We teach art because it helps stimulate creativity and imagination by encouraging students to look at things from different viewpoints. Students are encouraged to increasingly make connections between their own creative ideas and the work of other artists, as well as looking at things from a global perspective. Through exploration and experimentation they become gradually more independent in their choices of materials and processes, and through the process of reflection and evaluation they learn about the importance of persistence and critical analysis. Fundamentally, we believe that participation in the arts contributes to the growth and development of students: it allows for cross-curricular learning, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and citizenship, and enables students to establish vital transferable skills such as problem solving, independent enquiry, collaboration and perseverance.
In KS3 students study art in the context of establishing a strong foundation in independent and critical thinking, as well as developing confidence in practical skills including observational and imaginative drawing, painting, printing and 3D construction. Students follow the National Curriculum (UK) for art, and all units of work enable students to develop skills in 4 specific areas of development: ideas, making, knowledge and evaluating.
At KS4 students learn to become independent and self-motivated learners following the 2-year Edexcel International GCSE course. The curriculum helps students build upon vital foundation skills, but also to develop a mature, individual and independent approach to learning which enables them to confidently develop the focus of their own work. The course includes a significant element of contextual research and analysis with the intention of building the confidence of students to interact and respond to many aspects of visual culture.
Our Sixth Form offers the 2-year Edexcel A level Art & Design course and is open to students who have secured a B or higher grade in their IGCSE Art exam. The course is rigorous and demanding, stimulating in content and focuses on the further development of students’ creative abilities which have been already secured at IGCSE level. Whilst on the course the students focus on drawing, painting and printmaking to act as the starting points for investigation through sustained personal study into 2 and 3 dimensions. A level art enables students who wish to continue their Art studies to access further education courses at university.
Beyond the classroom the department looks for ways to work on cross-curricular projects with other departments, for example working with the drama department to prepare the visual elements for school drama productions. We have built up a good network with both national and international artists, and we often work with these artists in order to deliver extra art workshops so that students get the opportunity to learn a wider range of techniques and processes eg metal casting and raku pottery. In KS4 & 5 we organise gallery and artist studio visits in order to expose the students to the rich legacy of art within their local environment. Art Week has become an annual whole-school event in the summer term, when we invite both local and international artists in to take part in a 2-3 week residency. This is always a hugely enjoyable experience for students and culminates in a celebration of their work in the form of an exhibition around the school.