Art at Alexander First School
At Alexander First School, we understand that art is an area where pupils can understand and enjoy by developing an appreciation of the world around us. We believe that the teaching of art should be through practical exploration where children can develop a flare for the subject and an understanding of the work of artists, architects, sculptors and painters. By allowing children to develop their own flare for the subject, we are creating independent learners who can make decisions for themselves based on their own likes and dislikes. We want our pupils to be confident in saying their opinions in a respectful and well-thought out manner.
We have designed our curriculum so that art lessons allow opportunities for the children to plan and design their ideas so they are clear on what their final piece will look like. We encourage and praise the children to discuss their work, and to share why they have chosen a certain technique. Through utilisation of a variety of teaching and learning styles, pupils are motivated to question, form opinions and offer peer support as they focus on art from various periods of history including significant artists, architects, sculptors and painters from all around the world.
The Art Subject Lead Team
Alexander First School’s art subject lead team firmly believe that art and design contributes significantly to a pupil’s ‘rounded’ development. Art has the ability to be weaved throughout the curriculum and we do not under-estimate its importance. Research suggests that the arts develop creativity, a core pre-requisite of innovative mind sets, communicative attitudes and problem solving. Art and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. At Alexander First, we have designed a high-quality art and design progressive plan that will engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. In addition to this, our pupils will learn about how art has shaped our history and how it reflects it.
As our pupils progress through Alexander First School, they will draw upon their experiences within art and design, using a range of materials creatively to design and make products through drawing, painting and sculpture. They explore different techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. Using a clear progressive pathway throughout the year groups (see progression map for more information) ensures that high standards and quality of teaching are maintained, resulting in our pupils making good progress in the skills that they are demonstrating, vocabulary that they are being exposed to and knowledge that they are gaining.
To ensure that high standards are being maintained across each year group, termly monitoring takes place in the form of evidence gathering from children’s work and online observations (through Expressive Arts and Design in EYFS), sketch books (Key Stage One and Two) and pupil voice. When planning their topics, teachers focus on at least one artist per term. This meets the National Curriculum (2014) strand of knowing about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understanding the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
By the time our pupils reach the end of Year 4 they will have been given opportunities to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products through drawing, painting and sculpture. They will have explored different techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. In addition to this, our pupils will have learnt about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers; describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines and making links to their own work. Our pupils will have created a wide range of products that will have been showcased within their classrooms, during assemblies and to other teachers within our school. This ensures that a sense of pride is created in terms of the output produced - our pupils continually demonstrate our school values of Inspiration, Determination, Excellence, Friendship, Respect, Equality and Courage within the subject of art and design.
The objectives for art in KS1 and KS2 are clearly set out for each year group in the National Curriculum:
Key Stage 1:
Pupils should be taught about:
Key Stage 2
Pupils should be taught about:
Early Years Foundation Stage
We teach expressive art and design in nursery and reception classes, both as part of the topic work covered during the year and as continuous provision. As the classes are part of the EYFS curriculum, we relate the artistic side of the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELG’s) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged 3 to 5. Art makes a significant contribution, aiding children to express themselves using different materials, tools and techniques, as they experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function.
The contribution of art to teaching in other curriculum areas
At our school, we have aligned our curriculum so that the teaching of art is linked with our English topics throughout the year. English texts are chosen to engage and bring learning to life for the children, and from this we ensure that art is reinforced too. The children use their artist of the term to create pieces of art linked to their learning in English as well as that of science. For example, in Year 2 the anchor texts in the Spring term are ‘The Bee Who Spoke’ and ‘The Secret Sky Garden’ which are related to our science topic ‘Exploring Everyday Materials’ and ‘Growing Plants’. These are linked to our artist of the term Giuseppe Arcimboldo and his stylised portrait heads made entirely of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish and books.
The teaching of art contributes well to mathematics and science. Children develop the skill of accuracy when using rulers which they can then apply to their art lessons. This helps them to become aware of how they want their work to be presented, and it teaches them the skill of taking pride in their work. Shape is a mathematical topic where children become familiarised with symmetry and pattern which they can use when creating their own art work. Art links well to skills needed in science lessons. Children learn how to create mathematical and scientific tables to present their learning which again links to the skill of accuracy. Children are encouraged to use the resources that they have to present their work to the highest standard.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)
Children develop self-confidence by having the opportunity to explain their designs and work in their art lessons. Children are encouraged to offer peer support and praise to one another. In addition, they discover how to be active citizens in a democratic society by learning how laws are made and changed. They learn that society is made up of people from different cultures and start to develop respect and tolerance for others.
