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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” – Maya Angelou.

Art enables creativity and offers challenge; it helps us to appreciate and interpret what we observe, communicate what we think and feel, and develop imagination and inventiveness. As a department we aim to instil confidence and independence in our pupils to explore and develop their own ideas and creativity, enabling them to take ownership of their work and respond using the tools they will develop through a diverse curriculum.

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity and we believe that art makes an important contribution to pupils’ overall education and is necessary for personal development. Our curriculum is designed to support pupils in appreciating the value of art and design in their own lives and in the wider world, helping them to understand the role that art and design plays in society, and how it can be used to express ideas, and make a difference.

Throughout their journey, pupils will develop their understanding of various techniques including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and other art, craft and design techniques to produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences. They will also develop critical thinking skills to evaluate, analyse, and give their opinion on creative works using the language of art, in order to know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical, contextual and cultural development of their art forms.Trips relevant to the discipline

To develop the creative possibilities within each student, we provide a stimulating and exciting environment and believe that our curriculum provides a sound platform of knowledge and skills for pupils who wish to further their studies to GCSE level in either Art and Design or Photography. We hope pupils will acquire an appreciation and affection for the Arts which will continue to enrich their lives well beyond their time at Sharples.

Key Concepts

Explore Experiment Develop Refine Critical Analysis Evaluation Observe Context
Mark Making Drawing Paint Mixed media Ceramics Printmaking Collage Pastel
Line Shape Space Form Tone Texture Pattern Colour
Composition Balance Emphasis Pattern Movement Proportion Scale Grid method
Art history Periods in art Art Movements Architecture Craft Design Contemporary Modern

Key Stage 3 Overview

Throughout Key Stage 3, pupils will receive a broad and balanced curriculum focusing on drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics and mixed media whilst developing their understanding of art through historical and contemporary contexts.

The curriculum is designed to give pupils the opportunity to:

  • Use a range of techniques to record their observations and explore ideas
  • Increase proficiency in working with different materials
  • Confidently analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others
  • Discover the history of art, craft, design and architecture, understanding periods, styles and major movements that have had impact.

Year 7

Autumn Term:

This term is focused on portraiture and identity. The students will consider their own identity through portraiture and the study of cubism and abstract art to create various interpretations. They will begin to understand the formal elements of art by focusing on tone, line, and colour theory. They will look critically at the work of various artists including Picasso, to understand what influences artists and the purpose of their work. They will begin to develop proficiency in drawing, painting, mixed media and print.

Spring Term:

Students will look to nature this term and take inspiration from ornithology. They will begin to understand how art can be viewed as a historical record and develop their understanding of the fundamentals of texture, pattern, and mark making as well as continuing to investigate colour theory and tonal value. They will focus on developing confidence with drawing, and mark making experimentation and be introduced to working in clay.

Summer Term:

Students will be taking a creative look at architecture focusing again on colour theory as well as perspective, scale and proportion. They will work with print and collage within this project and learn about the world of illustrators such as Polly Fearn and Lucy Jones.

Year 8

Autumn Term:

Pupils will begin to understand the purpose of art by looking at various artists from George Brettingham Sowerby (1788 – 1854) and Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) who were both naturalists; experts in the recording on natural history, to contemporary artist, Beatriz Chachamovits, a Brazilian environmental artist who is focused on representing the human impact on ocean conservation. They will look at using their knowledge and understanding of colour theory and tone to develop pattern, texture and form using various media whilst also creating a 3D form in clay.

Spring Term:

In this project,  the students will focus on pattern and continue to develop their drawing, tonal, and portraiture skills as well as painting. They will look at the origins and purpose of pattern in art and culture throughout history and develop their own patterns to combine with their portraits using the work of various artists for inspiration such as Lubaina Himid and Delita Martin.

Summer Term:

This term, the focus is on street art and the fact that art in public spaces, drawn on walls, dates back to at least 7000 BC! The pupils will investigate this history and create their own ‘tag’ and designs using influential street artists as inspiration such as Sweet Toof and Banksy. They will work with layering focusing on composition, texture and mixed media experimentation.

Year 9

Autumn Term:

This year, the students begin to develop individuality in their artwork beginning with a project focusing on culture and identity with independent or collaborative final outcomes. They will look at the history of portraiture and the use of symbolism going back to the 17th century developing an understanding of how symbolism is used in a portrait. They will work to a given brief to create a piece of public art that focuses on current affairs, culture and/or identity inspired by an artist of their own choice and in a medium of their own choosing.

