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Curriculum Leader:

Mrs S Arrowsmith

Department Introduction:

Welcome to Art! We are well equipped with a range of resources and materials to allow for work to evolve in paint, mixed media, ceramics, textiles, 3D and a range of printmaking techniques. From Year 7, students follow a program that builds on previous learning to encourage independent thinking, knowledge growth and of course practical skills that can be developed and refined as they progress through the school. Critical and contextual studies are addressed to aid visual literacy, knowledge of processes and materials, enable discussion and inspire personal responses in an informed and critical fashion. Art is in a strong position to bridge other school subjects, taking inspiration and reference material from them to provide a wider picture and help to underpin study. We live in a visual world exposed to a whole host of imagery, symbols and social culture. Our students enjoy opportunities to express themselves, interact with stimulus and think critically.


What’s good about Art?


Art lowers stress, allows you to focus deeply, connects us to the world, solve problems creatively, reflect and process emotions. It is also fun, builds resilience, pride and challenges dexterity.


What’s good about Art at WGHS?


We aim to teach you new ways of looking and new ways to handle and control media, processes and techniques. By looking and learning about artists, craftspeople and designers (both historical and contemporary) we can inspire new ways of thinking and of seeing the world. Students build on skills in colour, observation and media experimentation but also have the chance to make decisions and conduct their own research. We have a printing press, print screens, a kiln, digital cameras and access to textiles and a laser cutter through our partnership with Design & technology.

Department Aims:

  • To develop visual literacy and awareness.
  • To develop particular creative and technical skills so that ideas can be realised and artefacts produced.
  • To develop students' aesthetic sensibilities and enable them to make informed judgements about art and design with understanding in the broader context of contemporary society.
  • To increase students' capacity and desire to observe and learn about the world in which they live.
  • To develop individual's articulation and communication of ideas, opinions and feelings about their own work and that of others.
  • To motivate students to achieve their true potential in art and design.
  • To develop individual's capacity for imaginative and original thought and experimentation.
  • To ensure individuals understand criteria for assessment and how to improve or develop their own achievements.
  • To help students to develop positive relationships.

Key Stage 3:

The Year 7 program aims to form a foundation for all girls to improve basic skills in Art and to develop powers of observation, recording and appreciation of media and techniques. Links with artists' work help to inform technique and broaden awareness of colour mixing and colour application. Year 8 are introduced to 3D modelling, perspective and portraiture, printmaking and mixed media to name just a few themes that are explored through the year. Most of the projects encourage cross-curricular links, personalised learning and feature both practical, research and written tasks. The Year 9 course allows a portfolio of work to develop that explores a variety of techniques and investigations under one broad title, allowing for more sustained project work as a fore-runner to GCSE. Each class experiences 2-D work as well as a 3-D aspect and additional design briefs encourage consideration of art for particular purposes and audiences. Students are challenged to address Realism in their final painting of Year 9 and this is often a springboard into Year 10 studies at GCSE.

Key Stage 4:

Students follow the AQA syllabus in Art & Design: Fine Art. During the course students are introduced to a range of working methods, techniques, artists' work and subject matter. Developing strong observational drawing skills and thoughtful, personal responses to artists’ work underpins study throughout the course.


What will I study at GCSE?


Students in year 10 are encouraged to explore a range of themes to develop sustained work in preparation for their assessed portfolio. In year 11 there is increasing independence to develop personal ideas in response to a chosen theme. Work produced addresses four elements of Art and directly links to the assessment criteria; • Recording ideas through drawing, photography etc. • Reacting to the work of artists, using the information to develop their own work • Exploring media, refining skills and ideas • Using supporting studies to produce a final realised piece(s).


How is GCSE Assessed?


Component 1 (NEA portfolio) 60% of overall grade

Component 2 (externally set assignment) 40% of overall grade

Key Stage 5:

This course follows the AQA Art & Design: Art, Craft and Design or Fine Art syllabus. Students are introduced to a variety of experiences through staff-led starting points that encourage a focus on “rule breaking” and experimentation to broaden expectations of what “good art” can be. The Foundation Course in autumn of year 12 allows for a range of quick responses to build resilience and also a series of workshops to aid understanding and experience of a wide range of media and techniques. Observational drawing is disciplined and well-practised alongside experimentation with media and a developed understanding and appreciation of artists' work from a range of contexts. Parallel to this experience, students complete the overview of Art History and Critical & Contextual Studies Students need to be creative thinkers and problem solvers as well as being committed to visual enquiry and high standards of presentation. Thematic responses later allow for more self-directed investigations leading to high quality final pieces.


How is A level Assessed?


Through a sustained project (the Personal Investigation) students generate refined and resolved personal work in their particular area of interest.​ Throughout Year 13 more emphasis is on independent enquiry following tutorials with staff. The coursework unit includes up to a 3000-word written study on a chosen aspect of artists' work that connects with and informs practical work. This allows for in-depth study of an area of personal interest.


Component 1 (NEA) 60% overall grade


The course concludes with a 15 hour externally set assignment and a celebratory exhibition of work by all A-level students.


Component 2 (externally set assignment) 40% of overall grade


Visits to the University of Wolverhampton School of Art & Design Degree Show, the city's Museum and Art gallery and a selection of London or Liverpool galleries feature throughout the course

Extra-Curricular Activities:

Opportunities for lunchtime sessions vary throughout the academic year. We regularly offer drop-in sessions for students to access materials and equipment, develop personal work or homework tasks. GCSE and A-level students are encouraged to access artworks first-hand as much as possible outside of school. Regular visits organised by the department include the annual visit to at least two London galleries along with a local exhibition or curated guide to the collection at Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery.

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