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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

Art & Design

Art & Design FAQs

Why do we need to study Art?

The first human art was created 100,000 years ago.  When daily life was a battle, humans still took the time to draw and record the world around them.  It is what sets us apart from the animal kingdom and the root of intelligence.  

These days we believe art just as important as it develops an overarching skill set.  Learning to observe the world and record what see is valuable in many of life’s activities.  Creativity is fundamentally problem solving and self-expression which are also valuable skills to learn and practice for the future.  We also believe art can help boost confidence and support mental wellness.


What do we learn about in Art?

All of our students are taught the skills that underpin all artwork called the formal elements.  These will be practiced in a range of materials such as pencil, pen, pencil crayon, paint and clay.  You will learn new processed like hand building, printing, designing and refining you work. It is important to understand where art has come from and how it has evolved through history as well as looking at modern day artists. Whilst the world of art is huge, we aim to give you the confidence and skills to enjoy exploring it in school and out.


What can I do with Art in the future?

At HLS, you have the option to continue studying Art or photography at GCSE level.  Here you will deepen you knowledge and secure your skills further.  This GCSE could open the door to college or HLS sixth form where you can continue to study art.  After this you might go on to study for a degree on one of the many art subjects (fine art, illustration, photography, graphics, advertising, printmaking, costume design, fashion design, games design, TV or film making….the list really does go on!).  This will channel you into a job or apprenticeship  in the UK (or global) creative industry which currently one of our biggest most thriving industries. The possibilities are endless.

The Art Department comprises of six purpose built rooms; each includes imaginative display, which share past and current pupils' projects creating a dynamic and stimulating learning environment. In main school, we are lucky enough to have our own ICT suite; this is predominately used for GCSE Photography. We expect all students to try their best as they explore a range of experiences from two-dimensional techniques to three-dimensional craft. The knowledge and skills learn in our department will be built upon and refined throughout the key stages. The curriculum has been designed to cover all four Assessment Objectives (AOs) that are covered at GCSE and A-Level to allow a smooth transition to these pathways should students want to continue with us. We intend to motivate, inspire and challenge pupils in all areas of art, craft and design.

Year 7 Curriculum

Autumn Term – Formal Elements

Students will explore the seven formal elements in art: Tone, Line, Colour, Pattern, Texture, Shape and Form. Students will learn how to use the elements within their artwork through experimenting with a range of different materials and techniques. These elements will underpin their future projects and will be built on over time as students work through the curriculum.

Spring Term – Jon Burgerman

Students will be able to recognise the style of Jon Burgerman’s artwork (AO1) and learn how he creates his work. Students will develop their imagination skills and use of humour when creating their own character designs inspire by Burgerman (AO2 and AO3). Students will learn how to mould clay into a 3D sculpture based on their design (AO4).

Summer Term – ISM’s Part One

As part of an Art History Project students will explore the Art timeline with a closer look at artists who pioneered Pointillism, Cubism and American Modernism (AO1).  Inspired by this research, they express their ideas through observational drawing (AO3) and material experimentation (AO2). The project culminates in mini outcomes (AO4) that showcase their journey and interpretation of each art movement. It provides students with a glimpse into art's origins and the profound influence each movement has on the next, fostering a deeper understanding of artistic evolution.

Year 8 Curriculum

Autumn Term – Pop Art

Students will learn the main characteristics within pop art. They will focus on creating both 2D drawings (AO3) and paintings as well as 3D sculptures (AO2) inspired by the work of Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg (AO1). Students will understand the importance of accuracy and creative risk to complete a successful sculpture using plaster of Paris (AO4).

Spring Term – Portraiture

Students will improve their observational drawing skills (AO3) by learning the correct proportions of the face and how to use guidelines to structure a portrait. Students will also apply tone and detail to make their drawing skills look realistic, while learning why portraiture is such a popular genre of art. They will analyse and interpret traditional artist and contemporary artist during the project (AO1 and AO2).

Summer Term – ISM’s Part Two

Building on knowledge of ISMs Part One Project in Year 7, students will further their exploration of Art History. They will delve into artists who led the Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Postmodernism movements (AO1). Drawing inspiration from this research, students will express their ideas through observational drawing (AO3) and material experimentation (AO2), resulting in mini outcomes (AO4) that mirror their individual journeys and interpretations of each ISM. This project aims to provide students with insight into art's origins and demonstrate the interconnected impact of each movement on the next.

Year 9 Curriculum

Art – In Year 9, students continue to build on the formal skills from Key Stage 3 with independence and understanding of the complete creative process. Students will learn how to cover the GCSE marking objectives through looking at different artists, developing observational drawing skills and experimenting with a variety of materials.

Year 10 Curriculum

Art – Students will use their knowledge and skills from Year 9 when starting their coursework project (60% of their overall grade). Throughout Year 10, students will build up a portfolio of work focussing on marking objective A01, A02 and A03. They have a choice of themes to work from so every project is personal to each student.

Year 11 Curriculum

Art – The Autumn term will be used to complete and refine their coursework. Students will then create a final piece using inspiration from their artist styles and own ideas. This will cover the final marking objective A04. All coursework must be completed by Christmas.

In the Spring term of Year 11, students are issued with the GCSE Art exam paper where they have a practical exam project build up over 10 weeks, followed by a 10-hour exam (split over two days). This will make up the remaining 40% of their overall grade.

Year 12 Curriculum

A-Level Fine Art is a bridge to further education in the creative sector. The course is structured in a similar way to the GCSE course allowing students to consistently build their skills in a range of areas. Students will initially be expected to explore a range of processes before research into their chosen theme. They will gain experience of working with a range of materials such as; drawing, painting, printing, 3D work as well as digital processes and photography during the induction phase in term one. When choosing their theme, they will be guided by subject staff to work within their strengths and interests. Students will then focus to refine their skills and deepen their understanding of the creative processes desired by many industries. In turn, students will build their transferable skills, creative thinking and ability to independently build a portfolio to be proud of but more importantly open doors. 

Year 13 Curriculum

At the start of Year 13, students will have A01, A02 and most of A03 completed. This Autumn term will be spent planning and creating their show stopping final piece. Students will be working on their final outcome, but also considering how to display it. Related studies must also be completed during the Autumn term, showing that students can confidently write about a particular artist, photographer, movement or theme.

February 1st sees the A-Level exam project, this is approached similar to the personal investigation. The only difference is that the final outcome is created during a 15-hour supervised, practical exam.

Extra-curricular Activities

GCSE drop-in sessions are available to help support students with their coursework and exam projects. This may be to use specialist materials and equipment or seek one-to-one support with the teacher.

S Ivens, Subject Leader for Art & Design