The Art and Design Faculty aims to provide a dynamic and interactive learning environment which allows students and staff to develop and exploit their creative talents. The curriculum, at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, offers a broad range of art, craft and design activities, designed to engage students in learning the artistic skills needed to express themselves creatively, take calculated risks and fulfil personal potential. In an environment where creativity is fostered and valued, students of all abilities are able to develop effective communication skills while exploring and developing artistic understanding and practical skill.


Key Stage 3

The Art and Design Scheme of Work at Key Stage 3 ensures that students experience a broad range of art, craft and design activities. A variety of approaches, media and techniques are explored in the classroom and as homework in order to prepare students to for GCSE courses. Over our fortnightly timetable, students have two hour-long lessons of general Art and Design in YR7 YR9, before they can select an Art and Design subject to study at GCSE level in YR10. 

 Key Stage 4  

The GCSE Art and Design subjects follow the AQA specification and assessment is based on 60% portfolio (coursework) and 40% of marks from the Externally Set Task element. Students can choose from: – 

GCSE Art, craft and design 

GCSE Graphic communication 

GCSE Textile design 

GCSE Photography 

As part of our options system the Art subjects have a total of four hours a fortnight in YR10 and five lessons in YR11. The Art and Design rooms, including our Photography rooms and studio, are open to students at lunchtimes and after school to develop and extend their learning and creative outcomes. The development of practical skill through practise relies on an investment of time and students are expected to complete set homework at the start of the GCSE courses and should have an increasingly independent approach to exploring ideas as the course progresses. The Knowledge and Understanding aspect of the courses ensures that students should be able to research other artists work and make relevant links to their own practice. Drawing and annotation are an integral part of all the Art and Design courses, in line with the AQA expectation that ‘students must record their ideas, observations and insights both visually and through written annotation’. This forms the only written element of the courses as the ‘exam’ is the Externally Set Task, which takes the form of the type of practical work completed during the rest of the course. 


A series of tasks and activities are designed to test the students’ artistic abilities on entering Wright Robinson. There is as much breadth as possible in order to ascertain where students’ skills may lie. Students are given demonstrations, direction and guidance where appropriate, but a certain amount of independence is expected when completing classroom tasks, as well as homework   

Key skills covered in Term 1: Mark making, primary and secondary source observational drawing, research, design, colour theory and application of paint.  

The skills are re-visited and developed in the following two terms, as students respond to the theme ‘Identity’. Students also have the opportunity to work 3-dimensionally with clay, explore collage techniques, research and respond to the work of selected artists and consider the creative presentation of sketch book pages. 

Homework plays a key role in providing evidence of individual abilities, practising skills and gives an opportunity for students to demonstrate practical and creative strengths. It will therefore include a range of approaches – observational work, design opportunities, independent research and literacy/annotation based tasks. 


Students respond to the theme of ‘The Natural World’ and start the year completing a series of primary source drawings in a range of media. These will be developed into repeat pattern ideas using a range of subject specific techniques. Students then develop use of media and creative knowledge in a series of fine art responses to the theme of the Natural World. Secondary source material and the work of relevant artists are used to influence and inspire creative outcomes. 

Techniques explored: – range of graphic media, collage, print-making and mixed media approaches. In the final term students can experience the development of ideas using digital design processes, textile techniques, working to a graphics based design brief or photographic work. 


In YR9 students experience a taste of the four discreet Art and Design subjects offered at GCSE level in Wright Robinson College. Students explore the theme of ‘Texture’ through creating actual textures within a fine art/textiles approach. These surfaces will be developed into implied texture through primary source observational drawing and photography techniques. The drawings and photographs will be further developed in one of our Mac suites whilst exploring graphic design skills. As well as keeping a traditional sketch book, students will present the year’s work in an annotated digital sketch book, as they continue to explore creative possibilities using Photoshop. 

The year will also have a careers focus. At relevant points, careers in the creative industries will be explored through discussion, research and task-based approaches. 


Visual Arts Subjects 

Wright Robinson offers four discreet Art and Design subject areas and these AQA GCSE courses start in YR10 with a foundation type course of study for part of the year, in which students are introduced to key skills and information through responding to a given theme, or themes.   

GCSE Art, Craft and DesignThroughout the year students are introduced to a range of appropriate materials, processes and techniques reflecting the breadth of art, craft and design. They are given guidance in exploring and experimenting with a range of resources, materials and techniques and are expected to work more independently as the course progresses. Students begin the process of developing the knowledge, understanding and skills of the GCSE in Year 10 through the delivery of Units of Study which are designed to ensure that the four Assessment Objectives are fully met. Themes for exploration could be ‘Identity’, ‘Landscape’ or other starting points which have previously appeared on the AQA Externally Set task paper.  