Information and communication technology enhances our teaching of art wherever appropriate in all key stages. The children use ICT in a variety of ways such as finding information on the internet and presenting information on artists, architects, sculptors and painters via PowerPoint.
Each historical topic taught at Alexander First School has an art theme running through it. The two subjects work together to allow children to question art, and to research how famous artists, architects, sculptors and painters decided to pursue the subject. Many art lessons spend time researching the work of famous artists to allow children to understand the context behind the artist. For example, it allows the children to understand what it would have been like during the period of the Egyptians, and what equipment they had to use. It allows great comparative language skills to develop as children are encouraged to understand how art has developed through time.
Throughout the year, there are many opportunities for art and RE to link together. Alexander First School provides the children with RE Week during which children learn about many religions. The children work to create respectful, artistic pieces that are then showcased through the school. Linking these two subjects allows the children to develop a respect for different religions, and to see how art is perceived across the wider world.
British Values is a core value that all staff share at Alexander First School. British Values links with art in a variety of ways. Throughout the year, we look at various aspects of British Values such as Remembrance Day. The whole school participates in creating purposeful art for a display at Dedworth Tesco’s led by Ms Baker.
Art supports spiritual development by introducing children to the work of great artists and fosters awe and wonder at the achievements of these great works of art. They also experience great admiration and respect for their peers’ work when they see the level of achievement and progress. Furthermore, art is closely linked with RE topics, whereby children’s creativity is often encouraged in order to portray certain religious stories or other religious matter. This is evident during the Easter period in which children create Easter egg designs which portray the Easter story. Another example of how art engages children’s spirituality is during the annual commemoration of Remembrance. Children often create poppies, which in the past have been made of clay, card or other medium, which are then displayed at various locations such as the local community centre, supermarket and church. Wreaths, illustrations, peace towers, and paper doves are just some of the creative pieces of art work we have made for this significant occasion.
Art supports moral development by encouraging mutual respect and the consideration for others’ work. Pupils are encouraged to show compassion when assessing the work of others, through understanding how their comments can build up or destroy another’s self-belief. This is promoted through ‘gallery’ lessons at the end of an art unit in which children assess their peers’ work, drawing on positives and areas for improvement. Children have to act sensitively to others, showing an awareness of how they can be a critical friend and offer constructive criticism without being offensive.
Art and design supports social development because, on occasion, children are required to work in pairs, groups or teams collaboratively. Children often work collaboratively requiring co-operation and communication, linking to the values of trust and compassion. Discussions about what the artist is trying to portray and their opinions on the artwork are actively encouraged, in an atmosphere whereby children mutually respect and value each other’s opinions.
Art supports cultural development work by enabling children to study art involving various cultures and civilizations from around the world. They lead to a greater understanding of different ways of life and a respect for cultures that are very different from our own; how they can enrich our own lives. The fusion of art work between our own and other cultures leads to pupils incorporating designs, patterns and motifs in their own work developed by a deeper understanding of the culture. In addition, the art long-term plan, is designed to link closely with the curriculum areas with which they are best suited. For example, in Year Two to support the learning of ‘International Week’, pupils focus on Africa, including the artwork and style of the Maassai people. For the over-arching Year Four unit, ‘The Egyptians’, the art topic ‘Jewellery’ is undertaken during which pupils study jewellery of through the ages beginning with Ancient Egypt to modern-day Queens and Kings. Given our proximity to Windsor Castle, local artwork is considered during a ‘Local Area Study’ during which pupils study sculptures.
We place great importance on educational visits and visitors to enhance the art curriculum. These trips, alongside various other strategies discussed above, allow teachers to facilitate learning so that pupils can note connections, contrasts and trends over time and are more holistically developed to enter the world as wider informed individuals. Such visits include:
Assessment for learning
Children demonstrate their ability in art in a variety of different ways. Younger children might, for example, work in a small group to design an artistic piece and have an adult-led discussion about how the art has made them feel. As children get older, work is much more focused on children ensuring they are independent learners; they use their sketch books to make notes that will inform their final artistic pieces.
Teachers will assess children’s work by making informal judgements during lessons.
On completion of a piece of work, the teacher assesses the work and uses this information to plan for future learning. Written or verbal feedback is given to the child to help guide his or her progress. Older children are encouraged to make judgements about how they can improve their own work or the work of their peers.