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Art & Design

Art and Design Curriculum at Geoffrey Field Junior School


The aims of our Art curriculum

At Geoffrey Field Junior School, we recognise that art and design makes a vital contribution to education, both as a subject to be developed and enjoyed in its own right and as a means to enrich and encourage learning in other subject areas.  We believe that exploring and creating art and design stimulates creativity and imagination. 

It is our aim, within art and design, that all pupils:

  • take risks and experiment when working with new media or trying out a new skill, exploring and recording their art experiences in their sketchbooks
  • develop their skills in using a range of media and materials and become proficient at drawing, painting and sculpture
  • will be introduced to a range of artistic styles and the work of influential artists, craft makers and designers, both historic and contemporary and be able to discuss and compare them
  • are able to evaluate and analyse works of art using language of art, craft and design
  • are reflective about their own art work and the work of others, thinking about what has worked well and how they can make changes and improve


Our Art curriculum

Our art curriculum is designed to allow pupils to learn new skills whilst also allowing them opportunity to practise these skills and become more proficient in key areas of art: drawing, painting and sculpture.  We recognise that pupils need the opportunity to learn a skill and then be able to apply this skill in a different context.  Where necessary, pupils are also given the opportunity to revisit skills and have time to practise these further.  We also recognise that pupils need a chance to explore freely, use their own imaginations and work towards their own varied and individual artwork.  Our curriculum is designed to allow pupils to do all of this although we recognise that the balance may vary depending on the pupil’s existing skills and abilities.

How our art curriculum is organised?

Our art curriculum is organised into units of work.  Each year group has 3 units of work.  Each unit focuses on a different art medium and different artists and craft makers are studied within each unit.  Designers are also studied within our DT curriculum in more detail.  


Our art units of work

Each unit of work is sequenced carefully to ensure breadth and depth of coverage of the Art National Curriculum.  Each art unit allows opportunities to:

  1. Explore art. There is an opportunity to study work by artists, craft makers and/or designers.  Pupils will discuss, describe and compare the artwork (themes/ similarities/ differences/ mediums/ emotions/ impact).  They discuss what the theme is and what connects the pieces of art and/or craft.  Pupils will appraise and evaluate the artwork.  They are taught new vocabulary to help them to discuss artwork using language of art, craft and design.  Pupils are allowed time to collect ideas in their sketchbooks.
  2. Explore an art medium and learn new skills. Exploration of a medium within a unit of work has two elements: the opportunity to freely and creatively experiment with the medium and the opportunity to become more skilled in using the art medium by practising a particular technique.  Children are encouraged to practise skills already learned and develop their proficiency within a specific medium by learning new skills through explicit teaching.
  3. Apply the skill(s). Pupils will be set specific tasks linked to the artwork, theme or art movement they have been studying.  They will have the opportunity to be creative whilst using the skills they have been taught.  During this part of the art unit, pupils will be encouraged to reflect on and evaluate their artwork whilst producing it and after it has been produced.  They will use vocabulary taught to help them to do this.
  4. Produce independent works of art and design (in some units).  When children have developed proficiency in an art medium, they will be set more open tasks centred around a theme or idea.  Pupils will have the freedom to use the medium more freely, having time to plan, create and evaluate their own work of art. This promotes creativity and allows pupils to explore their own ideas. They will look at the artwork studied earlier and the ideas gathered in their sketchbooks for inspiration.  Pupils will be encouraged to explain their intentions of their art work and to appraise and evaluate their work and work of others.

Art skills are taught within each unit and are split into these main areas:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Planning and creation
  • Observation and evaluation

There is a progression of the 5 main skills from Y3 to Y6 so that, as children move through the school, they build on previous knowledge and skills and are given more demanding tasks. We also have a progression of art vocabulary which children learn and build on year on year. 


Other opportunities in art

Whilst we believe in delivering high quality art lessons, where children are able to learn specific areas of art in depth, we also believe that it is important for them to experience a breadth of art and design opportunities.  As well as art lessons, pupils have the opportunity to widen their art experiences in various art-based university courses, where the children can learn more about a particular artist or develop skills in a different specific medium. Courses such as outdoor art, weaving and textiles, printing, Mondrian, Pop art have been some of the art options for the children to choose from.  

We also run an annual Art Week with a themed focus where the children get to widen their skills and experiences in art.  This week, celebrating the children’s art, climaxes in a public art gallery.  Where possible, children are encouraged to visit local and national galleries and trips during Arts Week have enabled pupils to visit and experience art galleries.  Pupils have also had the opportunity to work with artists and local crafts people during the week, finding out how an art project develops.


Localised Curriculum

At Geoffrey Field, our localised curriculum is woven into our Art curriculum, to ensure we focus on areas of importance and barriers for our pupils.

  • Vocabulary – children will be taught technical words (like tone, perspective and abstract) to help them to understand what they are learning in art and to use when discussing works of art.
  • Oracy – children are given opportunities to discuss their own art work and the art work of others.  They are encouraged to share, present and discuss their thoughts and ideas with others.
  • Understanding of the wider world – we look at artists and crafts people from around the world as we value arts’ important role in our cultural footprint.  We make comparisons and find out about where the work was produced and at what period in time.