‘At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important.’
M C Escher
The Art department aims to encourage all students to develop their creative, imaginative and practical skills. We teach a broad and balanced programme of art, craft and design activities. Project ideas develop primarily from direct observation but also from experiences, imagination and memory. Preparatory studies evolve into work in two and three dimensions and on a variety of scales. Students experience a wide range of media and processes and enjoy exploring their qualities. Projects at all levels are inspired by the work of artists. Analytical skills develop through the Key Stages as does a critical visual vocabulary with which students express their own judgements. Students are challenged by the tasks that are set and expectations are high. They are supported by enthusiastic staff as they build confidence, create individual responses and reach their potential.
The Art curriculum is enriched with an extensive programme of museum and gallery trips and visiting artists. AS candidates begin their course with a one day workshop of drawing from a professional life model. The department is increasingly involved in cross-curricular events and projects such as the local Saint Georges Day Parade. Students benefit from numerous opportunities to enter Art and Design competitions in school and on a National level. The annual summer Art exhibition is celebrated during a Private View when sixth form students are joined by friends and family to celebrate their achievements. This event is regularly attended by the Mayor of Gravesham and the local press. A lunch time Art club is open to all KS3 girls who enjoy practising and extending the skills that they have learnt in their lessons.
Art is a popular choice at GCSE and A level and students perform well in external examinations. A large number of our sixth form students continue to study Art and Design at Foundation and degree level.
Key Stage 3
The KS3 course fulfils the requirements of the National Curriculum attainment targets and provides a solid foundation of skills. All projects develop from observation drawing and are informed by an exploration of the work of artists, designers and craft workers. Students will build a repertoire of specialist vocabulary with which to critically analyse and to express their own judgements. The sketchbook is introduced as a means to collect and record observations and to develop ideas through preparatory studies.
- Year 7 lessons focus on developing a foundation of basic skills. Students will begin by working from direct observation then will experience a range of materials and techniques. The focus in the first half of the year is on still life. Students will build a repertoire of drawing skills whilst exploring the formal elements line, shape and tone. The second project is inspired by a visit to The British Museum where students research Art from another culture. Images will develop to conclude with a relief or three-dimensional final piece.
- Year 8 lessons focus on an exploration of the formal elements colour and texture. Colour mixing and colour theories will be applied as more experimental work evolves. Students will work from a variety of starting points and build on the key skills learnt in Year 7 using an extended range of techniques including mixed media.
- Year 9 lessons focus on an exploration of the formal elements form and space.
The first project investigates techniques to create the illusion of depth. The principles of perspective will inform the creation of interiors and exteriors. The final project revisits observation drawing of the traditional still life, allowing students to apply the technical skills that they have accumulated. This enquiry based project encourages independent learning as students select their own theme and have greater freedom in selecting appropriate media and techniques. The Year 9 course prepares students for GCSE. By the end of the year, students will have an appreciation of the journey a project takes from the starting point through to the final outcome, they should be willing to take risks and will be able to review, refine and modify their own work.
Key Stage 4
We follow the AQA GCSE course and enter students for the Fine Art endorsement. Students gain experience in a wide range of materials and approaches which may include a combination of printmaking, textiles, graphic design and sculpture as well as painting and drawing. The GCSE course is open to all students who show interest, enthusiasm and commitments to work in any area of Art.
Students will study the work of a range of artists, designers and crafts people as an integral part of each project. Students will visit a gallery to carry out research in both Years 10 and 11. In addition to working imaginatively and expressively, the course also develops skills which are transferable to other areas of the curriculum. Among others, these are problem solving, observation, interpretation and presentation. The GCSE course opens opportunities for further study, either in the sixth form at A level or at a University or College of Further Education.
Key Stage 5
We follow the Edexcel A level course and enter students for the Fine Art endorsement. The AS and A2 courses are each made up of one extensive coursework unit and an Externally Set Assignment. The overarching title for the AS coursework is chosen during the induction week in July. This is applied to still life and the figure during an intensive first term of work. The life drawing element is introduced through a day of life drawing from a professional model. The AS course commences with an induction programme which introduces the major skills required by the A level. The theme for the A2 coursework is self directed and takes the form of two closely linked areas, the practical element and the personal study (an illustrated dissertation). In each unit, students are required to produce an extensive portfolio of supporting studies, a journal in which ideas develop and two final outcomes. Students further their depth of artist research during a group gallery visit in both Years 12 and 13.
The AS and A2 courses develop the students' visual language and key communication skills. Students further practical skills in a range of Fine Art media and processes, initially working from observation, before specialising in a chosen area. They are encouraged to take responsibility for the development of their own ideas and to gain independence in their learning as the course progresses. Through a sustained investigation, students show sequential thinking and evidence of self-review. The artist research element requires students to be critical in their analysis of Artwork and to show an understanding of context.
An A level in Art and Design is well respected by universities and future employers as it demonstrates creative ability. Many forms of employment require or consider qualifications in Art desirable.