The King's (The Cathedral) School




Our Art and Design curriculum is designed to be inclusive, giving all students the knowledge, understanding and practical skills to achieve their potential and become confident, independent creative practitioners.  We intend to provide visual art making and art viewing experiences that teach students to observe and think about their visual environments, apply their imaginations, think creatively, explore ideas and feelings, and develop understandings about their emerging personal, cultural, and social identities giving them the cultural capital to make sense of the world, be successful in life and appreciate human creativity and innovation.

The curriculum is designed using a broad range of excellent subject knowledge to inspire and provide equality of opportunity for all students through exciting and engaging content. Schemes of learning are explicitly linked to exam board assessment criteria at all key stages and build on the National Curriculum. They are carefully sequenced having an emphasis on the progressive complexity and sophistication of skills and understanding. Students develop higher order thinking skills, experimental learning and refinement through practical activities and skills of critique and analysis through reflecting in a structured way. By building core skills and knowledge before increasing complexity and challenge we prepare students for the next stage of their education ensuring they are able to aim for the highest provisions post KS5.

The Art and Design curriculum aims to:

  • Develop the students’ ability to use a range of media and techniques to record their ideas and observations;
  • Provide students with opportunities to explore their ideas and have creative mindsets;
  • To increase the students’ proficiency in a broad range of practical skills using different materials and processes, providing parity of learning for all;
  • Build critical thinking skills and develop the students’ skills of analysis through the evaluation of their own work, and that of others, reflecting on work throughout the process of making to consider what is working effectively in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work;
  • Teach students about movements and the paradigms of art and design. Students learn disciplinary knowledge enabling them to engage in dialogue and debate, acquire cultural capital and be affected by art;
  • Actively promote looking at the work of others, celebrating other cultures and encouraging diversity; 
  • Instil resilience through sustained pieces of work and projects;
  • Become lifelong learners.


To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in Art and Design, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school.

Key Stage 3

Groups are mixed ability and are highly differentiated. All lessons are 75 minutes in length and there is 1 lesson per week.

Art and Design is taught in Key Stage 3 extending knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum.

Teachers use schemes of work to carefully plan and craft lessons which inspire and challenge the students. Areas covered include drawing, illustration, painting, printmaking, photography and digital media, collage and sculpture. Students also enjoy learning about the artistic styles of a range of famous artists along with cultural styles and subject matter. Students develop and build their knowledge, analytical skills and artistic vocabulary while exploring their own creative ideas through informed outcomes. Students create a sketch book each year to record observations and experiment with Art and Design techniques which they can then review and revisit.

Students also have the opportunity to attend a range of Art and Design extra-curricular clubs.

Year 7

Term 1 - Content

What is Art

Base line test

1.Observational drawing

2. Creativity and imagination

3. knowledge and understanding.

Surrealism and Sculpture

Movement and Artists

Collage and constructed images

Working safely with clay

Exploring ideas; Collaborations

Pinch pots and clay constructions.

Using glazes

Term 1 - Rationale

‘What is Art’ introduces students to secondary school art lessons discussing the function of art and its place in education.

Through the base line testing evidence of observational skills, creativity and knowledge and understanding inform the Year 7 flight path setting. However more importantly this information gives teachers an overview of the cohort’s needs. Data is used to inform interventions and adaptions, along with seating plans and collaborative working groups.

Surrealism starts the creative journey of KS3 students. Younger students engage with the humorous and accessible concepts of the movement while using the notions of the subconscious and human psyche depth and challenge build on the KS1 and 2 curriculums.

Starting ceramic construction with pinch pot processes prepares a safe working environment and a basis for more complex techniques. This process also ensures all students can successfully realise their intentions in 3D form.


Term 2 - Content

Colour theory and painting

The Colour Wheel

Compositional elements

How paint behaves

Colour in art

Impressionist landscapes

Term 2 Rationale

Through engaging activities and visual experiments students learn about primary, secondary and complimentary colours. Experiments with colour mixing, mark making and painterly effects prepare students for a response in watercolour.

Lessons on compositional elements and a lecture discussing the gradual changes in colour over the 20th Century consolidate and apply the theories.

Colour theory, paint techniques and composition knowledge are applied through watercolour landscape outcomes.

Term 3

20th Century art movements;

Pop Art - Fauvism - Cubism -

Expressionism (Van Gogh)

Abstract Expressionism

Depth of knowledge of these movements and artists is developed through group ownership of movements where students research, explore and share their learning. Still life paintings further consolidate the use of colour, painterly techniques and compositional understanding.


Year 8

In Year 8 students develop skills and explore ideas while learning about the visual language in a range of cultural contexts. There are three large projects where students learn more complex processes and build sustained outcomes. These three themes are supplemented by a range of shorter themes such as;

Term 1 - Mexico Day of the Dead



Colour and composition

Students learn about the Day of the Dead festival and how colour, pattern, and symbols are commonly used in Mexican artwork. Students learn relief printmaking processes and create their own sugar skull in response to their learning.

