Art and Photography

Joint Head of Department  - Mrs A Ashby and Mrs H Lee

Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact in Art & Photography


Introduction to subject

In the Art department we aim to nurture students’ creativity, by creating a positive and inspiring environment which is inclusive and supports every individual.  Not only is Art a vital component of a student’s wellbeing; giving them opportunity to express themselves, it is also a subject that helps us to understand and give meaning to the world in which we live.  For these reasons, Art is an extremely valuable subject.  We aim to provide students with a broad, diverse and engaging curriculum, enabling students to develop their artistic skills whilst at the same time broadening their cultural capital, helping them to understand British values and underpinning the three strands of the St Martin’s vision and ethos: ‘traditional values’, ‘learning for the future’ and ‘outstanding personal achievement’.

Art at St Martin's closely follows the guidelines of the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3, where all pupils are encouraged to work independently, experiment with a variety of materials and refer to other artists’ work.  GCSE and A-level students follow the AQA examination syllabus which offers opportunities for challenging, independent thinking; using personal experiences as inspiration as well as developing skills and techniques.

Photography is also offered at A-level and provides students with the opportunity to learn about digital photography and manipulation, as well as experimenting with more traditional darkroom photography techniques.

Why is the study of Art important?

“Learning through and about the arts enriches the experience of studying while at school as well as preparing students for life after school.  Arts subjects encourage self-expression and creativity and can build confidence as well as a sense of individual identity.” – Tate

Art allows students to build tools for self-expression, explore and understand their own emotions and the world around them, developing a visual language to express thoughts, feelings, ideas and observations.  Art helps students to build resilience through practice and refinement of skill, as well as promoting independence.  Art provides a language beyond that of academia, and allows all students, regardless of ability, to engage in and communicate through visual means, increasing confidence.

How does the study of Art develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?

Art develops versatility by promoting skills in a wide range of materials, techniques and processes including: drawing, painting, print-making, collage and 3D materials.  Students develop skills in problem solving and creative thinking, along with refining their fine motor skills.  Students learn how to be honest when analysing and evaluating their own work and the work of others, whilst increasing their knowledge, understanding, and empathy for other cultures, art movements, art styles, groups and people.  Students understand how to engage with artwork both through written, oral and visual means – exploring artists ideas and intentions within the work they produce.  Students develop time management skills by working to deadlines and organising their time to complete homework and projects throughout all key stages.  In KS3 students’ projects are based on artists, movements and other cultures that help to inspire the visual work they produce, whilst learning skills in a range of foundational fine art practices.  At KS4 and 5 students learn how to make more independent choices of the artists they study, in order to develop and refine their own artistic skills and develop a personal visual language.

How are students assessed in Art?

Students are assessed against the four Assessment Objectives, in line with the National Standard;   

AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.             

AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.

AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.                        

AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

At KS3 students are given a baseline assessment in September and then assessed mid-way and at the end of each project.  They are given marks within the GCSE grading scale W (working towards) – 9.

At KS4 students are assessed throughout their workshops and projects with a GCSE grade between 1-9 given at various stages of their course.  Final assessment is weighted 60% Personal Investigation (coursework unit) and 40% ESA (exam unit).

At KS5 students are assessed regularly throughout their workshops and projects with grades awarded between A*-U in line with the A-level National Standard.  Final assessment is weighted 60% Personal Investigation (coursework unit) and 40% ESA (exam unit).

Formative feedback and the feedback loop are an essential part of students’ assessment within Art.  With ongoing verbal feedback given during lessons, written feedback, regular self-assessment and dedication improvement and reflection time (DIRT), students are able to continuously improve their work and develop their skills to the highest possible standard.

How does Art support learning in other areas of the curriculum?

Within Art at KS3 students study projects that link to science within the year 8 “Cells” project; history within the year 8 “Giacometti” project; maths and DT within the year 7 “Cakes” and year 9 “1-Point Perspective” and “Portraits” project.  Across all key stages, Art supports learning in other areas of the curriculum by developing the following skills: project management, independence, problem solving, creativity, time management, resilience, patience, fine motor skills, emotional understanding and cultural exchange.

How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in Art?

Students can extend and deepen their knowledge in Art by attending art clubs in school.  There are various clubs that run at lunch and after school every week within the department, including a KS3 art club and various GCSE and A-level clubs for students to develop their coursework and refine their skills.

We run a variety of trips to deepen students’ cultural capital within the subject, including trips to London galleries and other areas of interest.

Visiting galleries and museums to experience art in real life will also help to extend and deepen students’ knowledge of the subject, alongside reading widely about artists, artistic movements and art techniques.  To help improve, refine skills and develop their abilities, students should practice art beyond the classroom, honing their knowledge of techniques and processes, and extending their control of materials.

How does Art link to the world of work?

The Art industry in the UK is an important one which provides many opportunities in a wide range of careers and vocations.

“Art and culture contributes £10.6 billion to the UK economy - the UK has a creative economy worth £27billion and culture brings £850million to UK, through tourism, each year”Arts Council England

Students who study Art may choose to pursue a career within the Art industry.  The mind-map below gives an overview as to just a handful of the many art careers available. There is more information in the ‘Art Careers’ link below.

By studying Art, students also acquire many transferable skills that employers value throughout many other areas of work, including creative problem solving, strong observational, research and analytical skills, the ability to develop individual ideas and collaborate with others as part of a team, and communication skills, to name a few.
The guide to great art on the internet
The National Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
Tate online
The Victoria and Albert museum
The Photographers’ Gallery
Photoshop Art
Contemporary Art Site