These are the exploratory and experimental years, building the corner stones of confidence using materials and media influenced by artists and cultures. We ensure that pupils study ways of recording and exploring through drawing using a range of media in the first stages of their project.
The Art Curriculum at DGS is designed to ensure the most significant areas of study across this vast subject are explored in breadth and depth at KS3. 2D visual language is the bedrock of artistic skill and, through studying this chapter thoroughly, we are able to both improve technical skill and introduce the formal elements to learners across a range of discipline, genre and artistic style. By working through the process of project work, learners are able to contextualise their skills within a meaningful process and understand the value of iterative design. 3D visual language enables students to investigate a multi-modal approach to learning and experiment with malleable materials through the application of real texture, as well as learn how to construct and join materials together.
These three main areas of study also encompass interleaved lessons to include: discussing and analysing the work of other artists (contextual studies) and sharing success and learning from each other.
In Year 7 the learning for 2D visual language is centred on 'objects' and in year 8 we progress to 'compositions and collections'. This ensures that students are able to use prior knowledge and skills to develop a deep appreciation of 2D visual language. In Year 7, 3D visual language is centred on clay modelling and in year 8 students revisit clay but also progress to work with paper and card manipulation and paper mache. In year 7, students work on a project designed to explore non-western art through mask making and Islamic pattern. In year 8 the project work retains its focus but we explore non-western art through Photography and 3D calligraphy. Students have a wealth of opportunity to use, revisit and implement a wide range of skill, medium and material across this key stage.
Meeting the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students
The Visual Arts as a suite of subjects offer a rich opportunity to engage pupils with special educational needs or disability through multisensory and multi-model enquiry. Art teachers use dialogue and meaningful interactions to reach every learner in their care. We have a department mantra of ‘every child is an artist’ and through this we nurture freedom of idea and expression for all. The use of ‘bookmarking our learning’ models successful annotation techniques and, through careful teacher modelling, all students are able to reflect meaningfully on their work in written form.
Homework for Years 7 and 8 is set as and when necessary, and typically includes research that can inform project work or prepare students for the next steps in their learning. In Art we will sometimes ask students to embed their skills and practise techniques they have learnt from class.
We have developed a feedforward style of assessment in Art, meaning that all advice is timely and focused on the next steps. This is mostly orchestrated through whole-class observations; particularly when we are practising a new technique or retrieving and developing existing skills. Students will complete a feedforward sheet and note the advice that they have received for reference and future use. Group critique and group discussion ensure a collaborative approach to success; it’s important that students know how success feels as well as how it looks.
There are two Art subjects at GCSE level: Fine Art and Graphic Communication.
Both subjects are endorsements of the Art & Design specification but retain highly individual areas of study. The courses are 100% coursework.
Fine Art embraces both technical skill and concept, resulting in rich and diverse projects which are full of personality. There are no limitations to the materials that can be used to express ideas and students enjoy the freedom to select and refine their material techniques whilst working closely with their teacher.
Fine Art is for students who wish to further their understanding of:
- lens-/light-based media
- photography and the moving image
- mixed media
- land art
The course places high value on independence and our teaching spaces are supportive environments for ideas to flourish and grow. All students are celebrated, with their diversity enriching the school through vibrant displays in our gallery spaces.
Graphic Communication offers students the chance to extend their skills in working to a theme. Projects are centred on a stimulus designed to spark conversation and unlock creative ideas. The Graphics studio is an intimate space surrounded by computers, printers, art equipment and exciting displays. The space looks similar to a design studio to allow students the chance to collaborate and share ideas freely.
Graphics is for students who wish to realise their ideas in a graphics outcome which could include:
- advertising and branding
- package design
The course content is explored through project work and this includes a range of observations, research, experimentation and the generation of a final piece.