In the Art department, our curriculum is built on 3 pillars:

1.       That knowledge is important to all thinking in Art.

2.       That we understand new things in relation to what we already know.

3.       That retrieving knowledge helps us to remember it for longer.


‘Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings’ Salvador Dali

Art can embody some of the highest forms of human creativity, our curriculum is brave, ambitious and creative, it is designed to ensure that all our students are able to achieve and make progress, we stretch and challenge, adapt and develop, express and experiment.  We aim to engage, inspire and challenge our students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art. 

The Art curriculum is critical and contextual at its core, it is designed so that students can build up from the formal elements and refine, develop and build upon their skills as the key stages progress, we place a high value upon the importance of drawing. Students investigate ideas through the visual language, exploring techniques, materials and processes through their own practical work. 

As students progress throughout key stage three they will be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of Art and the world around them, at key stage four students are encouraged to think as an artist and be creative, experimental and ambitious with their sustained units of work.  

The curriculum engages students to explore how Art both reflects and shapes our history as well as investigating the contemporary, how it contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our society, in doing so students are able to see beyond the analytical and realistic and consider/explore the conceptual.  Our curriculum develops the use of the visual language by seeing, understanding, questioning and practising, their own work this supports them to become articulate, confident and expressive developing skills and confidence in oracy and rhetoric while forming opinions and an understanding of Art throughout history and today’s society.

Students learn to think and act as artists working creatively and intelligently.  We build a passionate and reflective pupil through our curriculum to have a brave approach when developing skills with media and their techniques, using the physical act of art as a tool for looking, experiencing and learning.  Understanding and applying the formal elements of art across all disciplines: line, shape, form, tone, texture, pattern, colour and composition are vital in underpinning creative work and successful students and this is reinforced throughout the curriculum.  We are committed to nurturing resilient, ambitious and curious students who will embed creativity in their own futures, careers and everyday life.

Overarching concepts

  • Resilience – trying something more than once and conquering setbacks.
  • Safety and safe working practice – using tools and techniques safely and responsibly.
  • Culture – a vast range of cultures, creative endeavours within them and their disciplines
  • Cross Curricular – Interconnected with history, literature, mathematics.
  • Proportion and Scale – mathematical approaches in Art
  • Formal Elements – showing understanding and application of line, tone, texture, pattern, shape, form, colour and composition
  • Observe and record – mark making and drawing
  • Explore and respond – experimenting with media and their properties
  • Refine and Reflective – vocalise, visualise, annotate and present findings.
  • Describe and analyse – how and why?
  • Independence – identify own strengths and weaknesses
  • Artistic Journey – starting point to final conclusion.

Key Staff

  • Leader of Art - Mrs K Whitter
  • Art Technician - Mrs J Pilkington 

Art lessons at Ash Hill Academy have a number of important goals…

  • To be first and foremost a pleasurable, creative and imaginative subject to study.
  • To enable pupils to become visually literate, to use and understand art as a form of visual and tactile communication and to appreciate the work of Artists, Craft persons and Designers.
  • To develop pupils’ capacity for imaginative and original thought and experimentation and to communicate ideas, opinions and feelings about their own work and that of others.
  • To develop pupils’ creative and technical skills so that ideas can be achieved and artefacts produced.
  • To develop pupils’ capacity to observe and understand the world.

Project Disciplines

The following skills may be covered during the study of the GCSE course:

  • Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Print making, 3-D Studies, Textiles.

Exam Boards & Qualifications

GCSE Art and Design

KS3 Details

At Key Stage 3, pupils study various topics in Art in a single 1-hour lesson per week. Year 7 and 8 are split into theme and skills based projects, running for multiple weeks to build up skill, resilience, Art and Design understanding and practise.

All projects are presented and evidenced in a Sketchbook, which the students are responsible for respecting, looking after, maintaining and handing in on time, especially if taken home to work in. 

