Miss A Diskin – Curriculum Leader
Miss L Noy – Teacher of Art
Welcome to the Art Department
Our department offers students the opportunity to enjoy creative learning in Art, Craft and Design which builds confidence and has a positive effect on learning across the whole school’s curriculum. As Art staff we love our subject and love to see the fantastic high quality and range of work that is produced by our students. We aim to broaden each student’s appreciation of Art and hope they excel in a subject that has no definite right answer while giving them a platform to demonstrate their ideas and imagination in a constructive and skilful manner. Whether working on their first Art lesson in Year 7 or the demanding Year 11 controlled assessment we expect our students to work hard, be creative, overcome challenges and to express their ideas to the best of their ability.
Students not only learn how to visually record with accuracy but they gain an appreciation of past and contemporary artists through critical and contextual work. They experience a wide range of media and work in a number of different disciplines and have the opportunity to be individual, to express themselves, and to gain a sense of achievement by producing a piece of art that they have researched, developed, created and refined.
Key Stage 3
At the start of Key Stage 3, emphasis is placed on helping students to feel confident about their individual creativity and this is achieved from the outset by amplifying the positives in the artwork of all students. A wide range of artists are explored to help students realise the validity of their own creative handwriting and to help dispel rigid notions about the qualities that make a piece of artwork impressive. Many students join Art Club in year 7 which enables them to take greater risks and explore a wide range of materials, benefitting greatly from working alongside fellow enthusiasts from different year groups.
Students work with a range of 2D and 3D materials throughout year 8 and are encouraged to produce work on varying scales but also enjoy using sketchbooks as a visual journal to document their progress. Sketchbooks are added to outside of lessons, enabling students to develop their skills in their own time and great care is taken to ensure homework activities link well with evolving classroom practical work. A prize is awarded by the art department every term to students who use their sketchbooks particularly well.
In the latter stages of key stage 3 students are challenged to put a more personal stamp on the work they produce by feeding project ideas with more individual references or starting points. These references might take the form of photographs, collections or interests/hobbies that can be used in some way to communicate more about themselves through the work they produce. Input from art teachers in the lead up to year 9 options evening helps those wishing to take their art studies further, make an informed decision.
Student work is marked regularly in three key areas: Competence, Creativity and Critical & Cultural Understanding and levels are awarded according to how well students have answered a project’s success criteria. Students track their progress after each assessment point on the art progress pyramid, reflecting carefully on teacher feedback and acting on advice to improve their working level.
Key Stage 4
At key stage 4 the art department puts a great deal of emphasis on personalisation, encouraging students to explore themes that are uniquely meaningful to them. We feel the most exciting art work is developed when students find ways of introducing themes that fascinate them personally. Underpinning this is our aim to develop drawing, painting and making skills to a high standard and this is achieved by encouraging students to look at a wide range of visual starting points to develop ambitious portraiture, landscape, sculptural and still life pieces.
We are fortunate to be able to run a GCSE in Art and Design as well as a GCSE in Applied Art & Design. We feel that by running both courses we are able to ensure that different groups of students progress equally well at Key Stage 4, benefiting from a wide range of approaches and initiatives designed to improve participation and performance. Students who enjoy working with a structured design scenario, much like the design industry, are generally better suited to the Applied course in Art & Design. Whereas students who prefer the challenge of responding to very ‘open ended’ briefs seem to thrive on the GCSE in Art & Design.
For each GCSE course, in Year 10 work is entered as a coursework Portfolio. This work makes up 60% of the final GCSE mark.
The Externally Set Task (exam paper) is given out in January of Y11 and involves preparation time of 9 weeks followed by a 10 hour exam which is completed over two days (usually at the end of March). This makes up 40% of the final mark.
Student work is assessed every half term by teachers and feedback given on relevant assessment objectives. Students also use peer assessment throughout the term and are encouraged to reflect on their own and others’ work as it progresses so that considered changes can be made.
Keen art students are encouraged to join one of two after school art clubs as soon as they start school in year 7 and many students attend right through to year 11, completing an Arts Award qualification in years 8 and 9 should they wish to. The club gives students a chance to work alongside students from different year groups in a relaxed studio atmosphere, following student led project themes.
Art and design students are often commissioned to use their skills outside the classroom to produce work for events in school that require their creative expertise. Designing and making posters, costumes and stage sets for the school production are just some of the many creative projects they are encouraged to work on outside of lessons.
Visits to Leeds City Galleries, The Hepworth Wakefield and places of interest such as The Yorkshire Sculpture Park are an important component of Art and design delivery, working from primary sources and exposure to work created by other artists, craft makers and designers accelerates students progress, motivating students significantly and increasing their focus when they return to the classroom.
Opportunities for students to meet and work with practising artists are offered throughout the school year with, for example, year 8 students meeting and working with the landscape painter Annie Fenn, Year 9 students meeting and working with illustrator Tony Husband and year 10 students working with the portrait artist Yan Wang.