Curriculum Intent

In Art and Design students explore a range of themes, learning how to experiment so they can develop their own creative and imaginative style, producing personal final outcomes.

In Art and Design, we aim to develop students’ creativity, independence and cultural capital. We equip them with the practical skills and critical understanding of the context of artworks so that they can effectively use visual language.

We employ a range of pedagogical approaches and support to address the needs of all students, adapting our curriculum to meet their needs so they can effectively explore their world and fully realising their creative potential. We succeed in doing this by providing every student with a safe space to explore their creativity and individuality. We have a rich and broad curriculum investigating artists from a range of cultures that explore a variety of styles and themes from the Foundation years all the way to A Level.  

We explore Arts connections throughout society especially it links to Literature and History. We focus on evolving students’ creative thinking skills so that they can develop, experiment and record their observations, reflecting in a meaning full way on their work. We understand that there are a broad range of pathways linked to the creative industries but aim to give students the skills so that they are prepared for the next stage of their life.

Foundation Years: Year 7 and 8


Year 7

During their time at Oakwood Park Grammar School students will be given a strong foundation in art skills. In the foundation year studnets will be introduced to the formal elements and cement their drawing skills, learning how to record accurately observing the fine details in their work and applying tone. Students will also learn about the range of diverse materials artists use and how to use them effectively including the use of a range of drawing, painting, printmaking and 3D materials. While exploring these materials they will refine their techniques through practice and exploring how a range of diverse artists manipulate materials to explore their themes.  As students engage in the projects, they will be encouraged to create personalised final pieces developing their own independence.

  • Portraiture
    • Students will be intrduced to the Formal Elements – Shape, form, line tone, pattern, texture, colour and they will explore how they can be used in Art and design.
    • Students will explre the work of Nelson Makamo and his use of mark making.
    • Students will explre the use of mark-making in a range of materials to develop individualistic style.
    • Students will cnsider how to observe proportion and different techniques to record the proportion of the face.
    • Students will learn the gridding technique creating a detailed prtrait of themselves.
    • Students will explre the work of Julian Opie and consider how his works creates identity – using Thinking Hard techniques.
    • Students will explore how tracing paper can be manipulated in art to develop work
    • Students will learn how to use Acrylic Paint to create a Julian Opie-style portrait and exploring basic colour theory.
  • Surreal Landscapes
    • Students will explre the work of Paul Nash – his surreal landscapes of war time England and David Alabo and his exploration futuristic alternate timelines – using Thinking Hard techniques.
    • Students will refine their use f the Gridding technique, pencil drawing and their use of tone and mark-making by drawing a landscape.
    • Students will explre colour theory - hot and cold colours and complimentary colours with oil pastels.
    • Students will devise their wn surreal landscape, considering a meaning they want to portray – using visual mind maps and small tests.

Students will create a final piece developing their use of paint.

Year 8

In Year 8 we aim to reinforce the formal elements and drawing techniques, while exploring new ways of working and developing students’ independence as artists.


Mythical beast

Students will:

  • Research the artwork of Brian Froud using Thinking Hard techniques.
  • Create an animal drawing of their choice using the grid technique or drawing free hand Animal drawing – considering tone, shape, form and textures.
  • Create a mixed media piece with paint and oil pastel based on an insect of their choice.
  • Design a mythical beast, considering proportion, texture, shape and form.
  • Create a 3D representation of their mythical beast understanding how to manipulate 3D materials.
  • Write a short story about their mythical beast.


The Arrival – Refugee project

Students will:

  • Explore refugee’s historical context – medieval Jewish migration, Huguenots, WW2 polish refugees, modern day- Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan Somalia.
  • Investigate poems that explore refugees Home by Waran Shire/ Sea prayer. – students will choose a line from the poem to illustrate.
  • Explore how to effectively generate ideas E.g. visual mind maps
  • Continue to refine their pencil drawing – exploring formal elements and mark making and ability to collect imagery for final pieces.
  • Investigate UNHCR Latin American artist exploration of refugees and displaced people – using Thinking hard techniques
  • Explore Collage work combining images to develop ideas.
  • Create a final piece in either watercolour or oil pastel, testing materials and then creating a final piece.
  • Create an artist statement to give their work context


Keystone Year: Year 9

In the Keystone year students undertake a creative arts rotation where they undertake a course in Art and Design. Students’ knowledge and skills are further refined as they explore how to develop ideas, experiment with materials and refine final pieces continuing to develop their independence and refine their own style.

