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Wonder Secondary Art

Wonder Secondary Art
Curriculum taught at:

Our vision

Part of our performance discipline, art is one of the key modes of communication.  On the simplest level, it allows children to make their mark and create representations of the world around them.  As they continue through their studies they will see the way that great artists have challenged the way we see the world and learn how to develop their own style and viewpoint.

Art enriches the experience of studying while at school by encouraging self-expression and creativity.  It builds confidence and can build as well as a sense of individual identity, helping pupils become creative, ambitious, and for their ideas to be well-presented.

Creative To be creative is to be original and innovative – we recognise that in order to do this well, children need to build a body of knowledge and skills to help them understand the conventions and approaches of drawing and painting. Developing these skills builds confidence and helps them to understand the mechanics and rules of art – such as colour theory – so that they can stretch and challenge them creatively. Consequently, regardless of their starting point, children are praised when they show progress in their fine motor skills As children proceed through the schemes of learning, they acquire the artistic method of planning, research, composition, and experimentation. We scaffold carefully the tasks set: while early projects specify the subject and outline the techniques to be applied, we increase the freedom in the outcome and style, culminating in GCSE and A Level study where children will produce their own designs from a broad stimulus because they understand the methods through which artists work.
Ambitious Children are inspired to aim higher in art through the careful use of model work. This includes work of the great artists, showing children some of the finest pieces of artwork produced throughout history, but also includes work by their peers. Examples are shared across a range of abilities - including work of the very highest standard - so that all children can identify areas to develop in their work, regardless of their starting point and to build an appreciation of what makes an artwork successful.
Well Presented Through their work in art, pupils will not only learn to take pride in their own work, ensuring it is well presented, but also think critically about how images and representations present the world. They will realise that photographs and images can carry messages through the way they are presented, created, and composed – from concepts of ‘beauty’ in magazines to the way that advertising uses systems of colours and signs, to the concept of political art.

Art Curriculum

What knowledge will children learn in Art?

We aim to provide all children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.  In doing so they will learn to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. Children will also understand how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and economy through work on commercial design and its roots in fine art.

In order to accomplish these three aims, our curriculum aims to provide the following opportunities:

  1. Pupils will produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences. To do so, they will use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks as a basis for exploring their ideas.  They will encounter a wide range of medium – from simple pencil drawing to pen and ink, paint, and methods such as collage and printmaking and increase their proficiency.
  2. Through a focus on practical work and through high-quality examples – as well as modelling by teachers in lessons – they will become proficient in drawing, painting and other art, craft and design techniques.
  3. Pupils will learn about the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day In appreciating and evaluating their work, they will learn to evaluate and analyse their own pieces using the language of art, craft and design in order to strengthen its visual impact and ambition.
Our Teaching

To improve the capability of all children in creating objects of art through the development of fine motor skills and experience with a range of materials.  By developing skills in mark making – including line drawing, shading, and painting – pupils learn to become increasingly confident visual communicators.  In addition to skills, there is a body of knowledge of techniques for children to recognise and apply, including types of perspective, cross-hatching, washes, colour theory as well as the use of proportion. We aim to provide all children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.  

To help children to see and work as artists do.  In order to accomplish this, the knowledge and skills needed to create art is mapped against projects that show these techniques in context.  Consequently, children follow a carefully sequenced project pathway that starts with still life before developing work in sketching transparent objects and playing with light and perspective to create composition through landscape.  They then move through to exploring surface texture (to live subjects in motion), colour theory and design, typography and portrait painting.  They also look at the way figurative art is developed into abstract art, craft and design.  In doing so they will learn to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design.

To build an appreciation of great art.  Children will explore art from different parts of the world and through time.  This aspect enriches and develops the other two aspects of knowledge.  In the first case, learning about key movements in art helps children to see how techniques in art have evolved and can be put to their best use – pointillist brushstrokes, for example, developing from impressionism.  In the second case, projects are linked to both a modern and historic painter across a range of movements to show that an art of work can be created in a number of different ways to develop their creativity and unlock for them a lifelong appreciation of art.   Children will understand how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

All three aspects ultimately aim to help children develop their own style – standing “on the shoulders of giants” and becoming increasingly skilled– and encourage them to continue painting, drawing, and making as adults.

How families can support

Families can support by encouraging their child to complete the homework tasks and by regularly reviewing their sketchbook. Gathering resources for the projects is also invaluable. These would include taking photographs, researching artists, visiting inspirational locations and watching relevant programmes and discussing the outcomes. Our pupils are creative and great problem-solvers and thrive on challenges in a competitive environment. They enjoy talking about their art work so please help to engage them by listening and discussing their progress

You may also like to take your child to one of the fabulous art galleries in the local area:

The Mercer Gallery, Harrogate – Home to Harrogate district’s art collection from the 19th and 20th centuries.

York Art Gallery – A display of paintings and ceramics and a thriving events and exhibitions programme.

Beningbrough Hall – Features over 100 paintings from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park – YSP is an international centre for modern and contemporary art. Explore 500 acres of 18th century landscape with over 60 sculptures in the open air by some of the world’s finest artists, including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Andy Goldsworthy and Antony Gormley.

Sequencing and Assessment

Pupils develop flair across six formal elements of art – line, tone, shape and form, colour, texture, and pattern – and apply these across projects in lower school that are designed to introduce the technical skills required as well as introduce them to the work of influential artists from across time and place.

In Year 7 this journey begins with a still life to practice and develop line and shade, developing from straightforward objects to transparent and matt textures and incorporating light.  This then broadens out – applying these principles to landscapes through a project on perspective that opens the scale and helps pupils understand how different artists create the illusion of depth and space on a 2d plane.

Having explored non-organic forms and landscapes, children then focus on two projects based on living things: a project on fish and aquatic creatures allows them to play with refraction and fluidity – both in terms of the subject and the paint (using the wet-on-wet method) as a medium. They then move to flowers to consolidate work on the colour wheel and composition before ending with a project on African art to see how the natural elements they have studied in the year can be stylised to create powerful figurative and non-figurative designs.

In Year 8, pupils first take part in synoptic projects that return to Year 7 content in challenging ways.  For example, combining their work on colour theory and still life with a project on Pop Art. As well as serving as a way into twentieth century art and design, pupils also explore the relationship between art and mass media and culture through works by Warhol and others.  This is followed by another synoptic project in which children explore botanical drawing across a range of styles – beginning with realism before exploring impressionistic, and finally commercial and design artists to look at how art informs design such as textiles.

At the end of Year 8, pupils apply the skills and understanding they have developed to two projects that pick up on the two key strands of our STARS curriculum – the self and others.  They begin with political painting (through contemporary artists such as Banksy and Kruger) to explore current affairs and the work they have completed in PSHCE on politics and democracy.  They then move onto the self portrait, based on the work of artists throughout time.

As pupils enter Year 9 and move to GCSE, the topics introduced become broader, allowing pupils to select their medium, artists for inspiration, and the subject matter they will select.  A key part of this is the development of They do so successfully because the grounding they receive in Year 8 has scaffold the skills and understanding necessary for them to create and develop their own style.  Pupils continuing to GCSE and beyond will explore additional medium such as print making, digital technologies, and ceramics to further challenge them.


Pupils and students from Year 7 work in sketchbooks to collate ideas, experiment creatively, and evaluate their work.  While each piece from Year 7 onwards as a final product in mind, the preparation and quality of planning is always considered as part of their assessment,

The key pieces that will inform progress reviews – as well as the timeline for these assessments – are as follows.