The department is staffed with an experienced and highly qualified team of specialist teachers. There are two teachers who are joint Heads of department, one is full-time and the other is part-time, plus one part-time teacher. There is also a technician who also works in Design and Technology.
All Key Stage 3 study Art for one lesson a week, on a carousel system. Our course is developed for all abilities and progresses over three years. We begin in year 7 with a basic drawing course and progress to work that includes drawing, painting, printmaking, art history, mixed media work, studying colour, composition, line, tone, narrative and using the work of other artists and designers to inform our students work.
At GCSE students’ progress to follow the EDEXCEL Fine Art course. Students at GCSE have 2 ½ hours study per week. At GCSE coursework is 60% of marks and the final timed exam unit is 40%. The timed examination is 10 hours, and this follows an intensive period of preparation. In year 10 students visit the Victoria and Albert Museum for a day of visual research into pattern. In year 11 students spend the day at the Curwen Print study Centre near Cambridge, creating their own dry-point etchings and mono-prints. Results indicate that our students regularly achieve, on average, 1 grade higher than their target grades. 50% of students in summer 2016 achieved A* – A, 73% A* – B, and 93% A* – C.
At A Level there are two units of work in each year. In year 12, Unit 1 is very structured, to facilitate the transition from GCSE to A level. Students progressively work more independently into year 13. Results in summer 2016 were excellent, with 29% gaining an A*, 57% gaining A* – B and a 100% A* – C.
Every student’s progress is closely monitored by staff in the department, and we give detailed feedback on current attainment and how progress can be enhanced. Assessment is varied and work is assessed on a continual basis. All pupils are assessed at the end of the year with a drawing examination and progress is monitored initially from a Baseline Drawing in September of year 7, and then subsequently against individual targets. Continuous dialogue and feedback in lessons ensure that every pupil is aware of their current level of progress.
The department has two Art studios with wonderful natural light as well as a sixth form studio. The department is well stocked with a wide range of Art materials. At KS3 pupils have a sketchbook which is used for homework and some classwork. Throughout the years all students will work with inks, pastels and water-based paints. At GCSE and A level students will have the opportunity to work in mixed media, print-making, sculpture and oil paints. Work is ambitious and wide ranging, and each year we hold an exhibition of examination work to showcase the students’ achievements.
There are two after school art clubs a week on a Tuesday and a Thursday.