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What happens in this subject?

The main aims of the art and design department at DSTC are to stimulate creativity and imagination to enable children to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings through practical experience in a variety of 2 and 3 dimensional media.  

We want to  explore the local heritage in which we live to provide a diverse environment for our pupils to learn from. 

We also aim to support children in understanding and appreciating art from a variety of cultures, styles and periods of time.  We want to promote children’s enjoyment of Art through a broad and balanced curriculum which builds on previous work and achievements.  

We want to enable children to develop non-verbal means of organising ideas and expressing thoughts and feelings and record, communicate and express these ideas in different ways.  

We encourage the development of visual perception and visual literacy.  We intend to extend and broaden the individual’s knowledge about the arts by exploring a wide range of artists, sculptors and architects.  

We hope to provide the children with opportunities to meet and work with artists on school trips, visitors to school and take part in local art initiatives. 

We also aim to develop an individual’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through thought-provoking activities and time for self-reflection.


Building on from KS2 or KS3

The National Curriculum for Art and Design aims to ensure that all pupils at KS2 can start to produce creative work whilst exploring ideas and recording experiences. At DSTC we have built a comprehensive and coherent scheme of work that develops those aims in greater depth.

Students at KS2 should start to become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques and our KS3  schemes of work are designed to focus specifically on these skills. 

At KS2 students have begun to evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design. Throughout KS3 our students analyse and evaluate a wide range of artists and designers' work, developing complex artistic  language to describe their experiences and create a greater understanding of the historical and cultural development of the art forms they study.


KS3 Curriculum

At KS3 students have one lesson a week of Art and Design. Some of the main skills covered include:

  • Discussing in groups the meaning and messages of art work. 
  • Using a variety of drawing materials to sketch, shade and blend tones. 
  • Using ink to create marks representing textures. 
  • Still life drawing, photographing and shading.

Students should be able to make assumptions as to what an artist’s message might be and explain their answers. Students should use problem-solving skills to mix and make a variety of colours by hand. Students should be able to keep effective time when printing multiple prints and use measuring to keep the work accurate. 

Students should explore the time an art movement came about and be able to explain how historical events can influence art work. Students should be able to make choices about which media would work best for a particular piece. 

Students are not in sets for art instead they are in form groups. After school, we offer an art club where we can explore activities on a larger scale or sculptural pieces and the students can lead the sessions.

In Year 7 we cover three units - they are all skills based and designed to introduce complex drawing and painting skills, which the students will not have covered at primary school. The first is drawing skills-we look at 3D shapes, tone bars, mark making and positive and negative space(we use this as a baseline assessment). The second is colour theory(colour wheel, colour types, shades, tints and shadows) and then POP art. The final unit is self-portrait - we go back to portrait in year 9, so this introduces and challenges the students.

In Year 8 we look at a culture (currently Mexico, but this changes) and landscape.

In Year 9 we look at food and portraiture again. We also do an artist project in year 9 in the style of the GCSE projects and the work students make in year 9 can go towards their portfolio in yr 10 and 11.

KS4 Curriculum

We study the AQA fine art curriculum at KS4. Students get 3 hour long lessons a week.  This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to explore and investigate different ways of working in response to the fine art title. Students investigate and experiment with a variety of materials, processes and techniques and examine different kinds of sources. Students explore a variety of approaches to drawing and written annotation.

In year 10 students start with a foundation level unit which forms the basis for the rest of the units. Students will be able to choose their most successful techniques and processes to develop further in year 11. They will have annotated their book which will help them in their other units. Students will be able to guide their own learning in year 11.

In year 10 GCSE, students complete a multitude of work based on a theme chosen by me(this year it is tropical). They will use processes and skills previously studied and new techniques that require more time.

In year 11 students are given an ESA which has 8 themes for the students to choose between. They must explore a number of artists and techniques and then make a final piece in a 10 hour exam. 

Some of the main skills covered in KS4 include:

  • Recording observations in a variety of ways using a sketchbook.
  • Annotating their work.
  • Using a wide variety of media including pencil, pen, paints, oil pastels, chalks, collage, 3D sculpture, clay, fabric, printing, photography and ink.
  • Creating responses to famous artists work linked to their chosen theme. Writing about artists' work and  exploring the context behind them.
  • Creating a large final piece showing their skills and the influences of their artists.
  • Choosing appropriate media for their own work.
  • Making connections between artists and their ideas. Finding relevant artists to explore. Visiting galleries to explore Art work further.

Students are encouraged to attend after school intervention where they can receive more specific one to one guidance.


Aspirations and KS5

The 2 year AQA Fine Art  A level that we offer at DSTC, links closely to the work studied at GCSE building on previous skills and techniques and developing a greater depth of understanding. Working in books, annotating and using a starting point are all covered in years 10 and 11. Students have 15 hours to make a final piece and must produce an essay worth 50% of their mark. 

The A Level course requires students to develop practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of relevant materials, processes, technologies and resources. Students need to understand how ideas, feelings and meanings can be conveyed and interpreted in images and artefacts. Students need to demonstrate knowledge of how images and artefacts relate to a time and place in which they were made. Also an understanding of social and cultural contexts. Students must use specialist vocabulary and terminology. This is used exclusively in year 13.   

The rigorous levels of study approached over the two year course means students are well equipped for a foundation course or Art degree. The portfolio created provides excellent examples of student’s practical skills. The personal investigation demonstrates students ability to explore and research a theme in depth. 

Subjects frequently studied after an A level in Fine art include degrees in fashion design, graphic design, teaching, illustration and printmaking. Having an A level in fine art can also lead to careers in art therapy, interior design and architecture, photography, museum curation, floristry, make up, beauty and special effects work.