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Art & Design

Curriculum Intent

Upon entry, pupils undertake a baseline assessment to determine their ability in the key skills and knowledge of art in line with the National art and design programmes of study/GCSE assessment objectives.   From this, gaps in knowledge and proficiency of skills are identified and personal  targets are set.  This informs focused planning and lesson delivery.


At St Matthias, the KS3 and short stay KS4 art curriculum for the academic year 2023-24 has been designed on a topic basis each term.

The topics are as follows:

  • Term 1- Colour, Marks and Pattern
  • Term 2- Bristol
  • Term 3- Ceremonies, Festivals and Celebrations
  • Term 4- Buildings and Structures
  • Term 5- The Natural World
  • Term 6- Myself


The topic curriculum is designed to develop the key concepts of creativity, competence, cultural understanding and critical understanding, as well as developing general knowledge, confidence, independent learning skills, cognitive skills, SMSC and personal, learning and thinking skills and promotion of EDI. Each topic promotes equality, diversity and cultural identity as pupils study art and artists from a range of countries, cultures, sexual orientations, genders and celebrates uniqueness and diversity.

Each topic is designed to incorporate opportunities for pupils to undertake activities that are relevant, engaging and fun. The planned tasks throughout the year are sequential and develop and build upon key skills and knowledge and this sequencing is outlined in the planning (see page 5 for examples). These are banded into:

  • Recording/developing ideas in response to a topic (using a range of methods)
  • Exploring (a wide range of 2D and 3D media, techniques and processes)
  • Making/creating/practical skills (sequential and building upon previous skills and knowledge)
  • Art literacy (to analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work and about the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day. Developing understanding and use of art terminology)

The topic-based model is designed to provide an ease of integration into the subject of which pupils can participate at any stage of their learning journey at St Matthias Academy.  The topics are designed to allow for dysfluency and can be adapted and differentiate for different types of learners at different stages of learning.

Through the variety of topics delivered pupils are provided with the opportunities to produce creative and dynamic art work, to explore their ideas and record their experiences as well as opportunities to become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques.  There is also a strong focus on literacy within the subject where pupils are encouraged to annotate, evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design.  Pupils are exposed to a wide range of art forms, cultures and styles throughout time in order to their awareness of a range of artists and crafts people including the great artists, craft makers and designers.  Pupils learn the historical and cultural influence on the development of art, craft and design.


The focus for key stage 4 pupils is the development of skills and knowledge in order to produce a portfolio of work for AQA GCSE Art and Design including : Pupils are given a topic on which they build a portfolio of work that evidences work for each of the following GCSE assessment objectives:

  • AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.
  • AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.
  • AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

Along with SMSC, there is also a focus on the development of social, moral, spiritual and cultural as well as literacy, personal, learning and thinking skills and EDI. The programme of study has been developed to allow students to develop their knowledge and understanding through a variety of learning experiences and approaches, including engagement with sources. This provides opportunities to develop the pupils understanding of the world of art, ability to interpret and understand artworks and to develop art literacy.   Pupils develop their confidence, and knowledge to develop their creative skills as they are given the opportunity to explore a wide range of media, processes and techniques, building upon previous skills and knowledge.  A focus on independent learning and the development of independent artist skills are encouraged in order for pupils to develop their own unique style, make reasoned judgements about the development of their work and realise their intentions. The aim is for pupils to present a body of work that evidences work for each assessment objective in line with the exam board requirements. The weighting of the course consists of 60% coursework and 40% exam.  Each component must show coverage of the four assessment objectives and include annotation and evidence of analysing.

The programme of study is designed to enable pupils to transfer their skills and GCSE portfolio of work if they change provision but also enables year 11 pupils remaining at St Matthias Academy to be submitted for both the coursework and exam components within the provision.


Pupils are engaged in the subject by means of knowledgeable staff, exciting, interesting planning and creative delivery of lessons differentiated by each pupil's skills, knowledge and needs.  The art room is a nurturing, productive and creative environment which encourages engagement and productiveness.  Pupils are provided with the tools to enable them to complete tasks and activities as independently as possible, and they are encouraged to make informed choices about the development of their creative work.  Pupils are given frequent opportunities to explore a range of media, techniques and processes and are actively encouraged to learn from failures and successes within this area, therefore developing their resilience and reflective learning ability. Pupils are actively encouraged to develop their own personal style, take risks and express themselves through the medium of art.


Pupils are assessed according to the progress tracker and the current GCSE art and design grading system.  Feedback is given regularly through means of verbal and written feedback that praises the positives and makes suggestions for areas to develop. Pupils are given feedback on their efforts and behaviour within class as this impacts on learning and progression.  Opportunities are provided for pupils to self and peer-assess work on a regular basis.  In depth assessment and feedback of work is completed at the end of every topic for KS3 or every 6 weeks and this breaks down the areas of assessment to:

  • Recording and development of ideas
  • Exploring
  • Making
  • Practical skills
  • Art literacy
  • Behaviour for learning
  • Effort

KS4 pupils are assessed against the AQA Art and Design assessment criteria.

Therapeutic art

One art well-being session is delivered to each non-GCSE group on a weekly basis on a Monday.  The aim of the sessions is for pupils to engage in art activities that promote confidence, wellbeing, relaxation and social skills.  Pupils use this opportunity to discuss any difficulties or issues in a relaxed, safe and informal setting.  Although sessions are planned, the sessions are fluid and respond to the pupils' needs.  Pupils have the freedom to select from a range of activities and can choose to work on an independent activity.


Scaffolding of key skills and knowledge examples
  1. Fine motor skills focus
  2. holding the pencil
  3. tracing basic lines
  4. drawing basic lines
  5. tracing more complex lines
  6. tracing basic 2D shapes
  7. drawing basic 2D shapes-line only
  8. drawing complex 2D shapes-line only
  9. gradings of pencils
  10. basic tonal range
  11. wider range of tonal range using pencil gradings
  12. drawing basic 2D shapes with tone
  13. drawing complex 3D shapes with tone
  14. observational drawing using shapes and lines
  15. observational drawing using more complex shapes, lines and some tonal range.
  16. observational drawing complex-light, shadow, tonal range, some detail
  17. observational drawing complex-light, shadow, tonal range, more in depth detail
  18. observational drawing complex-light, shadow, range of tonal range, in depth detail


Relief printing
  1. Relief printing-styrofoam. Use of basic lines only
  2. Relief printing-styrofoam. Some use of more complex shapes
  3. Relief printing-styrofoam. Complex shapes and use of tone
  4. Relief printing-lino
  5. Use of cutting tools to form basic lines
  6. Use of cutting tools to form more complex lines and basic shapes-one colour only
  7. Selection and use of cutting tools to form complex shapes and lines-one colour only
  8. Use of layering of colours-clear understanding of process.
  9. Use of layering of colours-complex and high-level understanding of process.