• Head of Subject: Mrs L. Swift
  • Year groups taught: Years 7 to 13

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see

Edgar Degas

As Art teachers, we are often asked what Art is any good for? We always reply, “Could you really imagine a world without Art?” No creative advertisement signs. No pictures in children’s books. No designs on packaging. Try and imagine what life would really be like if Art did not exist, just how dull would the world be?

In the words of Michelangelo, ‘A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.’ Studying Art is a great way to develop imagination and become an independent thinker. Students learn about artists and art movements and how to analyse paintings and objects. They will explore the formal elements of art and develop technical skills in a variety of media culminating in the creation of original compositions. Art allows students to develop their imagination, curiosity and engagement with the world around them.


The Art department is comprised of specialist Art staff and Art rooms. The large open plan classroom is divided into two main work spaces each with interactive whiteboards and an extensive range of equipment to teach painting and drawing, print-making, ceramics, sculpture, and digital media. We have several computers equipped with art and design software, cameras and a kiln. The rooms have been vibrantly decorated with a combination of student work and informative Art displays.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Structure of lessons
Art in Key Stage 3 is focused on short projects which develop basic 2D and 3D skills. Students develop their understanding of topic related study, learning how to analyse imagery and evaluate the work of artists and related art movements in order to help them to create their own style. Year 7 Art is also a chance for students to learn basic skills and techniques and build their confidence working with a range of materials. Lessons have a strong emphasis on individual tuition with class discussions and practical demonstrations taking place regularly. This should hopefully ease students into the vast world of Art and allow them to be comfortable with the skills, so that they can start using their own creative imaginations as the year progresses.

Every child is an Artist

Pablo Picasso

Topics covered
Year 7 begin the Autumn with a project introducing them to the formal elements of Art and Design where they look closely at each of the key design principles such as line, tone, colour and form learning a variety of basic techniques. They continue to develop these skills in the spring focusing on ‘Portraits’ where they look closely at the Fauvism art movement and learn how to draw a self-portrait step by step. They complete their studies in the summer term sketching and painting landscapes.

The skills students will learn this year are

  • Painting skills – accuracy and control, mixing colours, creating tints and shades
  • Basic drawing and shading skills
  • Line and linear drawing techniques (e.g. crosshatching)
  • Facts and information about artists and art movements
  • Watercolour painting skills

Year 8

Structure of lessons
Art lessons in Year 8 are practical task orientated with a strong emphasis on individual tuition. Class discussions and practical demonstrations take place regularly. Year 8 Art is a chance for students to apply the basic skills learnt during year 7 and use a range of techniques and materials to begin creating their own pieces. They will begin to look at several artists and art movements in more depth and use this to inspire their own work. They also begin to evaluate their own and others work in more detail and begin forming opinions about different types of Art.

Topics covered
In year 8 students focus on exploring art work from different cultures. They begin with a project inspired by the circus and fairground taking inspiration from decorative and abstract art. They will design their own carousel horses and produce a clay tile design. In the spring and summer terms they will move on to examining art from around the world with a real focus on pattern and technique. Students will ‘visit’ Mexico to examine day of the dead masks, Africa to create textile patterns and Australia to design their own aboriginal animals. In the summer term they will collate all their ideas to produce a final piece representing their understanding of the cultures studied.

The skills students will learn this year are

  • How to create interesting illustrated mind maps.
  • How to blend and create depth with coloured pencils.
  • Painting skills – accuracy & control / mixing colours.
  • More advanced drawing and shading skills.
  • Facts and information about a range of artists and cultures

Key Stage 3 assessment
Students are assessed by Baseline testing at the start of Year 7 and 8 to monitor skills and knowledge gained. Individual feedback takes place throughout lessons in relation to expected levels and achievement and artwork is marked and graded, with comments written outlining WWW and EBI. We encourage the students to self-assess their work and also provide constructive critique for their peers. This skill is essential in art and we like the students to do this using key vocabulary in order to expand their critical understanding and prepare for art at KS4.

Key Stage 4

  • Qualification: OCR GCSE Art: Art, Craft & Design


Students in Year 9 begin their GCSE Art course by developing and honing their skills. They will study observational drawing, watercolour painting, pencil shading and rendering techniques together with gaining a more in-depth knowledge of Art history focusing particularly on 20th century Art movements including Pop Art, Surrealism and Expressionism.

Year 10 students learn how to structure their research and development skills and begin to create a portfolio of work on a chosen title or theme. In Year 11 GCSE Art students refine and complete their projects and complete a final design piece. In the January they are issued with an Externally set task which will be submitted with their portfolio to the OCR Examiner for marking and moderation in the summer term.

The skills and qualities Students need to succeed in this course are
The over-riding quality needed to study Art is a love for the subject. You will also need:

  • Patience & Perseverance
  • Determination to succeed
  • Ability to keep practicing skills
  • Independent learning, research and analytical skills.
  • Ability to evaluate and critically analyse your own and others work.
  • To understand the importance of working to Timescales
  • To create the quality and quantity of Artwork required to successfully complete the GCSE qualification.

Students are assessed by

GCSE Art students are monitored and assessed against their expected sub level grade for each Term. Individual feedback takes place throughout lessons, in relation to anticipated minimum grades and achievement using the four OCR assessment objectives. Artwork is marked and graded, with comments outlining ‘what worked well’ and ‘how designs and skills could be improved to further raise grades’. A Mock Exam is set and graded in year 11 to conclude the portfolio element of the GCSE. The final GCSE set task is a 10 hour (2day) exam which is marked internally and moderated by OCR examiners.

*The GCSE Art qualification comprises a portfolio of work (60% of the overall mark) and an externally set task (40% of the overall mark.)


What might Students study after this?

On successful completion of the GCSE Art qualification, with students gaining a Grade B or higher, the AQA A Level Art: Fine Art option is the next pathway, followed by a Foundation Course at college and/or Degree Level study at University.

Possible careers

Studying Art at GCSE and A level is a stepping stone to a career in Art and Design or Teaching. Many of the Art students at The N.E.W. Academy have furthered their studies by completing Foundation Courses at Art Colleges, but the majority have been accepted directly onto BA Degree courses at Universities around the UK. Courses such as Architecture, Textiles, Fashion, Footwear, Jewellery, Furniture, Ceramics, Glass, 3D, Graphics and Interior Design are a popular choice, as are Fine Art Degrees which incorporate Sculpture, Printmaking, Painting, Drawing and Photography.

For more information contact

Mrs L. Swift (Head of Art)

See also

Other subjects in Performance, Arts and PE: