Art and Design at St Joseph's
“The important thing is to create”
At St Joseph’s we believe that our role is to support the development of the whole child in all that we do at school; offering them rich and meaningful experiences that will help them build a secure foundation for their learning. We recognise that Art and Design is a vital part of this development and has a significant and valuable role in the taught curriculum.
Fostering our children’s creativity and engagement is an essential element in their ability to succeed; we know it improves their motivation, well-being and achievement not only academically, but also socially, emotionally and culturally. We recognise that Art and Design supports the development of children’s resilience, independence and risk-taking as children are encouraged to explore the different styles and apply this in their own work. We want our Art and Design provision to enable pupils to develop a natural sense of wonder and curiosity about the world and allow them a means to express and communicate this for themselves.
We aim to do this by providing the children with enriching, memorable opportunities and activities which will expose them to the broad arts culture.
The Art and Design curriculum we offer develops children’s critical abilities and understanding of their own and others’ cultural heritages through studying a diverse range of artists representative of different groups.
By the time our students leave us, they will be equipped with the skills, concepts, knowledge and confidence to invent and create their own works of art.
Art is taught as discrete lessons (usually as a double lesson spanning the whole afternoon) over three half terms (half of the year). All classes have a timetabled session in the designated art room. Where possible, cross curricular links are made in addition to this throughout the year especially in RE, English, History, Geography and Maths.
The Art curriculum is taught following the National Curriculum, through a knowledge and skills based approach based on the Access Art curriculum design. The skills and knowledge that children will develop throughout each art topic are mapped across each year group and throughout the school to ensure progression.
The emphasis on knowledge ensures that children understand the context of the artwork, as well as the artists that they are learning about and being inspired by.
The emphasis on skills means that children are given opportunities to practise and develop mastery in the key processes of art: drawing, painting, printing and textiles. The key skills have been broken down into specific year groups to ensure there is coverage and progression across the school and children can build on their prior learning year on year.
In every lesson, we strive to challenge all children to grow from their starting point, supporting and scaffolding tasks to help every child achieve. We believe in fostering an open-ended exploration of creativity.
Throughout the year, children are given the opportunity to work with a range of resources and materials, exploring the effects they can make and how they can be combined to create new effects. Knowledge and skills are introduced and recorded in sketchbooks which the children carry with them as they progress through the school.
Children are also offered wider opportunities to explore Art through attending workshops at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, visits from local artists, visiting local galleries such as the Stanley Picker Gallery and Orleans House Gallery. We use our outdoor area to link nature with art and wellbeing. Responding to the changes in seasons and creating observational drawings.
As a church school we enjoy celebrating the links between RE and art. Encouraging teachers to use art to support the children’s thinking when discussing stories from the bible, explaining their context and drawing children’s attention to symbolism within the art work.
We believe that celebrating all areas of success are important therefore we encourage children to bring in work they complete at home. Their art work is shared during whole school assemblies to inspire others. This work is displayed around the school to boost self-esteem and pride in their learning.
Throughout the year, children are given the opportunity to take part in competitions that are run by the local authority, charities and art organisations. These have been thoroughly enjoyed by the children who have historically achieved some success.
In 2020 a local artist supported the school in creating a mosaic for our prayer garden. The children enjoyed having a professional artist working on the school site and having the opportunity to ask questions. This experience inspired them to create their own artworks.
We organise an annual ‘Summer Exhibition’ to celebrate the children’s work each year. We invite members of our extended community to enjoy the work and give the children feedback.
Information gathered through book monitoring and class observations by the subject leader show that the school is in the early stages of art development. Pupil voice interviews show that the children enjoy art and take pride in the work that they produce. The children are beginning to talk confidently about techniques, different media and artists. We are currently looking at the development of sketchbooks to support children’s planning and thinking before producing a piece of work. These books are kept as the children progress through the school so that we can track their progress over the years.
Progress and attainment are measured against National Curriculum expectations of attainment and skills using a combination of Kapow Art and Design Assessment Questions and Quizzes. Children are encouraged to use technical language when evaluating their own or other people’s work.
Every summer the children’s work is celebrated in a whole school summer exhibition.
Children use their sketchbooks (or visual diary) for:
- recording, exploring and storing visual and other information e.g. notes and selected materials which can readily be retrieved and used as reference,
- working out ideas, plans and designs,
- reference – as they develop ideas for their work
- looking back at and reflecting on their work, reviewing and identifying their progress.
- as an ongoing record of their learning and achievement, which they can use to further develop their ideas, skills and understanding.
Sketchbooks move through the school as the children progress from one year to another, and across key stages. Children only get new sketchbooks when they finish the one they have (not when they change years) and they keep the old ones elastic banded to the back of the new one as they progress through the school. This provides a huge bank of learning that can be revisited at any point through their education within that school. It also illustrates how much each child has learnt and where their strengths and weaknesses are as well.