At St James’ Blackburn Church of England Primary School, we are all budding artists! Consequently, we want all of the children in our care to develop a passion and commitment for art, developing their independence, initiative and originality. Each child is exposed to the skills and experiences to allow them to think and act like a creative practitioner, whether that be a graphic designer, illustrator, curator or print maker. Children have the opportunity to build on their knowledge and understanding of art to inform, inspire and interpret their own, or other artist’s ideas, observations and feelings, whilst developing their own creativity along the way!
The art and design curriculum has been carefully designed so that our children develop their artistic capital. We want our children to remember their art and design lessons in school; to cherish these exciting memories and embrace the extraordinary opportunities they are presented with! For example, each year the whole school takes part in the George Grunshaw art exhibition. Every year the school sets a theme linking to the world around us. This year however was slightly different due to the Corona Virus pandemic, but the competition still took place, just adapted to meet the health and safety regulations. The competition was held over the online platform Microsoft Teams and children were still able to express their creativity, while at the same time honing their resilience and independence when learning creatively.
Art and Design is a way of children being able to express themselves. It allows all children the same experiences, regardless of their academic capabilities. Art and design has the ability to use visual language skilfully and convincingly to provide children with the opportunity to express their emotions, interpret observations and convey an insight into their individually. This provides children with a safe learning environment to promote their mental health and wellbeing.
As a school, we want to equip all children with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the art and design National Curriculum, but also prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. We want children to use their local area to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, cooperate with one another and appreciate what they have. For example, Year 3 focus on the Manchurian artist L.S. Lowry during the Spring term to influence their mixed media paintings.
The Art curriculum has been created to ensure that high standards of teaching and learning are taking place across the school. Art is taught every other week throughout school, focussing on one topic every term, covering objectives stated in the National Curriculum. As a school, we find this teaching approach works well in comparison to teaching art in blocks, as it allows adequate time for the subject to be taught and ensures the children’s knowledge is secure and is being retained into their long term memory.
The art curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression. Children will be able to access a curriculum which will allow them to gain a coherent understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Key vocabulary and key learning is supported by a ‘sticky knowledge organiser,’ which supports multilingual children with their vocabulary acquisition and understanding to support their learning and understanding throughout each topic.
A scheme of work has been created for each topic which highlights and outlines the objectives for each art lesson. The schemes of work focus on providing all children with engaging activities and resources; to help children to achieve each national curriculum objective. Each lesson typically starts with an enquiry question followed by a previous knowledge quiz which is linked to the objective and the previous lessons learning, to ensure that the children understood the objective and are able to apply their learning and understanding in order to enhance their learning. Children have the opportunity to explore and practise the art skills and techniques involved in the topic in their own sketch books, where they record and evidence their own work. Children then have the opportunity to revisit ideas before producing their final piece. This sequence of learning is followed for each art and design topic. Plans are adapted regularly based on the children’s’ needs and the vast majority of art lessons are taught discretely, with meaningful links made across subjects where appropriate. For example, in Year Six the children focused on the English artist Paul Cummins, and created their own collaborative sculptures of poppies in his own style; this linked to their Spring History topic of World War II.
As a school, we believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their own learning. Within each year group, art strands are revisited in a progressive manner to ensure that children have the opportunity to build upon previous skills and knowledge, especially during these unprecedented times.
At St. James’ we measure the impact of our art curriculum by assessing the topics termly, with both a formative and summative approach. Staff will use this information to inform their short term planning and tailor plans to meet the children’s specific needs and interests. These assessments are collected frequently and analysed as part of the monitoring cycle which informs future planning, so that provisions can be adapted accordingly. Continual assessment of art allows us to provide the best possible support and challenge for all children and ensures we have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in art. Additional assessment tools include: Prior Learning quizzes, End of Unit quizzes, Challenges, Pupil Voice, marking of sketch books and Book scrutinises.
By providing an art curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth knowledge of local and national artists, craft makers and designers, articulate their likes and dislikes for a piece of art and leave with a fondness and love of art, remembering their inspiring art lessons and experiences in school. Pupils will be resilient and independent artists having gained the skills and knowledge needed to produce a final piece of art work in a range of styles and with a range of media. They will have the ability to draw confidently, explore and invent marks, develop and deconstruct ideas and communicate through purposeful drawing in 2D, 3D or digital media.