Term 1/2 - Greece; Aesop’s Fables


Drawing and rendering

Colour mark making and pattern

Students learn about Helen Ward’s illustrated book of Aesop’s Fables through teacher-led analysis and exploration. After developing their understanding of Greek pattern, rendered pen and water-based media techniques, students create their own narrative animal illustration.

Term 2/3 - North America


Totem poles

Slab pots construction

Shape and form


Students learn about the history and stories of North American totem poles. After exploring design ideas students learn the slab construction technique and relief and etched embellishments.

Term 3 - Japan

Manga: Drawing and photography

Students learn about the history of Manga images and anime and their popularity in contemporary societies.

As well as drawing tutorials, students have the opportunity to create photographic stories after learning about composition and lay-out.

Homework in Year 8 focuses on developing students’ time management and independence through project-based assignments with open-ended opportunities for sustained personal creations.

Year 9

In Year 9, students study both Fine Art and Photography in preparation for their GCSE Options. In Fine Art, painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking skills are further developed through an investigation into portrait and identity. The Photography project is designed to introduce students to the Photography GCSE where students master some of the basic skills using the camera and software editing while learning the function of photography and how to analyse and read photographic images.

Term 1 - Photography


Still life

Toy photography


The Photography course starts by introducing students to framing and composition though a short workshop based on letterform photography. Students learn the basic functions of the camera before going on to learn how to manipulate the depth of field using the cameras aperture during the still life photographic lessons. Student also learn how to analyse a photograph and edit their still life photographs before developing storytelling and narratives during the toy photography component.

Term 2 - Fine Art

Proportions of the head

Drawing - Eye, Nose, Mouth

Contemporary Artists - Text portrait and Triangulated portrait,

Traditional Artists - Van Gogh

Oil pastel portraits

The Fine Art course starts by equipping students with the skills and knowledge to explore portraiture confidently. Students learn about and respond to a broad range of traditional and contemporary artists. Students refine their use of colour, pattern and line while building on their observational skills and extending their own creative ideas. 

Term 3 - Fine Art

Printmaking - Shephard Fairey

Sculpture - Identity pots - Grayson Perry

Students further explore media and processes through increasingly challenging techniques. In addition, the highly conceptual and personal nature of the stimuli encourages students to explore ideas and feelings, and develop understandings about their emerging personal, cultural, and social identities.


Key Stage 4

Coursework - 60%

Externally set assignment - 40%

At Key Stage 4 we offer both Fine Art and Photography GCSE. Groups are mixed ability and are highly differentiated. All lessons are 35 minutes in length and there are 9 lessons per fortnight.

The GCSE starts with a programme design based on a foundation course. Students get to further develop skills in all areas of Fine Art or Photography covered in KS3 using increasingly ambitious processes.

In Term 2 students respond to the work of others through a gallery/exhibition visit. We hope to challenge students’ independence by encouraging students to make personal choices when developing ideas. After developing artistic skills, media skills and technical drawing skills for Fine Art, and camera settings and editing techniques for Photography through teacher-led instruction during the foundation course, students are then asked to stretch their abilities by creating their own personal responses. We do this by first copying and analysing other artists’/photographers’ work, before moving beyond to a sequenced set of stages. These include researching images from a variety of styles and then assimilating artists’ styles into their own. Students will develop designs before producing a unique personal response that shows their strength in materials, and their unique perspective on their theme.

Students address and are assessed on four main areas of enquiry which are linked to and extend on the assessment criteria in KS3. Developing ideas through artist research and analysis (AO1), refinements and competency in a variety of media (AO3), recording of ideas through both drawing and writing (AO2), and creative, informed and personal response investigation (AO4). These four inter-related assessment objectives are used to build the knowledge and skills required for artist appreciation and practice. The GCSE scheme aims to build on the complexity of art and materials, and skills and knowledge, while beginning to challenge and expand on students’ ability to work independently and identify their own artistic style and voice.

There are two gallery visits during the GCSE course; the first is organised to coincide with the artist study project and the second to support the externally set task. Visits to the local museum and gallery are also organised as the opportunities arise. In Year 11 students are invited to join the October residential trip to either Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York, Florence or Paris.

Students also have the extra-curricular support of the department during open studios every lunchtime and twice a week after school.

Year 10 Fine Art

Term 1 - Foundation Skills: Drawing, collage and mixed media, printmaking (dry point etching or Lino-cuts), painting and sculpture

Term 2 - Artist Study project: artist studies and responses, teacher-led workshop (dry point or Lino-cuts), developing personal responses informed by investigation

Term 3 - Personal project: sketchbook and journals, developing ideas and research


Year 10 Photography

Term 1 - Foundation Skills: Camera setting, Photoshop tools, filters and layers. Manual image manipulation. What do we analysis. Composition

Term 2 - Feast for the eyes project: artist studies and responses, teacher-led workshop exploring work of others. Developing personal responses informed by investigation

Term 3 - Personal project: digital sketchbook and journals, developing ideas and research


Year 11

Term 1 - Personal project/Mock exam; creating a personal response

Students will produce a Personal project, which is practical by nature, leading to a finished piece or pieces produced in a 10- hour controlled test (Mock exam). In this unit, students are in charge and with our support will produce a portfolio of work that reflects their strengths and interests. They will be encouraged to work in a variety of ways, fully exploring their chosen subject. They will need to draw on processes, techniques and skills learned and practised in KS3 and Year 10.

