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Art & Design

We ensure that the Art and Design Department (including Textile Design and Photography) is intellectually stimulating and relevant to our students. We establish a safe, secure and challenging environment, which inspires students' love of Art, Craft and Design. High quality teaching and learning are at the core of our aims in the classroom.

Students of all academic abilities develop understanding, knowledge and a solid skill foundation relevant to their individual potential. Art and Design embodies some of the highest forms of human creativity. The syllabus engages, inspires and challenges our students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own work. As students progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of Art and Design. They should also know how Art and Design both reflect and shape history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our world.

Students at the Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School learn through practical experience and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sources that inform their creative intentions. Students are encouraged to develop purposeful engagement with visual language, visual concepts, media, materials and the application of appropriate techniques and working methods.

We encourage students to develop and apply relevant subject-specific skills in order to use visual language to communicate personal ideas, meanings and responses.

Enquiry based learning is part of our curriculum to ensure students develop high level thinking skills such as critically exploring and evaluating artists' work, how it has shaped history, from personal experience to the whole world.

All artists; students and staff alike, continually develop their knowledge and skills in order to reach their full potential and be the best they can be.

Curriculum Summary

Key Stage 3

Programme of Study

The Key Stage 3 curriculum in Art & Design is centred around developing students’ knowledge and skills from Key Stage 2, through the enjoyment of being creative, experimenting, discovering and exploring media, techniques and processes.  Students are provided with learning opportunities that are diverse, exciting and stimulating.  We encourage and challenge students to grow in knowledge and skills, developing their confidence and abilities in the subject’s fundamental practices. 

We seek to foster a love of learning and an appreciation of all forms of art and creativity, that will go beyond a student’s learning and experience in the classroom and will ultimately stay with students into their future lives.

Over the two years, the students will study the following:

  • The Elements of Art (Line, shape, form, colour & value, texture)
  • The Principles of Design (Contrast, repetition & pattern, emphasis, balance, movement, rhythm, unity)
  • Colour Theory and the Colour Wheel
  • Ursuline Values
  • Contextual Studies
  • Natural Form
  • Insects
  • The Landscape
  • Portraiture

Learning/Teaching Approach

The Art Department aims to provide a high-quality Art and Design education which engages, inspires and challenges students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own work with confidence.  

Students will do this by:

  • Recording observations
  • Investigating a range of media, techniques and processes
  • Development and design skills
  • Contextual understanding
  • Analysing and evaluating

Throughout Key Stage 3, students will explore and develop the following knowledge and skills in Art & Design:

  • Observation
  • Drawing methods and materials
  • Knowledge and understanding of colour – The Dual Primary System; hue, tint, tone and shade
  • Painting Techniques
  • Printing Techniques
  • Collage Techniques
  • Mixed Media
  • Wax Resist and Batik
  • 2D and 3D media
  • Design Skills
  • Research
  • Presentation
  • Use of the sketchbook as a tool for artists and designers
  • Contextual Studies
  • Key Terminology
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Visual language
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Motor skills
  • Confidence
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience
  • Concentration
  • Independence

Assessment

Students will be assessed in a range of ways which include:

  • Assessment of core skills
  • Knowledge and understanding of key concepts and terminology
  • Handling of media, techniques and processes
  • Self-assessment and peer assessment
  • The ability to reflect on progress and to set targets

Key Stage 4 – Art & Design

'The GCSE Art & Design course is a great experience, especially if you have always enjoyed being creative.’   

Art & Design provides students with a range of creative, exciting and stimulating opportunities.  Students enjoy working with independence, experimenting with media, techniques and processes, with confidence and skill on a variety of themes.

Qualification: GCSE

Awarding Body and Paper: AQA 8201

Programme of Study

The course includes drawing and painting, printmaking, textiles, ceramics, sculpture and digital photography.  Students develop their knowledge and understanding of areas as diverse as fine art, illustration, decorative arts, three-dimensional design, sculpture, advertising and photography.

Students will build on their knowledge and skills in Art & Design and work in an increasingly mature and independent manner as they progress through the GCSE course.  Students will enjoy working with a variety of media, techniques and processes, with confidence and skill.  They will undertake research and investigative work, develop ideas through exploration of contextual and other sources, select appropriate materials, refine as their work progresses and produce responses that are personal and realise their intentions. 

Learning/Teaching Approach

Art & Design is an exciting and popular course as it involves so much variety and choice.  Students are able to explore many ways of expressing their ideas and enjoy experimenting with a wide range of media and new techniques.

Art & Design is a subject that develops creativity and imagination.  Each student is encouraged to work in an individual way and to develop their own style and personal approach.  For inspiration, we look at lots of different artists, designers and craftspeople; both past and present, from different countries and time periods, relevant to each student’s project and line of enquiry.