Year 7: The Introductory Year

Art and Design Department Curriculum Aim:

The projects in Year 7 aim to give a broad introduction into as wide a variety of media, techniques and processes as possible. Introducing drawing, collage, painting, ceramic, lettering/graphics and critical studies through theme based projects, aiming to provide students with a base on which to build in Year 8.

Art in Year 7 is split into three themed projects:


Autumn Term 1 (16 weeks)

Levelling Project: Drawing, Designing and Colour

  • Observational drawing
  • Designing and imagination
  • Colour Theory

Spring Term 2  (15 weeks)

Project 1: Initials; Identity

  • Lettering design
  • Personal interests, identity and likes
  • Contemporary accessories

Summer Term 3 (13 weeks)

Project 3: Franz Marc Animals

  • Sketchbook
  • Tone
  • Painting and colour mixing
  • Artists research and analysis
  • Animals and habitats

Year 8: Consolidation

In Year 8, two further theme-based projects (designed to be more demanding), develop, embed and build upon the skills introduced in Year 7. Towards the end of Year 8, projects attempt to extend students further to give the best chances of success in core skills. By the end of Year 8, students should have the skills and the confidence to tackle Key Stage 4 courses in any of the Art and Design disciplines on offer within the Ash Hill Academy Art Department if they so wish.


Autumn Term 1 and Spring term 2a (22 weeks)

Project 1: Illustration Techniques

  • 'Doodling'
  • Stylisation
  • Liz Pichons 'Tom Gates'
  • Anime
  • Impact of colour
  • Monotone

Spring term 2b and Summer term 3 (22 weeks)

Project 2: Cultural Art and Hawaii

  • sketchbook
  • Tone
  • Observational Drawing
  • shells and fish
  • Zen-tangles
  • Hawaiian Masks, landscape and culture
  • Print making
  • Wet and dry media
  • Surfboards and flip flops

Getting GCSE ready (13  weeks)

Options; additional focus and Home learning preparation for KS4

Up to the HOD/teachers decision as to what work is set, as a mini-task for KS4 preparation. This is offered as a home-learning opportunity or enrichment in the summer term alongside the taught classroom project.


KS3 Home Learning

All Key Stage 3 Projects are supported by a creative Home Learning programme which encourages creativity outside of the art room. The home-learning projects are designed to promote literacy, creativity and encourage learners to work with their families and carers to support their home-learning.

Students may be set longer mini-homework projects, which may take several weeks to complete, or may be set homework to complete a class-task already started. This will gauge independent learning and consolidation of the skills previously taught in lesson.

KS4 Details

Art and Design is an optional subject at Key Stage 4. Work at GCSE is designed to comply with the AQA syllabus. This is a two Unit course. The syllabus for Art and Design is Unendorsed Art & Design.

During the course learners are required to compile a folder of work consisting of three to four projects for coursework portfolio Unit 1. This is followed be an externally set assignment, including a 10 hour independent work period for Unit 2. The assessment criteria are the same for each unit but the coursework portfolio counts for 60% of the final mark and the exam counts for 40%.

Art and Design is an experience based, highly creative and personalised course. Learners will be given lots of opportunity to develop their own skills, ideas and themes whilst facing many interesting, creative challenges. We aim as a Department for all learners to learn positively through enjoyment of the subject.

During all creative courses learners will be: 

  • Recording in a wide range of materials and techniques
  • Exploring visual language
  • Researching and developing resources 
  • Exploring personal responses to your own and set themes 
  • Creatively using visual media including digital media and computers 
  • Exploring contextual work from contemporary and historical sources
  • Presenting your work to a high standard, applying your visual communication skills

The following project themes may be covered during the study of the GCSE course; Sea Life Vessels, Kandinsky, Messages, Diary, links, Old decayed and destroyed, Word and Image, West African Decoration, Reflections, Natural Forms, Movement.

KS4 Home Learning & Assessment

Home-learning will link to projects and will be set at the teacher’s discretion where it is relative to the needs of the learners.

Assessment at GCSE for Unit 1 and Unit 2 work will be marked against the AQA syllabus Assessment Objective criteria.

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