Visual Arts

Through our rich, exciting and challenging curriculum, our intention is to equip our students with a repertoire of practical skills that can be applied to a wide range of art and design practices regardless of their prior experiences or skills gained at Primary school. We encourage our students to have high aspirations, experiment and explore media, materials, techniques and processes, and not be afraid to make mistakes but to experience art in a fulfilling and meaningful way, irrespective of natural ability.

Lessons are designed to offer a mix of direct instructional teaching and personal investigation, so students can see how we model the tasks and techniques before having the opportunity to explore them in their own individual way. KS3 learn the fundamental concepts of the visual language (line, tone, colour, texture, pattern, form and shape) and how to apply these to different situations and activities, many of which cut across a range of eras, art movements and cultures. The breadth of our Art curriculum is designed to be progressive; we develop skills and knowledge that gradually prepare students for study at GCSE level, where they are then able to hone their interests by specialising in one of the varied disciplines we offer. GCSE is all about individual interpretation, so through our specially designed programmes of study, students apply their prior skills and knowledge whilst also learning a whole range of new ones. We fully embrace developing a growth mindset and encourage measured risk taking and exploring a wide range of media and techniques to help strengthen students’ resilience and perseverance; we foster a culture where making mistakes is the norm and a central and important part of the creative process. In doing so, students also gain self-belief because they are not hindered by the fear of failure. All of these experiences prepare them extremely well for future study at A-level where they build upon the years of study at GCSE and acquire more advanced and sophisticated skills and knowledge; fundamentally setting them up to be able to access an Art Foundation course at college, or a specialised degree course at university. In addition to all the skill acquisition gained, we also develop student independence throughout the 7-year programme. By GCSE we expect our students to take more responsibility for their own learning and engage in more peer-to-peer support. Students quickly learn to offer each other advice and guidance which helps them to refine their practice through a culture of mutual respect.

Understanding the context of Art is also integral to our practice. Unique to Crossley Heath, our very able students thrive in this creative subject with similar high academic rigour to that seen in Core subjects; thus, we teach our students about the History of Art and how it fits into the development of different disciplines and practices. They learn how to “read” art and develop the ability to analyse in detail, write fluently and discuss eloquently with genuine interest and insight. Visits to local, national and international galleries helps students to fully appreciate Art at first hand and we are passionate about instilling a culture of inquisitive learning into our practice.

We strongly believe that the development of art skills is a journey and not a destination and we encourage our students to be open-minded, to give everything a go and be persistent in their pursuit of personal exploration.


Visual Arts at Key Stage 3


 Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 7Impressionism & Beyond:
An introduction to one of the most influential Art movements of the 20th Century, Impressionism.
Through practical tasks, learn about mark making and begin to develop tonal skills.
Learn about Pointillism and sgraffito and produce more personal responses using observational and landscape drawings for inspiration.
Fauvism & Landscape:
Learn about the Art movement Fauvism and how this was born out of Impressionism.
Learn about colour theory and develop painting skills through the production of a colour wheel and other associated painting tasks.
Develop photography skills to create visuals that will develop into oil pastel studies and eventually collage.
Into Abstraction:
An introduction to ‘abstract art’ looking specifically at both Cubism and Futurism, movements that feature in the Post-Impressionist period following on from Fauvism.
Learn about portraiture, including an understanding of the proportions of the human face. Develop tonal skills in order to render 3D facial qualities accurately.
Develop photography skills and learn how to create abstraction through both collage and Adobe Photoshop techniques.

 Term 1 & 2Term 2 & 3CREATE Lesson
Year 8Constructing the Future:
Out of the Post-Impressionist period and the era of abstraction, came art movements such as Suprematism and Constructivism.
Learn about architecture within this project underpinned by the ideas of these art movements. Learn about British-Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, and use Islamic pattern to inspire design work for a series of constructed products in 3D media and materials.
Manipulating Reality:
This project aims to enhance students’ mark making and colour theory skills, knowledge and understanding from Yr7 whilst studying the next two major art movements, Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism.
Learn to develop design ideas and produce outcomes using a broad range of textile techniques and processes. Outcomes will include a cover for a children’s story book and a 3D character.
Pop & Op Art:
The final project looks at two art movements that emerged later in the 20th Century, Pop and Op Art. Learn about several artists and respond to varying styles of work. Outcome to this project aims to enhance students’ three-dimensional skills and provide them with an opportunity to work in a team. Learn to produce a card constructed 3D letter then use Adobe Illustrator to create a tessellation pattern to decorate the front of their letter. Group outcomes will be presented as Pop Art, onomatopoeic words.