In addition to practical lessons, students are expected to further their work in their projects independently, consistently and with commitment.  Students are supported in doing this through the extra-curricular opportunities offered and are expected to attend these regularly, to further develop their work and achieve success.  This is especially important for attaining the highest grades, where depth of study and quality of work are key.

Assessment

Students are assessed on two components:

  • Component 1: Portfolio
  • Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

Students must complete both components.

Component 1: The Portfolio is built over the GCSE course, giving students the opportunity to grow as artists and designers.  Students develop personal responses to initial starting points of project briefs, through a creative journey where they research, explore, experiment and develop their ideas.  Students must evidence coverage of all four assessment objectives in the component.  This component is worth 60% of the GCSE.

Component 2: The Externally Set Assignment is a project set by the Examination Board, AQA.  This is issued to students in January of Year 11.  Students are able to choose from a variety of topics, developing their ideas prior to the exam, when they will produce an original and personal response to their theme in their choice of media during 10 hours of supervised time.  Students must evidence coverage of all four assessment objectives in the component.  This component is worth 40% of the GCSE.

What it can lead to

GCSE Art & Design is an excellent foundation for further study and opens up the possibility of numerous career opportunities.  Past students have progressed to study at prestigious institutions including the University of Cambridge, University College London, University of the Arts London colleges, Central St Martins College of Art & Design, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London College of Fashion and Loughborough University.  Students have gone on to pursue successful careers in architecture, interior design, fashion, textile design, town planning, automotive design, ergonomics, photography, television/radio, technical effects, game and character design, graphic design, film, media industries, advertising, buying, marketing, public relations, illustration, fine art, ceramics, printmaking, teaching, make-up artistry and theatre/ set design. 

Additional Points

Our students always comment on how much they develop in knowledge, skill and understanding as well as developing as individuals.  Students enjoy the course and the opportunities to be creative and independent.  Art & Design continues to achieve excellent results and high quality, diverse artwork, year after year.  We are proud of the successes of our students, their creativity and commitment.

External Activities

Visits to London art galleries including the Tate Modern, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.   Participation in external competitions is encouraged including the Royal Academy Young Artists’ Summer Show.

Tier of Entry: Single Tier

Key Stage 4 – Textile Design

Qualification: GCSE

Awarding Body and Paper: AQA 8204

Programme of Study

Textile Design provides students with a range of creative, exciting and stimulating opportunities to explore.  The course includes woven, knitted, stitched, printed, dyed, constructed, embellished or decorative textiles.  Students develop their knowledge and understanding of areas as diverse as installed textiles, surface pattern, costume design, fashion design and digital textiles.

Learning/Teaching Approach

Textile Design is an exciting and popular course as it involves so much variety and choice.  Students are able to explore many ways of expressing their ideas through fabric and experiment with a wide range of materials and textile techniques.

Each student is encouraged to work in an individual way and to develop their own personal style and approach.  Inspiration is taken from a range of designers and craftspeople; both past and present and from different cultures and time periods.

Assessment

Students are assessed on two components:

  • Component 1: Portfolio
  • Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

Students must complete both components.

Component 1: The Portfolio is built over the GCSE course, giving students the opportunity to grow as designers and textile artists.  Students develop personal responses to project briefs, through a creative journey where they research, explore, experiment and develop their ideas.  Students must evidence coverage of all four assessment objectives in the component.  This component is worth 60% of the GCSE.

Component 2: The Externally Set Assignment is a project set by the Examination Board, AQA.  This is issued to students in January of Year 11.  Students are able to choose from a variety of topics, developing their ideas prior to the exam, when they will produce an original and personal response to their theme, during 10 hours of supervised time.  Past responses have included anything from a ball gown to a cushion!  Students must evidence coverage of all four assessment objectives in the component.  This component is worth 40% of the GCSE.

What it can lead to

GCSE Textile Design is an excellent foundation for further study and opens up the possibility of numerous career opportunities.  Past students have progressed to study courses at the University of the Arts London colleges, Central St Martins College of Art & Design, Chelsea College of Art & Design, the London College of Fashion and Loughborough University, to name a few.  Students have then pursued successful careers in fashion design, textile design, surface pattern design, television/radio, technical effects, costume design, film, media industries, interior design, pattern cutting, soft furnishings and television/theatre/set design.

Additional Points

Our students always say how much they develop in knowledge, skills and their understanding of textiles and designers in addition to developing as creative individuals.

External Activities

Visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show.