Spring term:

Focusing on architecture, this term will look at its history and how one era in architecture influences another. Architect Zaha Hadid and her process will be a main source of inspiration to develop abstract final outcomes that develop an understanding of perspective, composition, line, form, colour and shape.

Summer term:

Based on nature, students will develop ideas for a final clay piece. Using creative mark making, print and collage, and various artists such as Angie Lewin, ceramicist Katie Smith and local artist Nick Taylor, students will develop creative surface designs to apply to their clay pot.

GCSE Art and Design

Our Key Stage 4 Art and Design curriculum provides students with opportunities to build on their learning experiences gained during Key Stage 3 and to explore a variety of media, themes, images and artefacts in a personal and meaningful way for individuals. It builds on the pupils’ ability to view and critique artworks whilst making connections to their social, historical and cultural context. Pupils are required to develop their work independently and refine their ideas towards a final outcome.

Throughout the course, pupils create a portfolio of coursework (60%) and complete an examination (40% of the award grade) in order to gain GCSE certification. The portfolio of coursework should include artworks created in at least two of the following areas: drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, printmaking, mixed media, computer-aided design, illustration, advertising, digital imaging, textiles, fashion, ceramics, sculpture and photography. The examination is a separate portfolio developed from a title provided by the exam board which is also explored and refined to a personal conclusion.

Art and Design lessons offer a unique learning environment where risk taking and experimentation is encouraged along with developing judgments of one’s own work and that of others to develop a portfolio in line with intentions, as well as developing a greater understanding of the purpose of art and design.

GCSE Photography

Our Photography curriculum is designed to allow our students to combine their artistic and creative side with the technical expertise and techniques associated with professional photography. We believe that examining past and current photography practitioners supports students’ understanding of core photographic elements, and allows them to use their knowledge to experiment with concepts such as shadow, lighting, movement and composition. Our curriculum aims to offer our students a thorough insight into the broad scope of photography, presenting them with the opportunity to develop in-depth technical and practical expertise using both analog and digital methods. The themes chosen enable students to successfully develop analytical skills, image manipulation techniques, practical competence and explore a range of strategies to present imagery.

Photography lessons provide a dynamic learning environment where students will be given the flexibility to be imaginative and experimental with their own photographic intentions, whilst applying their knowledge of visual language. Through the use of portfolios, students are taught to be independent practitioners who have the capacity to develop, refine, record and showcase several photographic ideas.

Read like an Artist / Art Critic

Children are very visually literate, their world is full of images, and this is a language they understand. However, do they understand how to read the images?  

Not only is the purpose of embedding reading strategies in the art curriculum to improve reading and literacy standards to support pupils’ learning and well-being, but also to help them to understand the visual world around them – to give them the confidence and vocabulary to express their thoughts and opinions. 

The curriculum is designed to enable pupils to write, speak and read like an artist or an art critic. Pupils are expected to be able to read, spell and apply subject specific vocabulary when discussing the work of others and their own work. In art, across all year groups, pupils read to support & direct creative work, reflect on & assess the visual quality of their artwork and that of peers, and to critically engage with and investigate artist’s work.

Click here to view the suggested reads poster.
Please note: the images of the book covers are clickable hyperlinks to the book.

Career Prospects

Choosing an Art & Design subject creates possibilities for lots of exciting careers in the Creative Industries – one of the most rapidly growing industries in the UK. In fact, over one in eight UK businesses (11.8%) in 2019 were part of the Creative Industries (DCMS 2022). Below are some of the sectors that are accessible with a qualification in an Art and Design subject:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Architecture
  • Crafts
  • Design
  • Fashion and textiles
  • Film, TV, video, radio and photography
  • IT, software, games design, and computer services
  • Publishing
  • Museums, Galleries and Libraries
  • Music, performing and visual arts

Home Learning

Learning beyond the classroom will involve homework activities which link to current lessons. At KS3 students will be expected to spend a minimum of 30 minutes on their homework. At KS4  students will continue to explore their coursework beyond the limits of the classroom.

Enrichment and other extracurricular activities

A wide range of Art and Design related enrichment options are available, including:

  • Lunchtime clubs
  • After school clubs
  • Trips relevant to the discipline
  • Community projects where work is put on display for the local community.


Head of Art & Design
Mrs S Sweeney