Term 2 - Externally set task; Teacher-guided investigation

The Externally Set Task; Students work from a series of starting points, producing a portfolio of work that leads to a final piece, produced in a 10- hour controlled test. This work will be personal and can be produced using techniques and materials that are chosen by the student. By this stage, students are becoming independent learners, who work with the teachers’ support to realise their ambitions and progress to their chosen future pathway.



Coursework - 60%

Externally set assignment - 40%

All lessons are 75 minutes in length and there are 7 lessons per fortnight.

The A-Level course encourages students to explore independent lines of enquiry while equipping them with highly sophisticated skills to realise intentions and confidently develop individuality and original creative expressions. Through a series of teacher-led workshops (foundation skills) students will study contemporary and more traditional practices within a stimulating and challenging studio environment. Students will learn how to undertake complex and ambitious creative tasks covering a broad range of creative skills including painting and drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Students are assessed on the same four assessment objectives as in the GCSE course, but in a much more in-depth and advanced way. This enables students to revisit, apply and extend prior knowledge of the creative process to create well-developed, personal outcomes. Through the personal investigation students research and analyse sources that interest them and are expected to develop their own ideas into high-quality finished work with support from their teachers. Knowledge, understanding and skills of analysis are further developed through an Art History course covering 20th Century art movements, contemporary exhibitions and key historical artists.

Year 12

Term 1 - Foundation Skills

Teacher 1 - Drawing and Painting: Observational skills, colour mixing, oil paint qualities, oil paint techniques, mark making, artistic styles and photo/hyperrealism techniques

Teacher 2 - Printmaking: Dry point etching; mark making, printing with ink, grounds, chine colle.

Teacher 3 - Sculpture: Ceramic heads; coil constructions, modelling features, glazes and finishes.

Art history lectures: Impressionism and post impression movements

Written investigation part 1: statement of intent, gallery visit and analysis

Term 2

Teacher 1 - Drawing and Painting continued; developing skills and style

Teacher 2 - Personal investigation; sketchbook and journals; developing ideas and research

Teacher 3 - Sculpture continued; glazes and finishes

Art history lectures: modernism and post modernism

Written investigation part 2; Ideas and intentions

Term 3

Teacher 1 - Personal investigation; painting outcome

Teacher 2 - Personal investigation; sketchbook and journals

Teacher 3 - Personal investigation; Sculptural outcome

Art history lectures; Contemporary art and exhibitions

Written investigation part 3; evaluation and solutions


Year 13

Term 1

Teacher 1 - Personal investigation 1-2-1 mentoring

Students will produce a Personal Investigation, which is practical by nature, leading to a finished piece or pieces and supported by a compulsory written element that links the work of other artists to the project. In this unit, students are in charge and with our support will produce a portfolio of work that reflects their strengths and interests. They will be encouraged to work in a variety of ways, fully exploring their chosen subject. They will need to draw on processes, techniques and skills learned and practised in Year 12 and GCSE.

Teacher 2 - Personal investigation; Screen printing analogue and/or photographic

Term 2 - Externally set task

Teacher 1 - developing ideas and outcomes, 1-2-1 mentoring

Teacher 2 - Personal investigation; exploring and refining media.

The Externally Set Task - Students work from a series of starting points, producing a portfolio of work that leads to a final piece, produced in a 15-hour controlled test. This work will be personal and can be produced using techniques and materials that are chosen by the student. By this stage, students are becoming independent learners, who work alongside the teachers in the department to realise their ambitions and progress to their chosen future pathway.



We know that our curriculum is working in the Art, Design & Photography department through the upward trend in our results. Fine Art GCSE results were at their recent highest with 100% 9-6 and 1.69 SPI this year.  GCSE photography celebrated an SPI of 1.18 and 100% 9-4.

A-Level has continued to maintain an overall higher standard. In comparison to National Averages for the Art & Design subjects, our students are consistently achieving above their peers. Departmental QA and student voice suggest that pupils feel that the Art and Design curriculum is suitably challenging, enjoyable and that they know how to progress in the subject and feel supported by teaching staff. Our students are motivated and often work in the Art rooms outside of lessons to put extra effort and time into their work right from Year 7 up to Year 13. At both GCSE & A-Level, Art and Design subjects continue to be popular with most students progressing to further study in a related field. GCSE Photography also provides a valuable opportunity to students at The King’s School, while many students continue into A-Level and beyond. The Photography GCSE also provides valuable destinations to colleges; Year 11 leavers frequently study accessible Photography courses instead of A-Levels at Further and Higher education establishments.

Department Staff

Mrs Deborah Taylor (DAT): Head of Art & Design Department
Mr Jack Goodwin (JAG): Teacher of Art & Design
Mrs Sally Lock (SJL): Teacher of Art & Photography
Mrs Jane Kennedy (JEK): Art Technician