The Purbeck School Art & design Curriculum

Why Study Art & design at The Purbeck School?

The Art department at The Purbeck School provides a learning environment which takes into consideration each students’ needs and abilities, whilst having high expectations of all.

The department is superbly equipped and offers specialist ceramics and photography facilities including a suite of computers and a darkroom, enabling students to sample a complete range of creative processes.

Our staff comprises a number of highly skilled Art specialists and we deliver an exciting and challenging programme that reflects the interests of our learners and the ever changing trends of visual language.

The Art department is very welcoming and supportive. Students have a range of extra-curricular opportunities including art club, working with visiting artists, specialist workshops, competitions and an annual arts festival.  All students are offered opportunities to take part in visits to local and national museums and galleries and we run a regular overseas study visit to New York for 6th form students.

How is Art & design taught?

  • KS3 – Students are taught in mixed ability classes for four hours each fortnight.
  • KS4 – Students are taught in mixed ability classes for eight hours each fortnight.
  • KS5 – Students are taught (normally shared across two members of staff) for nine hours each fortnight. Students are also strongly encouraged to make use of the Art and Photography studio space during study periods to develop their work independently.

Rationale and ambition for The Purbeck School Art & design curriculum:

  • At each key stage students explore a range of visual, tactile and sensory experiences to communicate ideas and meanings. They work with traditional and new media developing confidence, competence, imagination and creativity. The research of artists’ work and understanding underpins Art & Design study at every stage. Our aim is for students to think and act as artists, craftspeople and designers, working creatively and intelligently. Studying Art & Design enables students develop the skills required to express and communicate ideas through confident handling of materials and processes.
  • At KS4 Students may opt to study GCSE Art & Design: Fine Art and/or Art & Design: Photography. Students who have studied Art & Design at GCSE may opt to continue to study either Fine Art or Photography A’ level. If not they may still study at A’ level on the approval of a portfolio of their own work.
    • Fine Art explores ideas, conveys experiences or responds to a theme or issue of personal significance. The areas of study are very broad and cover drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and mixed media.
    • Photography producing images using light-sensitive materials such as photographic film, or digital methods of development and production to create static or moving images. Areas of study could include portraiture, installation, photo-journalism, moving image: film, video and animation and fashion photography.
  • If you enjoy being creative, want to increase your practical skills and improve your analytical, communication and research abilities, Art and Design is a great choice at both GCSE and A level. The skills you gain make it a great complement to other subjects. Art & Design is a way of seeing things and making sense of the world around you. Both Fine Art and Photography routes at GCSE and A’ level offer a breadth of study that makes them challenging courses for motivated and creative individuals and opens the door to a wealth of career opportunities in the visual arts. It can help you with further study and prepare you for the world of work
  • If you don’t want to take your Art & Design studies any further, the transferable skills you gain will still be valuable. You’ll develop problem solving, creative thinking, investigation, research, communication and teamwork skills, and gain the ability to develop, refine and present ideas. Employers and universities regard all of these highly.

Key concepts:

The concepts that The Purbeck School Art & Design curriculum aims to support student progression in are:

  • develop, review and refine ideas
  • analyse contextual and other sources to inform your investigations
  • explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes
  • record your ideas, observations and insights
  • present personal and meaningful responses.

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Long Term Overview


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