Art & Design/Photography


Curriculum Intent

The Art and Design and Photography curriculum at The Archbishop’s School is ambitious and inclusive for all.  

All schemes of work help students to become familiar with a diverse range of artists, craftspeople and designers that reflect a range of different backgrounds and cultures.

Students are facilitated to experiment with creating responses using a variety of media and materials that highlight the breadth of the creative arts. This encourages learners to develop knowledge, skills and understanding of how to visually communicate their ideas.

At the core of our curriculum are the four assessment objectives or AOs:

  • AO1 – Research, develop ideas
  • AO2 – Select, experiment, refine
  • AO3 – Observe, record
  • AO4 – Present, finalise

Students are introduced to these assessment objectives from the beginning of their learning journey in Year 7. These AOs act as establishing blocks for students to build upon as they progress throughout their studies from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5. 

Lessons present opportunities for students to discuss the wider issues that relate to society and contemporary life as students are introduced to the Key Concepts within Art and Design. This dialogue also encourages students to form links between ideas and processes with careers in the creative fields. Competitions, co-curricular clubs and trips build commitment and allow for students to flourish and fulfil their potential at all key stages.

At Key Stage 4 and beyond, students develop specific creative behaviours and habits that enable their practice to become increasingly independent and high attaining.

Students expand upon the knowledge, skills and understanding of the four AOs gained in Key Stage 3, to explore media and materials in greater depth and with sustained focus.

Learners become imaginative and inquisitive when developing personal ideas and outcomes are regularly discussed in collaboration with peers to help analyse and evaluate.

Students are encouraged to be resilient and persistent in their investigations as they are challenged to take risks with an emphasis on trial and error and the importance this has on positive creative development.


Curriculum Implementation

Our departmental vision is built upon five key teaching strategies that enable all students to flourish and succeed creatively.

  1. Champion exceptional outcomes by modelling best practice using student and teacher exemplars across all Key Stages.

This will be evident in:

  • Demonstrations that scaffold tasks and set high expectations. These can be live or via pre-recorded, bespoke videos.
  • Student and Artist-teacher sketchbooks showing visual outcomes at different grades.
  • Professional artist practice via video links
  • Workshop opportunities in galleries and with visiting artists.
  1. Imbed the four assessment objectives across all Key Stages in the curriculum.

This will be evident in:

  • Consistent referral to the assessment objectives that are being covered in tasks and their wider importance.
  • Lesson objectives will be clear, and tasks will be broken down to encourage students to access content and achieve.
  • 1:1 and group discussions about the specific AOs being evidenced and the importance of this in developing their work and attainment.
  • Opportunities to continue to work out of lesson in the studio environment.
  1. Develop a multi-disciplinary approach so students can make independent choices on concept, media and materials whilst developing confidence on how to effectively create and evidence work.

This will be evident in:

  • Students being introduced to a wide range of media and materials from Y7 onwards that includes painting, drawing, 3D, sculpture, design, graphics, textiles, digital, photography.
  • Informed choices about media and materials.
  • Discussions about bigger ideas and SMSC questions within Art and Design and in reference to our Key Concepts within Art and Photography. 
  1. Foster resilience in students by encouraging risk-taking and experimentation with an emphasis on trial and error and the value this process has on development.

This will be evident in:

  • A positive working atmosphere through praise and proactively dispelling misconceptions about practice needing to be “perfect”.
  • Discussing examples of student projects that have included work not going to plan.
  • Critiquing work collaboratively to problem solve.
  1. Plan for students to effectively progress and encourage independent learning through a range of focused resources that help students understand each step of their learning journey.

This will be evident in:

  • Sharing timelines, calendars, and plans in advance so all students are aware of course expectations, timings and key assessment dates so all students can envisage the full course and plan effectively to progress.
  • Teaching students to understand how to effectively use tailored resources including the Annotation PPT and Project progress sheet.
  • For KS4 and KS5 students, individual targets that are regularly tailored and updated to reflect progress and ambition.


Curriculum Impact

Our students strive, flourish and achieve ambitious, unique outcomes.

Students understand that visual communication is a powerful and empowering tool that has numerous applications across the creative and other industries.

Consistent formative, summative and self-assessment enables learners to be reflective about their academic progress and to become motivated to achieve further.

At key stage 4 and beyond, students make autonomous decisions about the materials and skills they choose to develop in-depth.

Students take ownership of their learning journey and take pride in their work as they investigate and evaluate their practice.

Visual literacy enables students to make wider links in their learning by analysing contemporary and historical artwork and discussing the bigger impact of these contextual sources.


Art & Design Learning Journey

Examination Board: Edexcel Syllabus: 1AD0

Student guide for Art GCSE

Is this the right subject for me? This course is suitable for those of you who:

  • Enjoy making art
  • Enjoy the work of artists and designers
  • Enjoy learning new process
  • Enjoy visits to galleries, museums, workshops and studios.

What will I learn?

The GCSE course covers a range of activities and in-depth assignments. You will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of media in order to explore your strengths and preferences. Whatever you choose, the main aim of the course is to develop your visual language skills and for you to build a personal portfolio of work to progress to further courses or employment. You will have the opportunity to specialise in one discipline of your preference after being introduced to many processes and approaches through workshops or work in a variety of art practices such as fine art painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, drawing, collage etc.

How will I be assessed?

Edexcel’s GCSE Art and Design is made up of 2 units.

  • Unit 1: Personal Portfolio in Art and Design – internally set and marked; assessed through controlled assessment. 60% of overall mark
  • Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment in Art and Design – theme set by EDEXCEL and internally marked. 40% of overall mark. Each unit is assessed separately out of 72 marks. It is standardised by the Art department and then moderated by a representative from the exam board at the end of the course.

What can I do after I have completed the course?

On completion of your GCSE Art and Design course, you could progress to further education. Courses include:

  • BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design.  There are one and two-year courses available.
  • Specialist Diploma in Creative Media
  • GCE A Level in Art and Design or Photography
  • This course will also demonstrate your dexterity and you will have a portfolio of work that will evidence your ability to pursue a two-year GCSE course in Art and Design, covering different assignments and producing a range of work. This may compliment your applications to take apprenticeships or other courses, in local design offices, graphics companies and retail, web, design and other practical based careers.

For further information, please contact Miss C. Thomas - Lead Teacher for Art and Design: