely new way of working.


Keystone Year: year 9

In Year 9 students undertake a creative arts rotation where they receive 5 intensive 8 week courses throughout the year each dedicated to a different creative Art. All the courses are linked through the theme of Around the World, yet each one explores it in an individual and exciting manner that highlights its own uniqueness.


In Fine Art the project they will undertake is designed to run like a mini GCSE project to firstly help challenge and stretch the students skills, but also giving them an understanding of how the GCSE course will run. Students will design futuristic cities that can travel across the globe. They will start by exploring the Mortal Engines novels and gaining an understanding of how artists can take inspiration from a range of sources. Students will then explore surreal artists that will influence their work.  From this point they will experiment with a range of materials developing and building on their skills and understanding  from year 7 and 8. As they progress through the project students will develop their independence choosing cities, vehicles and materials they wish to merge to create their surreal futuristic cities. Students will end the course by creating a final piece based on their design work.

GCSE: years 10 and 11

Exam Board: AQA

Year 10

In the GCSE course we explore a range of media and techniques to help students develop their own style and path as an artist. We understand that being an artist is not just about traditional art methods and we give students the ability to explore a range of materials and ideas so that they can effectively achieve the best possible results.  Students refine and hone the skills and knowledge they have developed over the last 3 years, but also learn to better understand where their own strengths lie. They will undertake longer more in-depth projects where they continue to explore and refine their use of fine art materials and learn how to develop their own ideas more fully along with researching and analysing artists and their own work.

In Year 10 students will start their coursework portfolio (worth 60%of the final mark). They will undertake two projects in year 10 the first will be Fragmentation where they must explore and develop the wider issues in art and develop new and exciting ways to work through, collage, print making, painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. In the second project Students will explore Portraiture, refining their skills and developing a new understanding of painting, drawing and printmaking to develop high quality final pieces for their coursework portfolio.

Year 11

In Year 11 at the apex of their skill level students will continue to develop their coursework portfolio (worth 60% of their final grade) which encompasses their Year 10 projects culminating in an impressive final piece for their Pre public Exam.

Students end the course undertaking The Externally Set Assessment (worth 40% of the final mark) which is a selection of exam questions set by AQA (at the beginning of January). Students must pick one title and then produce prep work for the exam and a range of final pieces in the 10-hour exam with the support of teaching staff and using the resources and materials they have mastered over the last three years.


A Level: years 12 and 13

Exam Board: AQA

Year 12

The A level Art course comprises of two parts; a Personal investigation (which includes 2 projects and is worth 60% of their final mark) and an Externally Set assignment (Which is worth 40% of the final marks). In year 12 students will complete project 1 and start project 2, (they will complete this project 2 at the start of year 13). There will be continual assessment throughout course using the exam boards’ assessment objectives.  Students will also be expected to investigate galleries independently in their free time to further their projects and gain better understanding of artists work.


Personal Investigation

In year 12 students will undertake The Personal Investigation, this takes the form of two major projects. Students can independently decide on their personal themes for each project with support from the teaching staff. There are no restriction on the paths that may be followed as long as the syllabus objectives are addressed as part of the process. During this time students will use the skills and knowledge they have acquired from year 7 and further refine and develop these skills to confidently realise their intentions.

In both projects’ students learn to show development of ideas this includes an ability to research a range of artists work, analysing their processes and using the knowledge gained to influence and inspire their own work. Students also refine the ability to experiment with a range of ideas and materials that are appropriate to their chosen theme, reviewing and refining their work purposefully. Students further develop their ability to record their ideas and reflect critically on their work and progress. Finally they must have the ability to create a personal and imaginative final realisation that makes connections between their work and other artists. Student’s practical outcomes can take the form of a range of final realisations that can include paintings, sculptures, printmaking, photography, textiles, multimedia pieces and digital work. Students will be expected to produce high quantity and quality work during the course.

The practical aspect of the course is complimented written analysis of artists and their work focusing on the wider issues they explore. The students also show a high level of critical analysis when discussing their own work explaining their themes in a mature and creative manner.

In the 2nd project alongside their practical responses’ students will also tackle a 3000-word essay that explores the students chosen practical themes from an analytical viewpoint. Students will be expected to devise a title for the essay based on their second project. From this point, they must complete in-depth research on their topic and then write an essay that shows their understanding of the artists and the themes from their research.

Year 13

At the start of year 13 students will complete their Personal investigation by completing their second project, and then spending a Month in January reviewing and refining both projects to the highest standard ready to hand in their completed projects on at the end of January. In February they will be handed their Externally Set Assignment which is worth 40% of their final grade and is set by the exam board.


Externally Set Assignment

The Externally Set Assignment is a response to topics given by the Examining Board. The papers are issued in early February and students have until mid- May to finalise their responses.

During this preparatory period students are to complete a range of investigations and developments including experimentations with ideas and materials, exploration into artist and contextual studies, good quality recording from observation and critical analyse of their own work. This should allow students to produce a high quantity of preparatory work while at the same time developing the quality of their work. These studies should help the students devise a final piece for the exam.

Students must then complete a 15 hour examination final piece under examination conditions. At the end of the exam all work must be submitted for final assessment.