Mortal Engine Project

The Fine Art project is designed to run like a mini-GCSE project to challenge and stretch the students’ skills

  • 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.
  • They will engage with a range of dystopian extracts to help inspire their work.
  • They will then research the artist Ian Mcque that helped design works for the books using Thinking Hard strategies’, this will be used to help influence their work.
  • From this point students will experiment with a range of materials developing and building on their skills and understanding from Year 7 and 8.
  • As students’ progress through the project, they 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 Year 10, students will start their coursework portfolio (worth 60% of the final mark). Students will undertake two coursework projects in Year 10. There is a focus on students using their own time effectively working on projects at home or in afterschool sessions.  Throughout the course students are assessed using the AQA Art Assessment Matrix, focusing on the 4 Assessment Objectives Develop, Refine, Record and Present.


The knowledge and understanding students have gained and developed over their first three years studying Art will give them a strong foundation to build on and refine at GCSE. Students will continue to refine their abilities in a range of materials while exploring set projects. They will also learn how to develop their own ideas through experimentation and exploration, developing their own personal style and independence as they create exciting final pieces in their chosen mediums.


Fragmentation Project

Students will cement their skills and explore a variety of materials and processes and develop a clearer understanding of the wider issues in art that concern artists.

  • At the start of the course, we focus on developing and refining skills so that students have a strong foundation on which to proceed.
  • This begins with reviewing key drawing skills and making sure all students have a confident grasp of the formal elements, including tone and mark-making.
  • During this time students reinforce their knowledge of secondary and primary source observational drawing, allowing them to careful consider how to refine details like texture, shape and form to produce the best finished product.
  • We also explore a range of media and materials including drawing (this includes, pencil, pen, oil pastel, charcoal); Painting (watercolour, acrylic), printmaking (mono-printing, lino cutting, etching); photography (digital processes including the use of photoshop); mixed media, collage and 3D techniques.
  • Students are then given the chance to refine their skills and work by developing their independence deciding were their interest lies in Art and Design. Some students may specialise in painting or drawing, while others may discover processes in printmaking, photography or sculpture that fit better with their interest and skill level.
  • While developing these skills we also begin to explore a variety of artists and designers work – using Thinking Hard strategies so that students can start to think about the wider issues in Art but consider the meaning in their own work. We want students to develop their intellect and what they want to say with their artwork. We aim to help students to develop personal work that they are passionate about and introduce them to artists that can inspire them.
  • All of this combines to allow students to become more independent and creative allowing for students to produce confident, independent and passionate work that will allow them to succeed and develop as young artists.


Portraiture Project

  • In the second project students will explore Portraiture, refining and developing their skills and exploring their ideas in a range of mediums. Creating their own high quality independent final pieces for their coursework portfolio.
  • Students continue to explore a range of artist’s work, using it to inspire and refine their own style of working, while also exploring the wider issues in their work.
  • We explore and refine students’ skills in 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. This includes Photography, drawing, printmaking, painting and 3D
  • Students refine and hone the skills and knowledge they have developed, but also learn to better understand where their own strengths lie.
  • They will undertake longer more in-depth tasks 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. 

Year 11

In Year 11, 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.


Exam project

  • 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). with the support of teaching staff
  • Students must pick one title from the exam paper
  • Produce preparatory work for the exam using the resources and materials they have mastered over the last two years. This will include
      • Completing artist research
      • Showing idea development- through mind maps
      • Experimenting with materials and ideas
      • Devising final pieces and testing ideas
      • Presenting and annotating all work.
  • Completing a final piece in the 10-hour exam


A Level: Years 12 and 13

Exam Board: AQA

A level Art course consists of two parts:

  • A Personal investigation (which includes 2 projects and is worth 60% of their final mark) 
  • Externally Set assignment (Which is worth 40% of the final marks).

Year 12

Year 12 

In Year 12 students will develop 1 Project over the year. There will be continual assessment throughout course using the exam boards’ assessment objectives – Develop, Refine, Present and Record.  Students will also be expected to investigate galleries independently in their free time to further their projects and gain better understanding of artist’s work.

  • Personal Investigation
    • Students will start the curse refining their understanding of a range of art techniques and exploring new materials so that they have a confident skill level and knowledge to pull from when exploring their chosen themes.
  • In Year 12 students will undertake the Personal Investigation, this takes the form of one project.
  • Students can independently decide on their personal themes for each project with support from the teaching staff.
  • There are no restrictions on the paths that may be followed if 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 to year 11 and further refine and develop these skills to confidently realise their intentions.
  • In the projects, students learn to show their 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 will practice and refine their skills with previously explored materials but also explore new materials and ways of working.
  • Students further develop their ability to record their ideas and reflect critically on their work and progress. They will have the chance to refine their current skill set and develop new skills depending on their project.
  • 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 will also learn to show a high level of critical analysis when discussing their own work explaining their themes in a mature and creative manner.


  • During the 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 when students are at the apex of their skill level they will continue to develop their Personal Investigation (worth 60% of their final grade) which encompasses their Year 12 project culminating in an impressive final piece for their Pre public Exam.

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 and should be presented and annotated in sketchbooks or sheets.

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