“Draw, Antonio, draw… Draw and don’t waste time!” – Michelangelo
“Remember, it’s your ideas that are important; the technique will come along with practice. So don’t be downhearted if things don’t always come out the way you’d intended. Sometimes it’s the mistakes that make us interesting and different” – Jim Kay
“I’ve never come up with an illustration that I think is finished or that I’m particularly happy with, but I keep trying” – Jim Kay
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” – Andy Warhol
“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Andy Warhol
Here at Rushey Mead we have an outstanding Art and Photography Faculty, which prides itself on producing excellent results for our students. We aim to build a strong foundation of creativity and knowledge, and to lead students to become questioning, imaginative thinkers within a supportive and nurturing learning environment. Ultimately, we hope to give students the space and freedom to develop their own artistic style and practice. We continually rejuvenate our activities, and have an on-going programme of updating schemes of work. Our teachers generate carefully sequenced lessons, which are research-based and supported by current educational thinking.
As subjects, Art and Photography are, above all – a celebration of visual culture. However, they also allow students to explore and develop the entire self, through their expanding engagement with the visible world. We feel it is vital that students explore a variety of media, and means of expression – both traditional and modern, and aim to introduce them to a wide range of materials and techniques with this in mind. Above all, we strive to create a culture of excellence, where students can achieve, and, importantly – where that achievement can be celebrated.
Supporting the learning needs of individual students is paramount, both in the classroom, and during our extra-curricular activities. Our KS3 students can access extra support through a drop-in homework clubs, as well as opting for creative workshops and mindfulness colouring. Throughout their course, GCSE students can attend additional supported study sessions focusing on their individual progress.
We encourage our students to develop a broader understanding of the Arts outside the classroom, and organise regular visits to regional and national galleries and museums, amongst other places of relevant interest. Visiting artists and lecturers extend our curriculum content yet further, as do practical workshops – both in the classroom and elsewhere. Our regular Art competitions also foster participating students’ individual responses to cultural and historical contexts beyond the mainstream curriculum.
The Visual Arts allow students an expressive, individual voice – with which to make a positive difference, both to themselves, and to the wider community. This is at the core of everything we do. We are proud of our Faculty, and even more so – of the students who study our subjects. We all work hard – and together we succeed.
Key Stage 3 Features and Summary
Our tailor-made curriculum is designed to help new Year 7 students to become KS3-ready. During KS3, students are encouraged to develop practical skills, whilst acquiring academic understanding and a wide range of key concepts and vocabulary. The solid foundation of learning delivered at KS3 forms a basis for further progress at KS4 – when students may choose between specialist Art or Photography options. Our curriculum seeks benefits for all our students, and through constant review – we strive to help our students achieve their full potential.
In a calm, composed learning environment, our students build creativity through the medium of sketchbooks. Our team of KS3 teachers have individual artistic interests and specialisms, and inspire students through whole-class and focused, 1-1 demonstrations, whilst also making art alongside students. Recording emotions, thoughts, interests and personality, through visual expression, becomes ingrained over the three years, with an emphasis on students making the sketchbook their own – just as a professional artist would.
Evaluation of their own strengths, builds each student’s confidence as they work towards mastery of a wide range of materials and techniques, including: pencils, inks, watercolours and printing. Expectations around behaviour, maturity and focused study are high from day one, and students thrive in the calm, constructive atmosphere this creates.
In year 7: We begin by investigating the Formal Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Tone, Colour, etc), which leads to investigating artists such as the Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh. Through artist research, analysis and personal reflection, students build an understanding of the work in question, as well as the social and historical contexts in which it was made.Students go on to look at still-life subject matter, and review pervious learning, in order to produce a final outcome – based on their year 7 experience. They acquire additional foundation skills and knowledge – including: dip-pen sketching, simulating texture, colour theory, and the drawing with the grid method. Through these experiments, students assemble a useful toolkit of techniques, by the end of Year 7.
In year 8: We explore the art and culture of Japan – both traditional and modern. Students respond through a variety of media and techniques, with emphasis on inks, watercolours and the use of washes. Through learning about another society, students explore cultural differences and investigate positive and negative aspects of their own. Drawing on motifs and repeat patterns typical of Japanese Art, they develop a piece of work that also contains some personal meaning.
In year 9: We investigate portraiture, and through that – the theme of identity. This project demands greater maturity and deeper thinking, and explores individual identity, our membership of a community, and our participation in wider society. Developing knowledge and skills through the study of German Expressionism and printmaking, students are challenged to employ the widest range of media available, to create confident, finished artworks.
