GCSE – Fine Art

Curriculum Overview – Year 7 

In Year 7, students are encouraged to foster an appreciation of Art and Design through the introduction of a range of practical skills and contextual knowledge, developing an understanding of the formal elements of Art and Design, in order to express themselves. 

Two engaging topics are taught over the year. The first topic explores themes of self and identity, encouraging students to share experiences and celebrate diversity as they become familiar with their new surroundings. Inspired by Van Gogh’s use of colour and mark-making, it aims to introduce and develop an understanding of line, tone, colour and composition as a foundation for the topics that follow. Later in the year, we introduce formal observational drawing within a project that is inspired by historical and contemporary artists who have been inspired by the delicate subject of shells. It is a mixed media project, where students are actively encouraged to adopt an inventive approach to drawing through experimental mark-making.

Curriculum Overview – Year 8

The Year 8 Art and Design curriculum is designed to build upon the knowledge, skills and understanding delivered in Year 7. Students continue to be introduced to a range of media, methods and techniques through two topics, enabling students to engage with materials and the work of other artists in greater depth. Researching artists, thinking reflectively and evaluating their own progress, and the progress of others is expected; students are encouraged to make choices in order for them to work independently.  

The first topic focuses on self portraiture. Within this unit of work, students learn how to observe the human form accurately. They respond with abstract outcomes by referring to the work of a range of artists and learn about Cubism and its iconic imagery. 

‘Trees in the Landscape’ is a drawing and painting topic, centred around landscape artists, in particular, contemporary British artist David Hockney and his photo-montages (‘Joiners’). Within this unit of work students learn to refine their work, focusing on composition and layout within their own landscape studies, explored with a wide range of media. An exciting and broad range of materials for Year 8 engages and challenges the students. Group work and photography becomes a starting point for large-scale collaborative pieces of artwork.

Curriculum Overview – Year 9

The Year 9 curriculum is designed to act as a foundation year for the GCSE AQA Fine Art course. Students are introduced to a broad range of media, methods and techniques, including painting and printmaking, in a supported environment, where they become familiar with the assessment criteria and the process of how marks are awarded at GCSE. Students are encouraged to work experimentally, recording their ideas in a sketchbook, and creating a series of outcomes that make up a portfolio of work based on ‘Natural Form’. While exploring, developing and refining their practical skills, students learn how to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of art, craft and design in a wider context, through their independent research and investigation of other artists and practitioners.

Curriculum Overview -Year 10

Fine Art teaching in Year 10, is tailored to individual students and their needs. Students are introduced to two new topics and encouraged to work independently; enquiring, researching, reflecting, and evaluating their own progress as their work develops. Within the first unit, students choose their own topic, a theme of their own derived from one of several starting points, and then they create another independently led unit of work, focusing on portraiture, self and identity. In each of these units, students are encouraged to actively engage in the creative process. Students embed the skills learned in Year 9 by continuing to explore and acquire a variety of processes and techniques but with intent and conviction in relation to their own topic. Students record their ideas and observations, through drawing and written annotations, in sketchbooks and on study sheets, and are encouraged to talk and write more engagingly about their ideas, informed by their contextual research.

Curriculum Overview – Year 11

As in Year 10, the teaching in Year 11 is tailored to individual students and their needs. Students are again encouraged to actively engage in their own creative process, in order to become effective and independent thinkers, and are able to evidence this through their sketchbook studies and analytical research. The focus this year is to prepare students for the Externally Set Task (worth 40% of the overall mark), where students work independently in response to a starting point, stimulus or theme set by the examining board (AQA), using a range of materials of their choice.  An emphasis is on independent learning so teaching is supportive, but not leading, once the examination unit has begun. There is a strong emphasis on critical understanding and self-evaluation, where practical studies, experimentation and developmental work is embedded within a sustained and meaningful personal investigation.

Teacher of Fine Art

Mrs L Hamer – lhamer@sbch.org.uk