What we are trying to achieve with our curriculum

Art is a subject that effects everyone’s life, and early exposure to the visual Arts promotes positive activity in the brain. Students are able to develop their creativity, motor skills, confidence and decision making as well building resilient in their learning from correcting mistakes if they make them.

Art allows students the freedom to combine practical skills and creative thinking, developing highly valuable and transferrable skills for life. Art is a subject which can aid their emotional wellbeing as well as boosting their self confidence in the work they produce.



How we deliver our curriculum

KS3, Year 7 and 8 is about learning how to draw, colour and shade in and developing independent working skills. Students learn how to work with line, tone, colour, space and textures. Students experience a variety of media, techniques and processes. Students learn how to evaluate their work and target set to improve by using the SPADE evaluation. Students are encouraged to research artists, crafts persons and designers to gain inspiration and celebrate different cultures from around the world.

Year 9, Students develop their skills and understanding with progressive complexity and are able to develop their work to a higher standard. Pupils are encouraged to develop an awareness of artists in order to think of different ways of working and using different starting points for their projects.

The Art department promotes virtues in respecting each other’s work, being patient and learning how to show determination and resilience in lessons.

All pupils from year 7 to year 11 are given Art careers information and advice in order to make them aware of the various jobs and careers that can be achieved through taking GCSE Art in KS4.

KS4, Year 10 and 11.

Students follow the Art and crafts AQA GCSE curriculum, 60% is coursework and 40% is the final exam.

Year 10 and 11 students follow the 4 assessment objectives in their year 10 project and the year 11 project. To then do the final exam project at the end of year 11.

Students work from starting point themes and then research pictures to draw and work from using a variety of processes, materials and techniques.  Students are encouraged to work from themes that they are interested in or inspired by.



The difference that our curriculum makes to our pupils


Art allows pupils to be successful independent learners who express themselves of the experiences of the world around us through making Art. It promotes imagination and creativity and is taught through visual learning and visual thinking.

Art is cross curricular and gives a variety artistic skills which can used in other subjects around school.



Year 7 have one lesson of Art per week.

Year 7 start with learning the skills of how to shade in and draw.

During the first term there is a big emphasis on following the step by step learning approach and being positive about building up the basic drawing and shading skills.

The first theme is the space project, where we cover various pieces of work using the pupils’ imagination and the shading and smudging techniques. This theme is then taken into colour pencils, paint and pastels.

Year 7 then learn perspective drawing techniques in the summer term and we finish the year doing the artist project.

Year 8 have one lesson of Art per week.

Year 8 start the year with the portrait project learning about the proportions of the face.

The portrait template is done first and then the pupils draw portraits and use various materials.

Year 8 then move on to do the optical art project which is then taken into various design work.

The pupils also do two main paintings using sea world and the day of the dead mask designs as a theme.

Year 8 in the summer term do the perspective room project and the artist project.

 Year 8 do drawing and research through the year with extended learning tasks.



Year 9 follow the assessment objectives and build up a portfolio of work to make the first course work project. This includes recapping of all the basic skills and techniques in all drawing and painting work. This enables all abilities to access the subject and to build up confidence in using a variety of materials and techniques.

Year 9 follow the Art AQA exam board assessment objectives the same as KS4.




KS4Year 10 and 11 follow the Art and Design AQA exam board qualification.

Students study Art, craft and design 8201-8206

This title promotes learning across a variety of experiences and through various processes, tools, techniques, materials and resources to generate different kinds of evidence of working and outcomes. Emphasis is on an increased breadth of approach commensurate in demand with the other titles. The context of practice, rather than the breadth of activities and/or range of media employed, determines whether a student’s work can be described as art-based, craft-based and/or design-based.

Specification at a glance:

Component one: Portfolio 60%

A portfolio that in total shows explicit coverage of the four set assessment objectives. It must include a sustained project evidencing the journey from initial engagement to the realisation of intentions and a selection of further work undertaken during your course of study.

Component two: Externally set assessment 40%

Students respond to their chosen starting point from an externally set assignment paper relating to their subject title, evidencing coverage of all four assessment objectives.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE Art and Design specifications and all exam boards.

The exams and non-exam assessment will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.
  • AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.
  • AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.



The final, 10 hour, exam (component two) is completed at the start of the exam season in the summer term of Year 11.

Why study Art & Design?

This is a qualification that compliments other subjects from the sciences to the arts.  Art enhances fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, problem solving skills, lateral thinking, complex analysis and critical thinking skills. No matter what career you choose, those who can arrange, present and display material in a way that is aesthetically pleasing have an advantage.

During the course you will be able to work on chosen themes and topics that can be linked to your interests and hobbies.  You will be able to work creatively, independently and improve your artistic skills on a personal level.






The Art department displays a selection of the work done in lessons around school on various display boards.

We take part in various competitions and lots of cross curricular events through the year.

We also run an Art club every lunch time and after school for pupils to do work and research.

In the summer of 2018 a group of year 7 pupils took part in the Hepworth Gallery out and about project, which involved working and making sculptures on Heath common Wakefield, sculpture at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and sculptures at the Hepworth Gallery.

The Art department also does work which links to the Christmas story and the stations of the cross at Easter.

DID YOU KNOW? St Thomas à Becket celebrates their highest ever GCSE progress score! Click here to find out more