#hardwork #integrity #excellence


Our art curriculum ensures that all students are visually literate,​ and develop their voice in a visual world.

We ensure that all our students can interpret and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. We want our students to communicate confidently what they think, feel, observe, and understand. We want students to have the confidence to challenge, ask questions, and argue intelligently. We want our curriculum to allow students to understand how to unpick our place in a visual world, ultimately forming an idea of the purpose of art. We also commit to ensuring that all students, regardless of any barriers to learning, can excel in the visual arts. ​

Key Stage 3

We begin with foundation skills and formal elements (shape, colour, line, tone, form, pattern, texture) alongside accessible concepts like symbolism. Students know from their first lesson that art is about visual communication and ideas rather than technical mastery. We aim to break idea that ‘I can’t draw, therefore art isn’t for me’. Our curriculum increases in complexity; students’ knowledge builds on existing skills, and we interleave learning to deepen students’ knowledge and skills.

​Year 7​

In Year 7, students begin by exploring the formal elements of art, craft and design through experimental drawing, painting and sculpting technique.  They also learn traditional art making skills.  They explore historical and contemporary art practitioners, including Henri Matisse, Kara Walker and Antonio Rocha, in order to gain a broad understanding of the purpose and power of art.​

Year 8​

Building on learning in Year 7, students utilise traditional drawing techniques, including the Loomis method for portraiture and transform them into semi-abstract lino prints. Students have the opportunity to work with clay and to explore subjective mapping when navigating through a challenging project about decolonisation and art. ​

Year 9​

Learners begin in Year 9 by learning about the work of German artist Käthe Kollwitz. The project enables students to develop their empathy for the victims of poverty, hunger and war as they make personal visual responses in the style of Kollwitz. Students also explore how artists (including Pablo Picasso and Abdullah Omari) have responded to conflict through an investigation into the Spanish and Syrian civil wars. They then have the opportunity to explore the importance of context in the art world through mixed media outcomes before completing a project, inspired by the work of contemporary painters such as Jennifer Packer, Barbara Walker and Nikos Gyftakis, that draws together learning from across Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9. ​

​Key Stage 4

The combination of skills, media and themes explored in Key Stage 3 ensures that Key Stage 4 students have the tools to be able to explore and respond to visual stimuli independently and from personal starting points.  Foundation skills are built upon further in KS4 and KS5 – more challenging skills and concepts are taught where students have a shorthand with the formal elements.​

In Year 10, students focus on portraiture before exploring the theme ‘myths and legends.’ They also engage in a contextual project unpicking the work of two artists, creating artist studies, a comparative essay and a personal response. In Year 11, students develop, refine, record and present their own ideas around the theme of ‘growth and evolution.’ They then complete a broader project.

Key Stage 5

In Key Stage 5, students begin by engaging in a workshop phase, in which they work together to inspire and engage. They then discover through the research phase, in which they collect, select and reject resources and other influences relevant to their area of study. They enter an exploration phase in which students experiment and make meaning from what they have created. Students also present their work through the resolving phase. Projects are driven by students and they make decisions about the area of critical investigation that is explored.  Students are pushed to develop sophisticated work that is a visual manifestation of their philosophical, social, political voice.


#hardwork #integrity #excellence

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United Learning comprises: United Learning Ltd (Registered in England No: 00018582. Charity No. 313999) UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB.

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