Why is the Art curriculum as it is?

Art is a creative gift to people and it is an aesthetic element that is integral to life and that can transcend cultures and generations. It enables expressions of joy, of thankfulness, love and hope and also of sadness, cruelty and despair on behalf of others and self. Art equips us for action, and influences us in our daily lives.
Through artistic creation, display and appreciation of art we can enrich others’ and our own lives, and convey issues and the artist’s understandings symbolically in aesthetically beautiful ways. Artistic creations can bring us a distinct kind of knowledge and insight of no lesser significance than those coming from other fields of study. In so doing, Art can serve God and our neighbours as well as our own needs. However, Art can also be used to promote destructive values and for propaganda –against which we need to guard, through being able to discern and critique its intent and provenance. Art can profoundly represent real life, and wise artists can be agents of reconciliation.

At Bede Academy, we recognise the importance of Art in every aspect of daily life. As a foundation subject, in the Reception and Primary Years all objectives are at least as ambitious as The National Curriculum for Art.

Our aim is to give all children the opportunity to explore different Artists, materials and methods to become creative- Substantive knowledge is developed to ensure our students are secondary ready for the freedom to creative their own independent and individual artwork. Key concepts are built on and re-visited in order to ‘make it stick’. This model allows children to build on prior knowledge and increases their enthusiasm for topics whilst embedding this knowledge into their long-term memory.

Disciplinary knowledge (creative skills) are embedded into each topic the children study and are re-visited and developed throughout the school. All children are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations of techniques used by a range of artists, evaluating and comparing artwork and artists and using the skills they have learnt in their Art lessons to create their own artwork.

Specialist vocabulary for topics is taught and built up, and effective questioning to communicate ideas is encouraged. Concepts taught should be reinforced by focusing on key features that artists use in their work, so that pupils learn to use a variety of techniques to create a piece of art. We encourage children to have freedom to use a technique or media in a creative way and different way from the artist, to give them the freedom to use their imagination.

The Key Stage 3 curriculum is based upon building solid foundations of strong drawing skills that can be used to underpin development of new media and processes. By promoting a desire for realism through different genres of art including still life, portraiture, world cultures, architectural form and food students are empowered to record and observe in detail. Creativity is fostered through open-ended homework tasks and promotion of student-led material experimentation and increasing independence to reflect and evaluate on work to develop personal responses to projects. Techniques are revisited and extended through connected processes and routines, building students’ visual language and critical vocabulary through a diverse range of contextual reference points, artists and movements.

Key Stage 4 and 5 expands on the content of Key Stage 3 to explore broader themes and issues in the world around us. For example, natural form can recognise and celebrate the natural beauty of God’s creation, but can also be used as a vehicle to highlight and provoke thought on topical issues such as climate emergency, endangered species or plastic pollution. Students are increasingly supported to explore such themes of their own volition, and to go beyond aesthetics to explore deeper meaning in their work. Media and processes become more specialised to suit students’ developing personal styles and voices. By Key Stage 5 students are expected to be self-led in their studies with their own critical vocabulary being expressed through personal projects of substance linked into the ethos of the department and wider Academy.

As sense of community is promoted within the department from the use and respect of shared equipment and resources with health and safety paramount. As a developing art practitioner students are empowered to critique and reflect on each other’s work in a supportive and constructive manner with strong elements of collaboration and teamwork built into the curriculum. Best practice is shared and celebrated within the department and throughout the wider Academy community through displays in Art classrooms, corridors and shared community areas such as the Sixth Form bistro. Enrichment links expose students to wide ranging art within the locality, with strong links developed with local galleries, artists, museums and community projects. Northumberland and the North East has a rich and diverse landscape and visual heritage that is celebrated to raise self-esteem in students’ work within the context of a vibrant art community of the north east. Links to other subjects and cross-curricular projects have transcended subject boundaries including Art and Engineering exhibitions, image and prose in the Forge project, and ARTiculate and ARTiculation projects, supported by the English department whilst community projects such as Elmer’s Great North Parade promote the all-through aspects of the Academy linking Primary with Secondary years.

Values to be developed include: respect for truth, compassion for poor / disadvantaged, respect for others, cooperation, validity, authenticity, meaningfulness, discernment, expressiveness, beauty, sensitivity to others, perseverance, coordination, precision in observation and action, good judgement and interpretation, accuracy. Within lessons and across broader units of work students are challenged to extend their skills and take creative risks. Not all can be successful outright with tenacity and resilience a key aspect of character development within the subject. Intellectual character development is increasingly demanded with each Key Stage as ideas, skills, processes, techniques and deeper meaning are explored in more depth and substance. Students character and mindset is seen as a vital part of preparing students not only for progressive Key Stages but equipping them with a skill set that will empower them beyond the Academy, in further and higher education, in employment and as responsible citizens as part of a community.

Subjects include GCSE Art and A-level Art

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Year 12
Year 13