Art & Design
Not everyone can create great art, but everyone can be absorbed in the creative process. This involves research, recording, experimenting, questioning and responding.
It is our vision that all students develop a positive experience of art and the creative process and gain a belief in their own artistic and creative ability.
Our intent is:
- to develop an appreciation of the importance of the creative process
- to experience a wide range of materials, skills and process
- to develop the ability to communicate ideas and carry out independent research
- to learn to explore ideas, media, processes and take risks without a fear of failure
- reference the work of other artists and designers to inform and develop ideas
Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 & 9)
In Year 7 students develop their understanding and experience of Tone, Texture, Colour, Line and Composition. They experiment with a variety of media and gain the confidence to improve skills and the quality of finished pieces of work. Within the projects, students are also introduced to the work of other artists and encouraged to build up their use of art vocabulary in order to develop their critical analysis. Observational studies through drawing and photography are a key element of the course.
In Years 8 & 9 students continue to be taught in mixed ability form groups, building on their previous skills, using a thematic starting point and making more personal responses through individual research and planning. They continue to experiment with a wide variety of drawing and painting media and techniques and also have the opportunity to experience printing and 3D work. In Year 9 students follow a scheme of work in the style of a GCSE project. The themes selected in Year 9 make links with other subjects and allow students to bring their own interests to the work. They have the option of working collaboratively with their peers.
Key Stage 4 GCSE (Years 10 & 11)
Students may opt for GCSE textiles or GCSE fine art; both are vibrant and exciting courses with a strong emphasis on practical work and the key elements. These GCSE courses are an integrated programme of practical and critical study, in which creative work in a variety of media is informed by the study of works of art, craft and design from different periods and different societies.
Assessed coursework is carried out throughout the two years covering a wide range of skills and media. Painting, photography and digital imaging, screen-printing, etching and lino-printing, batik, 3D, clay work and constructed textiles are all areas of specialism covered by the staff within the department. Students have an opportunity to make their work very personal and are encouraged to develop their strengths in their preferred media. A sense of pride is encouraged through the use of sketchbooks. By visiting art galleries and exhibitions they gain the valuable experience of seeing work at first hand. The course culminates in a celebratory exhibition of all students’ work.
Key Stage 5 A Level (Years 12 & 13)
We offer A level courses in fine art, textiles and photography. We encourage an adventurous and enquiring approach to these subjects. Students are expected to produce artwork that embraces a range of ideas and demonstrate an understanding of past and contemporary art and design practice. The A Level courses provide a strong foundation for further study in Art, Craft and Design and related art disciplines such as architecture, graphic design, fashion and fashion media. Many of our students go on to study at Prestigious Art Colleges. However, we do not view art as a purely vocational subject but one that also develops intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive powers and critical analysis. These are transferable skills, desirable in many careers and industries.
Students’ work is displayed in the art studios and all other areas of the school throughout the year, giving students a sense of pride and achievement. Large canvases of A level work are displayed in the hall and key stage 3 have their own display area in the dining hall. Students’ work is published on the ‘praise postcards’ and featured in the school Christmas cards each year. In the summer term we have exhibitions of GCSE and A Level work, which is open to the public.
We frequently exhibit students’ work in various venues in Harpenden alongside other schools in the area.
The art studios are available at lunchtimes and after school for students to continue class work, ask for help or develop their own creative ideas. Throughout the year, we offer short workshops after school, which focus on specific skills and processes. A weekly well-being art club is available for year 7 and a popular Warhammer club take place at lunchtime.
We have set days when GCSE students use the studios to develop work and have support from their teacher. We provide studio space for A level students whenever possible during the day when they have study periods.
We invite professional artists/designers/photographers and alumni students in to share their experience and provide workshops for GCSE and A level students.