The setting of consistent homework in Art subjects’ nurtures students’ key life skills. In harnessing time and resources – and becoming self-motivated and creatively expressive, they model the expectations of professional artists and designers. Independent research into a chosen artist’s work cultivates an understanding with the technical processes and themes involved. In this way, students can become independent, creative artists in their own right.
KS3 Curriculum Map & Knowledge Organisers
Key Stage 4: Features and Summary
The solid foundation of learning delivered at KS3 forms the basis for further progress for KS4 students opting to study specialist GCSE courses in either Fine Art or Photography. In both disciplines we begin year 10 by building on the concepts, techniques, acquired independence, learning habits and homework routines from KS3.
In GCSE Fine Art: Our students focus primarily on 2D media, in particular: drawing, painting, mixed-media, and print-making. Maintaining our existing high expectations, we push our students beyond their comfort zones and encourage more intensive engagement with a wider range of media, techniques and artists.
In GCSE Photography: Our students explore the ever-expanding world of digital media through studio and site-specific photography, experimental photo-manipulation, and editing software. They learn to use DSLR cameras and professional-level digital programs, and to direct their own photo-shoots, in a supportive, collaborative atmosphere. Using industry-inspired briefs, they build ‘digital sketchbooks’ to show their progress as creative photographers.
In Year 11: Our teachers facilitate each student’s sophisticated, and highly personal artistic journey. Active learning and self-expression are now routine, and students are prompted to ask questions, seek answers from teachers, and pursue their own independent research. They create a self-driven project that is their most personal yet. Choosing their preferred materials, artists and techniques, students become prepared for the fully-independent 10-hour practical exam, which concludes Year 11.
Our exam results continue to improve year-on-year and reflect the hard work and commitment of both our students and teachers. Many of our students go on to study creative subjects at A-Level – allowing them access to careers in such fields as Architecture, Illustration or Photo-Journalism, amongst many others. We also believe that the additional, transferable skills pertaining to our subjects, fit our students for future success. Evidence shows that employers value the independent, intuitive and innovative thinking skills – even where careers are pursued outside of the Creative Industries.
KS4 Curriculum Map & Knowledge Organisers
Assessment and Feedback
Assessment in Art subjects has been designed to promote steady progress and independence in our students, allowing them to become more confident and determined learners.
Our KS3 assessment process is a tiered and simplified version of the GCSE criteria, thus preparing our students for the challenges of the Fine Art or Photography courses they encounter at KS4. Students receive frequent feedback on their project assessment sheets, whilst verbal feedback supports their achievements in the classroom.
At KS4, we follow the OCR Exam Board specifications for GCSE courses which, are geared towards a thorough understanding of the Visual Arts. This is achieved through two components: An externally set exam accounts for 40% of the final grade, whilst a coursework portfolio accounts for the remaining 60%.
Useful Websites and Resources
Art Ideas: www.studentartguide.com
Sketchbooking inspiration: www.studentartguide.com/articles/art-sketchbook-ideas
Observation drawing inspiration: /www.studentartguide.com/articles/realistic-observational-drawings
Student talking through their sketchbook and experiences: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q_NU6qRI6A
Art GCSE Bitesize: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/subjects/z6hs34j
Further Reading KS3 Art – Link
Further Reading KS4 Art – Link
Art does not exist in a vacuum it links to so many other subjects. We are surrounded by visual arts and this impacts on us every day in our homes, when we walk down the street and when we engage with our surroundings.
Creativity is a key skill that can be developed and used in a variety of settings. Without creativity nothing would move forward, there would be no new inventions or new literature and media.
Art is integral to nature and links to both maths and science. Composition is mathematical and doing an observation piece is scientific.
The creative arts of music, drama and dance are rooted in compositional and visual theories.
Links to literature and geography and history help to put in to context art and artists. The spiritual and moral nature of the humanities and PSHE help to explain the human connection to the visual world.
Art is about expressing thoughts, feelings and ideas which is part of what makes us human. Cross curricular links are multifarious to art as art is both practical and deeply intellectual.
Stretch and challenge opportunities
Students have the opportunity to go on extra-curricular trips to relevant places of interest. Visiting artists and professional artists’ work enable students a broader and deeper experience of Art and Photography. Art club is on weekly for KS3 and KS4 in which students can be independently creative, catch up and improve work or follow more intensive skills demonstrations. We bring the Art gallery and museum experience to the students through loaning of artefacts and professional artworks.