Staffing of the department

Mrs Irvine – Head of Department
Ms Grogan – Teacher of Art

Educational philosophy/Aims of the curriculum

Children see before they speak, make marks before they write, build before they walk. But their ability to appreciate and interpret what they observe, communicate what they think and feel, or make what they imagine and invent, is influenced by the quality of their art, craft and design education.

Art education at St Ursula’s encourages pupils to explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to communicate ideas and meanings. They work with traditional and new media, developing confidence, competence, imagination and creativity. They learn to appreciate and value images and artefacts across times and cultures, and to understand the contexts in which they were made. In art, craft and design, pupils reflect critically on their own and other people’s work, judging quality, value and meaning. They learn to think and act as artists, craftspeople and designers, working creatively and intelligently. They develop an appreciation of art, craft and design, and its role in the creative and cultural industries that enrich their lives.

Through the teaching of this subject we aim to give children the opportunities and skills to be able to experience and enjoy being creative. To express themselves, and their ideas, in a variety of materials and processes. To build on their skills, knowledge and understanding by improving their control of tools, materials and techniques. Teaching them to develop their ideas from imagination and a variety of starting points, such as images and artefacts. To explore the work of artists, craftspeople and designers and the art and craft of different cultures and ages.

KS4 curriculum

GCSE pupils follow the AQA GCSE Art & Design (Fine Art )specification. KS4 pupils continue their art education through structured and self-led projects. They are encouraged to take risks with their work and to further develop a range of skills through investigation and experimentation during their projects. Pupils will study various themes enabling them to respond with personal ideas whilst using the work of others’ to guide and inspire their work’s journey.  Pupils’ art studies are enriched with regular gallery visits.

KS4 Programme of study

AQA GCSE Art & Design (Fine Art)

Portfolio Projects: Unit 1 Controlled Assessment

Extended Project theme: Emotion  – This unit explores emotion and expression in art. Pupils are introduced to new and varied art techniques whilst improving their skill level in areas studied at KS3. Emphasis continues to be on strong observational skills and exploration through experimenting and risk taking in their practical work. Pupils will study a range of artists’ work and are expected to develop their project work independently as the project progresses.  The extended project is broken down into units which ensure the GCSE pupils can evidence a wide range of techniques and media in their portfolio.  Work will include experimental drawing techniques, collage, canvas painting, relief and 3D work, clay studies and printmaking.

Exam style project – Past exam paper themes are set to promote and develop independent learning resulting in more personal and meaningful outcomes for the pupils’ PPE exams.  Projects are structured to ensure pupils experience an exam project prior to receiving their ESA paper in January of Year 11.

Externally Set Assignment: Unit 2 Exam task

ESA Exam Project – AQA exam board set exam paper. Pupils have a range of starting themes to choose from and develop a self-led project ending in the 10 hour GCSE exam.

Students are expected to take the initiative and work independently. A great deal of their artwork must be completed outside the classroom. They should spend at least two hours a week on their homework and are given the opportunity to attend ‘after school art club’ two evenings a week. Homework must display an enquiring mind, an eagerness to explore and excellent observational drawing skills.

Make up of exams – overview

AQA GCSE Art & Design (Fine Art) comprises of two units – Personal Portfolio (60% of GCSE grade) and Externally Set Assignment (40% of GCSE grade).

Personal Portfolio:

2 projects completed during Years 10 and 11. Project 2 will include a final piece produced for the PPE Exam under exam conditions.

Externally Set Assignment:

The Exam (and PPE Exam) is ten hours long spread over two days. Students have a substantial preparation period beforehand in which to experiment with ideas, media, and processes and include the work of other artists and cultures. Year 11 complete their final exam in April/May.

Special requirements

KS4 – Art GCSE pupils need to have a range of materials for homework completion. We suggest:

  • Acrylic paints
  • Watercolour paints
  • Colouring pencils
  • Sketching pencils (2B, 4B, 6B)
  • Oil pastels

The art department gives GCSE pupils the opportunity to order art materials packs throughout their GCSE course.

Links to useful sites for KS4 students, parents and members of the public