GCSE Curriculum Years 9 – 11
The course allows students to explore and develop skills in 4 different disciplines within Art and Design. Students explore Fine Art, Photography, Textile Design and Graphic Communication in their first year before choosing to pursue one of these areas. The diverse nature of our curriculum at GCSE has been developed to support the individual needs of our students, allowing them to specialise in an area of particular interest and strength.
Fine Art is defined “as the need to explore an idea, convey an experience or respond to a theme or issue of personal significance.” It includes; drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media.
Photography is defined “as the practice of producing images using light-sensitive materials such as photographic film, or digital methods of development and production to create static or moving images.” It can include; portraiture, location photography, studio photography, experimental imagery, documentary photography, photo-journalism, moving image: film, video and animation.
Textile Design is defined “as the creation of designs and products for woven, knitted, stitched, printed or decorative textiles that might have a functional or non-functional purpose.” It can include; art textiles, fashion design and illustration, costume design, constructed textiles, printed and dyed textiles, surface pattern, stitched and/or embellished textiles, textiles for interiors, digital textiles and installed textiles.
Graphic Communication is defined “as the process of designing primarily visual material to convey information, ideas, meaning and emotions in response to a brief” and includes communication graphics, design for print, advertising and branding, illustration, typography, and animation.

Year 9 projects are designed to assist in the developing of students’ practical skills, building on what they have learned in Yr7 and 8, and providing the opportunities to work with a wide range of media, materials and using a variety of processes and techniques. Students explore the 4 discipline areas following 4 different schemes of work: ‘Sweet Tooth’ (Fine Art), ‘Logo Maker’ (Graphic Communication), ‘Exploring Colour’ (Photography) and ‘Cells’ (Textile Design).

This preliminary introduction to each of the 4 discipline areas is supportive of the Year 10 project (The Elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water), when students select their discipline of choice for the remainder of the course. Within the Yr10/11 project, students begin to apply their developing skills and learn how to construct an extended investigation leading to personal outcomes in a project devised specifically for their chosen specialist area. Year 11 is split into two parts; in the first half students will complete the extended project started in Year 10) and then at the start of January they will embark upon the preparation for their final Externally Set Assignment (exam).


A-Level Curriculum
Visual Arts is a popular subject for students wishing to further develop, enhance and explore their art and design skills at a more advanced level. The four discipline areas offered at GCSE are also on offer at A-level and they are run alongside one another which makes for an interesting mix of students, projects and activities taking place in lesson time. There are a range of teaching methods employed from workshop sessions, peer-assessment and group critiques, lectures, individualised practical sessions and one-to-one tutorials. Students will gain a full breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding in their chosen specialist field, which will enable them to execute high quality personally developed outcomes.
The course begins with a diagnostic period for students to consolidate some of their GCSE skills whilst also learning the requirements and expectations of A-level study. Time will be spent learning how to write analysis to a deeper level of insight, which will benefit the writing of the extended essay. In addition, students will also receive a one-hour Art History lesson each fortnight to learn about the context of Art from the Italian Renaissance, right through to Modern Art.
Lessons in the Visual Arts studios are always relaxed and enjoyable with strong teacher-student rapport. Students are also welcome to use the studio spaces, equipment, tools and materials in their own free time and study periods.


The Enriched Curriculum
Our commitment to whole-school intent is underpinned by a range of extra-curricular opportunities across Years 7 to 13. The Visual Arts studios are always open at lunchtime and after-school for students to come and extend their skill set, or to simply get on with their project/coursework. A wide range of Art clubs, which have included textile/craft, graphic design, ceramics and photography, have been on offer in previous years and continue to be very popular.

Trips and visits organised and led by the Visual Arts department provide a great way to develop our students’ Cultural Capital. Year 7 students have the opportunity to go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to learn about various artists, analyse work and study sculptures through drawing. Year 9 students visit Liverpool Tate gallery to expand their knowledge of Art, while Yr12 students have been fortunate enough in the past to experience a trip to Berlin to visit several historic and contemporary Art, Design and Photography galleries.

Pastoral care and individualised support are real strengths of the Visual Arts department. Differentiated resources and tasks are commonplace across the curriculum providing effective scaffolding to support individual needs. This is coupled with lots of regular feedback and personalised tuition which enables students to make gradual progress and ultimately achieve to their full potential.


5 Year Curriculum Plan(s)

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