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Art and Design


The Art Curriculum at Abbeyfield has been specifically designed with content to develop and strengthen students’ creativity, visual literacy, problem solving skills, cultural and contextual understanding of the world around them. The curriculum aims to strengthen students’ independent thinking, critical and analytical skills, motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness. The content has been selected to underpin these areas and challenge all students at all levels, at all times. 

Art is a key subject in providing character education to support students’ wider development.  Studying a curriculum in Art and Design improves a student’s memory, motor and concentration skills, decision making, interpretation and critical thinking skills, enhances communication and listening skills, but also encourages focus and discipline. We believe an Arts education can also support a student to improve self-esteem, perseverance, accountability, collaborative and social skills. 

Key Stage 3 

The curriculum in Year 7 introduces students to the formal elements in Art and builds understanding of these through practical application and cultural and contextual connections. In Year 8 we continue developing skills through exploring experimental techniques and application, and deeper approaches to design development and refinement.  Learning points are tailored to enable individual responses and more autonomy with work.  Critical and analytical skills are developed through critique and evaluative work in order to strengthen the understanding of the Art elements and is backed up by independent research into specific artists and art movements that explore the key foci of the broad theme and smaller topics, thus firmly embedding the formal elements. 

In Year 9 all foundation and formal elements are consolidated and extended through projects that mimic the GCSE coursework folder of work.  Drawing, experimentation, contextual learning, development and refinement and the realisation of a final piece enable students to extrapolate the knowledge and skills learnt and developed previously and begin to understand the GCSE criteria.   

Key Stage 4 

We follow the OCR syllabus and currently offer Fine Art and Graphic Communication at GCSE. Coursework is completed during Y10 and early part of Y11 and is 60% of the qualification. 

In Year 10 students put into practice all the skills that they have acquired through a large coursework portfolio that extends, challenges and enables mastery of the year 9 format in an autonomous way. Students will critique and critically analyse their work in order to independently further the practice with sophistication and refinement. 

In Year 11 students will demonstrate mastery through a selected theme in the exam paper and produce an independent study that demonstrates their knowledge and skill. The ESA is worth 40% of the qualification. 

Key Stage 5 

We follow Edexcel and enter students for Fine Art. This allows them to demonstrate skills in drawing, painting and printmaking. Students are encouraged to work on much larger scale work and are introduced to oil paints early on in Y12. All work is included in the portfolio and students can select personal themes to explore in depth. They produce a personal study up to 3000 words to demonstrate their analytical skills and contextual knowledge. The Portfolio is worth 60% of the qualification and ESA which starts in the Spring of Y13 is worth 40%. 


We offer Open Studio twilight sessions for Key Stage 4/5 students. Historically we organize a gallery trip to London to launch the exam themes with Y11 and Y13. In the Summer term we are likely to launch a KS3 Art Club which was extremely popular last year; we regularly plan art competitions as part of the college system. 

Students are actively encouraged to do independent art work outside of lessons and we are keen to offer ideas, support and feedback if individuals need it.