Units of Study for each group are appropriate for a broad experience of domains, disciplines and approaches. Skills and techniques are re-visited throughout the year and new skills are introduced within a student-centred approach 

Students will become increasingly independent in demonstrating their ability to:- 

  • Record – primary and secondary source drawing in a range of media will demonstrate a more independent approach with an understanding of intention and purpose, gained from previous drawing opportunities. 
  • Annotateconsidered written notes should reflect understanding of artistic processes and intentions.   
  • Research – students show an understanding of intention when investigating other artists’ work with considered creative presentation of information and analysis. 
  • Development – initial drawings and research are developed in selected media, materials, techniques or processes. 


GCSE Graphic Communication – Students are introduced to a variety of techniques and approaches for creating graphic designs using Photoshop, drawing and photography skills. Whilst responding to a given theme, they carry out research of artists work and imagery, in order to inspire personal designs and outcomes. Students work towards creating an outcome to summarise their project. Utilising skills acquired throughout the year, they will choose to create final pieces such as a keyring design, landmark poster, magazine cover or souvenir designs. 

 As the year progresses students focus on working with higher levels of detail within their designs and further exploration of techniques and approaches. Outcomes could include CD cover design, poster design, website design, game cover design or book cover design. Whilst producing coursework, students gain valuable experience of what a career in graphic design could entail, as they experience working from a design brief. 


GCSE Textile design – Students explore a given theme through collecting and recording images, ideas and artist research in a variety of approaches and media. Sketch books are used to develop and present ideas but the work changes scale and format as students are introduced to subject specific techniques such as machine stitch, print – making, silk painting, batik and fashion design. Possible themes for exploration are ‘Detail’, ‘Birds’, ‘Flowers’, ‘Circles’ and other starting points which have previously appeared on AQA Externally Set Task paper. 

GCSE Photography – Through the first year of the GCSE course the diverse project titles such as portraiture and abstraction allow students to cover the fundamental elements of photography to build a consistently confident use of DSLR cameras. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus control, light metering and exposure are covered through teacher lead workshops with clear emphasis placed on composition quality. Workshops include studio inductions with constant and flash lighting application utilising teamwork, design, presentation of work and lighting diagrams used to simulate professional working environments. Consistent use of the adobe creative suite helps the selective process to edit and develop photographs with evaluation of successful imagery relating to artistic style. As confidence and skilled ability develops, students start to develop their own visual style with emphasis placed on artistic ideas and reasoning behind the creative process. 

As the course progresses, students are introduced to context and critical thinking through various influential art movements such as SurrealismThe inclusion of time period and artistic response to current affairs, politics and other art movements underpin student application of advanced camera use and design work students develop a higher level of self-directed research to help inform and personalise their creative response. 

Contemporary artists and techniques, such as digital collage, are utilised to form a range of expressive outcomes with appropriate comparisons drawn between photographic technique, specialist equipment, creativity and cultural appreciation. 

Building on prior techniques, skills and analytical thought process, students will develop the ability to tailor their coursework into self-directed responses appropriate to a given theme.  

Application of photographic techniques and industry standards are discussed and explored throughout the two-year GCSE course with the expansive range of photographic careers embedded in to lesson. Opportunity to have first-hand industry experience and workshops are also available to students with brief-lead tasks and highquality, specialist photographic kit. 


In Year 11 there are three main elements to all Art and Design subjects. During the first term students are introduced to the Art and Design ‘exam’ process through the completion of a mock ‘Externally Set Task’. The exam papers, which have a range of starting points from previous years’ Externally Set Task, are delivered to groups in September with clear guidance and examples of how the different ‘questions’ could be approached. Students experience the freedom of selecting what they will explore for the rest of the term before they produce an outcome (or outcomes) in a supervised amount of time. This is usually a 5-hour, daylong session so that students will know what to expect in March when they will be expected to complete the ‘real exam’ over the course of two days (10 hours). After being marked as a stand-alone ‘exam’, this project will then become coursework and maybe selected as part of the portfolio of work (Unit 1), which accounts for 60% of GCSE grade.    

In the second term the ‘real’ exam paper (AQA Externally Set Task/Unit2) is distributed during the first week of January. Students produce exploratory preparatory work until the middle of March when the 10-hour supervised sessions take place. All work is marked (prep work and the outcome/s) and this Unit 2 element accounts for 40% of the final GCSE award. 

In April and May students work on the selection, development and refinement of their ‘Portfolio’ – Unit 1. This coursework makes up 60% of the GCSE grade. Marks for Unit 1 and Unit 2 are submitted to the AQA by the end of May.   


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