Tier of Entry

Single Tier

Key Stage 5 – Art & Design

Qualification: A Level

Awarding Body and Papers: AQA

  • A Level Art & Design – Art Craft and Design (7201)
  • A Level Art & Design – Textile Design (7204)
  • A Level Art & Design – Photography (7206)

Programme of Study

This course builds on the student's knowledge and skills at GCSE.  Studying Art & Design at A-level encourages self-expression, maturity, creativity and builds confidence, in addition to a sense of individual identity.  Students will deepen and broaden their experience, knowledge and understanding of the artistic process, media and techniques and contextual studies.  Students will acquire new skills, knowledge of different forms of Art & Design, materials and processes, gaining specialist skills in a multi-discipline subject.  Art & Design provides students with the opportunity to develop further a sense of creative curiosity, intellectual rigour, critical thinking, research, analysis and independence.  The course encourages students to think creatively, to express their ideas in depth and with sophistication. 

Learning/Teaching Approach

Students will work with greater depth, fluency and maturity than at GCSE.  The range of themes students can access will stretch and challenge them further and demand a more thorough approach to research, development of ideas and personal outcomes.  They will be expected to read around their chosen focus, demonstrating and evidencing this in their visual and written work, gaining a deeper understanding and awareness.  Students will be encouraged to develop their knowledge of Art & Design beyond the classroom, reading independently and regularly attending galleries and museums.

Aims of the Course

  • To nurture confidence, imagination and to inspire independent thinking as young artists
  • Build on and extend skills in the handling of a host of different materials, processes and techniques including those of drawing, painting, printmaking and 3D
  • To foster different approaches in the making of art including investigative, analytical and experimental
  • To become critically and aesthetically aware through the study of other artists’ work, making strong and considered links with their own
  • To become aware of the importance that different contexts provide in the making of art and in turn understand the role of Art & Design within society and how this has changed over time.

Year 12

Portfolio (Personal Investigation)

The first 2 terms see students undertaking study developing their confidence and skill, extending their experience and furthering their understanding of different materials, techniques and processes. Students are also encouraged to attend a series of life drawing classes which, together with exploring different types of drawing, will extend their range of observational drawing and painting techniques.  Each student produces a collection of material from work carried out during the course. This will include an extended project based on a theme chosen at the start of Year 12.  Students will demonstrate the ability to develop work from an initial starting point to a realisation and include evidence of their ability to research and progress their ideas and link their work in a meaningful way to related critical/contextual materials and reference.  Gallery and museum visits undertaken help to reinforce this.  All work will be internally moderated and assessed.

Assessment

Students are assessed on two components.

Component 1: Personal Investigation - 60% of A Level

This is a practical unit with written elements in which students are expected to undertake a personal investigation based on an idea, issue, concept or theme of their choice, leading to a finished piece or pieces. This is started in the final term of Year 12 with visual research undertaken in the summer holidays.  Developing ideas from their practical work, students undertake the research and writing of a contextual study that is a 3000-word illustrated essay.

Component 2: Externally set assignment - 40% of A Level

At the beginning of February, students will be issued with their exam paper from the examination board (AQA) and will choose a question to be used as a starting point.  Students will have a period of time to complete a preparatory sketchbook and experiments.  Towards the end of the preparatory period, students will sit the examination; 15 hours of unaided and supervised time, in which they complete a final piece/pieces.

Students must complete both components and the essay which accompanies Component 1.

All work is internally examined, assessed and standardised, and then externally moderated.  There are four, equally weighted, assessment objectives which cover recording, analysing and evaluating, investigating, developing, exploring and interpreting, and realising intentions.

Skills/aptitudes needed to succeed

The best foundation for success in this course is a good grade at GCSE Art or Textiles, along with a genuine interest in the subject and a willingness to work hard at developing your abilities.  Students should be prepared to immerse themselves in the subject, visiting galleries and keeping up to date with contemporary practice, whilst taking the opportunity to develop personal responses to a wide variety of starting points.

What it can lead to

This course is not only relevant to those who wish to pursue a career in Art & Design.  Other careers in which an Art & Design background is relevant include graphic, interior, fashion and textile design, architecture, advertising, publishing, PR and marketing, the media, museum, gallery and theatre work. 

Past students who have studied Art & Design at A Level go on to study Architecture, Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Journalism and many more professions.  Art is recognised as a subject which nurtures the creative, analytical and investigative skills required for all these professions.  

​“In an age of automation, human capital - stories, ideas, personalities, opinion and the ability to curate – will be at the top of the value chain within a matter of years. It is vital that all of our workforce is equipped to think creatively, not only those working in the creative industries.”​  Diane Banks, CEO, Northbank Talent Management

Additional Points

“Art is unique because..there is no correct answer for how to express yourself, ..I think art provides endless ways to do this. As Kandinsky says, there is no ‘must’ in art because art is free.”  

Carina Rouse-Emeny, former BUCHS A Level Art & Design student

Carina studied A Levels in Art, History and Mathematics and now reads History at the University of Cambridge.

Tier of Entry

Single