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The North School

Creative Arts

Subject Overview

Creative Arts at The North School offers a platform for students to become creative thinkers. It teaches them transferable sub skills that benefit all areas of the curriculum. Our students work in a highly a stimulating environment where their work is valued and celebrated.
In art lessons, students are engaged and motivated by practical activities. We place a strong emphasis on developing observational skills, using materials, techniques, analysis and evaluation.  We encourage risk taking through experimentation, enabling students to learn about materials, to be resilient and develop their ideas independently. Through the study of artists and other cultures, students are introduced to challenging social and emotional issues which they are able to explore visually and through speaking and writing.


The schemes of work at Key Stage 3 are designed to guide pupils through the four ‘Progress Objectives’ that define learning in Art lessons and through homework: Generating Ideas, Making, Evaluating and Knowledge as outlined in the National Curriculum for Art and Design.

All planning is designed to establish good working practice and a strong skills base, whilst nurturing individual interpretation and self-confidence. Each year group has a different focus and subject, which is part of three years of accumulative learning. During this time, pupils explore the potential of materials, techniques and processes, and develop skills in the selection and handling of materials, as they make increasingly knowledgeable discriminations in their creative choices. Their work at Key Stage 3 introduces pupils to the project-based accumulative learning of both GCSE and A level Art.

All aspects of pupils’ learning are supported with appropriate examples of work by artists, crafts people and designers.

Year 7 Objective

This year offers an important foundation course and the basis for all learning in Key Stage 3. We teach pupils to look and record accurately through two and three-dimensional tasks, including drawing, mark-making, printing, painting and model making.

Year 8 Subjective

This year is designed to ensure pupils have subjective learning opportunities and increasing creative independence, based on previously learned and new skills. The emphasis is on looking, recording, evaluating and designing. With inspiration offered by historical art movements, portraits and the human form, pupils are encouraged to create abstract responses while developing their technique and increasing confidence when using different media.

Year 9 Emotive

This year is designed to ensure pupils have opportunities that promote the expression of emotions and increasing creative independence. During the year, pupils are introduced to the symbolic potential of, marks, colour and three-dimensional elements. After developing techniques, they are then encouraged to create individual responses to reflect the personal emotive artwork, using any of the materials and techniques introduced to them during KS3.


AQA GCSE Art and Design (Fine Art)

AQA GCSE Art and Design (Photography)

Both disciplines at GCSE begin with an induction course enabling pupils to gain the necessary skills they need to express themselves in a visual form and equip them with the concepts needed to embark on a personal project and outcome. This involves exploring, learning visual and analytical skills, researching, investigating, learning methodology, contextual references, reviewing and evaluating, producing and presenting.

The assessment objectives are the focus for learning, to ensure understanding of the essential elements for future project development. For all disciplines, pupils should:

AO1 – develop their ideas through investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and cultural understanding

AO2 – refine their ideas through experimentation, exploration and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes

AO3 – record ideas, observations and insights relevant to their intentions in visual and/or other forms

AO4 – plan and present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and, where appropriate, making connections between visual, written, oral and other elements

The disciplines associated with Art GCSE are painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramic design and photography.

If choosing Photography GCSE students will explore the essentials of camera use and image composition and digital development/editing of images. They will also look at more creative uses of camera and possibilities of digital development.

When choosing Fine art and/or Photography, pupils should have an interest in and motivation for the subject and should take into account the amount of work involved, in addition to the allocated lessons.

Materials are largely provided by the Art Department. Each project requires a quality sketchbook which can be purchased in school. Photography students will also need an SD card for their images and would benefit from having a SLR camera but this is not essential. Fine art pupils would benefit from acquiring a range of art materials for homework tasks, and this should include soft drawing pencils, a set of pastels, charcoal and water colour paints, acrylic paints, glue, blendable coloured pencils. Each project requires a quality sketchbook which can be purchased in school if required.

Component 1 - Personal Portfolio in Art and Design

96 marks - 60% of GCSE

Two units of work that must show evidence of all assessment objectives. Students explore all different elements of art, recording and developing ideas in an imaginative way based on a given topic. They are expected to experiment with as many different skills, materials and media as possible and to record and refine their work as it evolves. They then plan their final outcomes and realise their designs to conclude each project.

Component 2 Externally Set Assignment in Art and Design

96 marks - 40% of GCSE

The exam board provides a separate assignment for each discipline, each with seven different starting points. 

Pupils have 8 – 10 weeks preparation time and a 10-hour timed examination thereafter.

Both Components must show evidence of all assessment objectives.


AQA Fine Art

AQA Photography

This two-year course provides a stimulating, creative but structured basis for those intending to pursue Art and Design and/or Photography at this higher level. Both subjects are a popular choice at A Level for those with a strong interest in creating and understanding Visual Arts and Communication, and who have the determination and enthusiasm to develop personal directions and outcomes through analysis, critical thinking and exploration.

The course begins with a structured ‘two-term foundation’ designed to introduce pupils to the four-assessment objectives and good A Level practice. Based around a title, all pupils will learn how to:

AO1 - develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding;

AO2 – experiment with explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops;

AO3 - record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress;

AO4 - present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Component 1 - Personal Investigation
From September, until the end of January of the second year.

(Pupils can carry work forward from their ‘two term foundation’ as this component has no time limit.)

This needs to be a coherent, in-depth study, supported by written work that demonstrates the pupil’s ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning from an initial starting point to a final realisation. Students are required to write a 1000 – 3000 essay to explain their thoughts comprehensively. 

Component 2 - Externally set assignment

From 1st February, of the second year of study, until the end of the exam date in May.

Following receipt of the examination paper, pupils consider the starting points, select one and carry out an in-depth study (based on assessment objectives) until the start of the unaided, supervised examination time. Work is concluded during 15 hours exam pupils informed by their preparatory work and planning for their outcome(s).

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

For those intending to undertake Foundation or Degree Courses, A Level Art is vital and is relevant to a wide range of careers. These include advertising and graphic design, working in media, film and TV, architecture, fashion and textiles, interior design, gaming design, engineering, theatre, museum, gallery work and of course, working as a photographer or an artist. Sub skills learned such as analytical and observation of detail as well as dexterity will also benefit less obvious careers such as forensics. Pupils who have aptitude and interest in the subject but do not intend to take the subject beyond A Level, would also find the course rewarding and challenging. Pupils could also go straight into a job as the GCE is a recognised qualification that will encourage creativity, problem solving skills, understanding, and knowledge that many employers are looking for.