Upper School Art

General Philosophy

Teaching art is highly rewarding. It brings delight to pupils and to adults. The pupils celebrate creativity, inventiveness and ingenuity through the making of and viewing works of art. A major contribution to thinking about art education was the ‘Gulbenkian report’ which sees the arts as making vital contributions to children’s education in six main areas:

  • In developing the full variety of human intelligence;
  • In developing the ability for creative thought and action;
  • In the education of feeling and sensibility;
  • In the exploration of values;
  • In understanding cultural change and difference;
  • In developing physical and perceptual skills. (Calouste-Gulbenkian Foundation 1982)

A wall filled with artwork created by the students of tree frogs


Making art offers opportunities to develop essential skills, knowledge and understanding that apply across the curriculum. The teaching of art is concerned with essential elements of thinking and learning such as:

  • First-hand practical sensory experiences,
  • Developing, processing and representing ideas
  • Responding to problems
  • Developing visual awareness
  • Refining practical skills in the use and control of materials and technique
  • Investigation, exploration and discovery
  • Study of the ideas, processes and products of other artists/ crafts people
  • Developing personal and individual modes of expression
  • Observing and scrutinising in detail

A model of a figure created to look like it was made out of a stick


Art is incorporated in the Junior School as part of the pupil’s project work and although they learn many basic skills, it is not until they enter the Upper School that they understand it is taught as a discrete subject. The core of the curriculum is that pupils learn drawing, painting, textile, printmaking and sculpture; the aim is to cover each of these areas with every year group. There is a good balance of two and three dimensional work.  The pupils at some stage through Year 4 to 8 learn specific skills such as silk painting and wire modelling.

The pupils do work of varied size and both in two and three dimensions. Each pupil is provided with an A4 sketchbook which acts as a record of their creative development. Pupils are at times encouraged to work on larger scales to gain confidence in drawing.

From Year 4 continuity and progression is achieved by building upon and revising core skills each year. Concepts are revisited as the same areas are covered each year i.e. drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles and fashion. Emphasis is placed on careful looking and pupils have regular practice in using line, tone, texture and pattern. In addition short bursts of observational drawing are undertaken throughout the year as stand-alone activities to improve observational skills on a regular basis. The pupils learn graphic design skills in Adobe Photoshop and Animation.