Subject Overview

"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun." Mary Lou Cook.  

The Art and Design Department is based in two large studios with access to computers in both. There is an area for the kiln which is required for firing any ceramic work and both rooms used have ample display boards to exhibit a range of pupils work. A range of art work is also displayed around the school on wall skins or in display cabinets to share the work created in the department as well as the gallery area attached to the website. Teaching staff within the department are key members in the creation and development of a network in the Birmingham area for art educators which provides close links with a number of local galleries and creates opportunities for pupils to work with a range of artists.

The Art and Design Department delivers a broad and balanced curriculum that encourages and enables pupils to develop their creativity, confidence and their visual communication skills. Pupils develop practical skills by working in both two and three dimensions using a wide range of media. They develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject by researching artists and designers across different times and cultures and experimenting with a range of materials and techniques. Pupils are encouraged to use their own sketchbooks through the development of the projects with final pieces of work being produced separately across a variety of scales and media. The KS3 curriculum is designed to develop and build upon a range of skills. The formal elements of art and design are the basis for a range of projects which look at line, form, tone and colour. Within the department pupils are encouraged to develop greater confidence and independence as well as using their imagination and creativity in a caring and stimulating environment where the individual needs of students are addressed.

At KS4 pupils are expected to work more independently if they choose to study Art and Design at GCSE Level. Pupils study Fine Art or Art, Craft and Design with AQA Examination Board and are required to produce a portfolio of work. In Fine Art pupils are expected to work across at least two coursework projects whilst in Art, Craft and Design pupils must study at least two areas from  Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Textiles Design, Three-dimensional Design and Photography  (worth 60% of their GCSE grade) as well as a terminal examination (worth 40% of their GCSE grade). All of their work is assessed against the four assessment objectives AO1 artist research; AO2 testing and refining use of materials and ideas; AO3 observations and AO4 presenting a personal, informed and meaningful response.  

Year 7  

Year 7 begin looking at the use of tone and colour with an emphasis on improving accuracy.  As the year develops Year 7 move on to develop their skills by studying colour and form, and learn to develop patterns through paper cuts in the style of Henri Matisse. 

Year 8

Continue to look at the formal elements of tone and form but also begin to develop their technical skills with cross curricula use of maths and accurately using a grid to improve accuracy of observation. As the year continues Year 8 are introduced to clay with a contemporary project making graffiti style relief name plaques which are then brightly followed by a project referring back to the 20th Century based on Pop Art. Pupils study a range of techniques inspired by a range of artists to develop skills across a range of materials which leads into a choice of working styles to supporting greater independent and offering them increasing options about their choice of materials and outcome. 

Year 9   

Year 9 pupils are introduced to GCSE style projects to give them a taster of the expectations at GCSE and inspire and encourage them to take the subject in KS4. The projects are inspired across a range of cultures and art movements and focus on developing greater skills in the use of form, tone and the accuracy of their drawing, as well as developing their design skills linked to career options in Art and Design. The projects include an illustration project entitled “Animals and Environments” inspired by the illustrations of Daniel Mackie followed by a project using clay to develop their three-dimensional skills further based on the theme of identity. Pupils are encouraged to develop greater independence creating more individual pieces of art work as well as developing resilience and developing creativity across a range of materials.

Year 10 GCSE Art, Craft and Design

This title promotes learning across a variety of experiences and through various processes, tools, techniques, materials and resources to generate different kinds of evidence of working and outcomes. This course is being delivered by three specialist teachers focusing on Fine Art printmaking; Textile design and Three-dimensional design offering flexibility and providing students with the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills across different areas. 

As part of the students’ knowledge, understanding and skills they must explore and create work associated with areas of study from at least two titles listed below.

  • Fine art
  • Graphic communication  
  • Textile design 
  • Three-dimensional design 
  • Photography 

Assessment is by Component 1: Portfolio of Work (Controlled Assessment) 60% and Component 2: Externally Set Task 40% with each component being assessed out of a maximum of 96 marks.

Component 1: must show evidence of working in areas of study drawn from two or more of the titles taking into account the distinguishing characteristics of art, craft and design. 

Each student must select and present a portfolio representative of their course of study. The portfolio must include both: 

1 A sustained project developed in response to a subject, theme, task or brief evidencing the journey from initial engagement with an idea(s) to the realisation of intentions. 

2 A selection of further work resulting from activities such as trials and experiments; skills-based workshops; mini and/or foundation projects; responses to gallery, museum or site visits; work placements; independent study and evidence of the student’s specific role in any group work undertaken.

Component 2: Externally set assignment release in the January of Year 11.

AQA will provide a separate externally set assignment for each title, each with seven different starting points. Students must select and respond to one starting point from their chosen title. The externally set assignment provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate, through an extended creative response, their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding in response to their selected starting point which is completed with 10 hours supervised time.

Year 11 GCSE Fine Art GCSE

Art and Design provides students with a wide range of creative, exciting and stimulating opportunities to explore their interests in ways that are both personally relevant and developmental in nature.

We offer AQA GCSE Fine Art which is a two unit specification which enables pupils to develop their ability to actively engage in the processes of Art and Design – to build creative skills through learning and doing, to develop imaginative and intuitive ways of working and develop knowledge and understanding of media, materials and technologies in historical and contemporary contexts, societies and cultures.

Assessment is by Unit 1: Portfolio of Work (Controlled Assessment) 60% and Unit 2: Externally Set Task 40%.

Candidates are required to work in one or more area(s) of Fine Art, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas:

  • Painting and drawing
  • Mixed media, including collage and assemblage
  • Sculpture
  • Land art
  • Installation
  • Printmaking: relief, intaglio, screen processes and lithography
  • Lens-based and/or light-based media and new media: film, television, animation, video and photography.

It is a strong foundation for further progression to Art and Design related courses such as A-level Art and Design and enhanced vocational and career pathways.  

Year 10  

Pupils in Year 10 have the option to use a wider range of materials than at KS3, and are encouraged to experiment and build up their skills across a range of materials and techniques. This experimentation is designed to offer a variety of experience, which they will be able to draw upon in Year 11 and follow the specification for GCSE Fine Art.   

Year 11  

Year 11 pupils are required to work independently to create an individual and meaningful response as their work builds towards their terminal exam. Each pupil is encouraged to produce a project which reflects their own interests and therefore supports their personal creativity and independence in preparation for life after GCSEs.

2018 GCSE Art Gallery

2018 Art and Design Gallery

Please use the links below to view galleries from previous years.

2017 Art Gallery

2016 Art Gallery


Across all key stages the Art and Design we offer a range of extra curriculum activities such as lunch time and after school clubs as well as gallery visits, working with artists and entry into competitions to encourage pupils in their creative learning.

(Reviewed September 2018)