We encourage students to take risks and to learn from their mistakes.
We nurture a deep engagement in the learning process that requires students to take ownership of their work, invest in it and extend themselves. We are passionate about art and dedicated to enabling each student to achieve their very best, guiding where it matters and giving freedom when it is needed.
In art, students create from scratch, learning how to generate ideas, and developing their self-reliance and ability to solve problems. The subject develops higher order thinking skills through the process of interpretation and creation. While students receive support from us at all stages, art is by nature a self-directed discipline, which helps develop students’ ability to think and work independently.
- A breadth of experience in two and three dimensions, broadening their practical skills and creative language
- An understanding of the formal elements of art
- An appreciation of art history and the context within which art is made
- An opportunity for the personal expression of their imagination, through thematic work
- Learning journey - Years 7-9
Students begin with foundation skills and techniques and become increasingly independent.
In the Lower School there are two distinct broad-based themes. In Year 7 pupils look at the idea of still life and in Year 8 landscape and cityscape. Students explore a range of approaches, the focus being on the foundation elements of tone, line, form and colour. They learn techniques within printmaking, painting and drawing, 3D sculpture and digital media.
In Year 9 the broad based theme is the body. Students develop ideas based on identity, the figure, inner body and relationships. Projects in Year 9 are designed to stimulate creativity and individuality whilst building on previous foundation skills within drawing, painting, printmaking, digital media and sculpture. Year 9 homework gives students greater opportunity for independent thinking, and they are encouraged to take part in group discussion where they can feed back constructive ideas. Year 9 study provides a toolbox of techniques in preparation for GCSE.
- Learning journey - GCSE
Students learn to develop their own ideas over a sustained period of time, experiment with a variety of media and gain a greater understanding of art through contextual studies.
GCSE Art is made up of two units which together make up the GCSE grade.
- Art and Design Portfolio (60% of the GCSE) – two major projects that represent several weeks of work. Pupils move between disciplines; outcomes are always varied and often involve a variety of media. Coursework takes place during Year 10 and the Michaelmas term of Year 11.
- Art and Design OCR Set Task (40% of the GCSE) – an early release paper with a choice of themes, written and visual starting points and stimuli. Pupils choose one starting point and develop and plan ideas prior to the exam. At the end of this period pupils undertake a 10-hour controlled assessment where they create their planned final piece.
- Providing stretch
For pupils who would like to go beyond the curriculum, we offer a reading list and recommend exhibitions to visit.
Recent visiting artists who have run workshops for our students include Sarah Rooms Heaphy, who works with clay, fossils and natural forms; watercolour artist Paul Draper; Ella Robinson, who works with unexpected textile materials; John Clark, a figurative painter and ex creative director for Sony Games; and Alvaro Tamarit, an assemblage artist.
We take pupils out on a variety of trips and workshops including visiting museums and art galleries in London, including the Science museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Academy, Saatchi Gallery, and the Royal College of Art Show. We also work closely with other organisations locally to create and exhibit art, including a recent project to create a work for the new ‘Aura’ development by Countryside Properties.
We feel it is imperative that pupils view artwork first-hand and we encourage all of them to visit galleries in their free time.
- Beyond the classroom
We run several lunchtime clubs for budding artists. Pupils can create their own illustrations in the weekly Comic Club, learn how to make animal sculptures from clay in Ceramic Club or join Craft Club for the chance to have a go at jewellery making, embroidery and book-binding. In Christel House Club children create literacy resources for kindergarten children at Christel House India.
Pupils can view up and coming competitions on our ‘News Board’. We enter pupils into various national competitions, including The Saatchi Schools Award, The Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition and The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society Award, which can lead to work being exhibited at the Mall Galleries.
We also run regular school competitions, which include the Lower School Arts Festival, Easter Eggs Design and Christmas Card Competition and The Heller Prize for Creative Arts.