Art and Design Curriculum Statement
Art and Design at Plymouth Grove Primary School
Article 29 of the UNCRC: a child or young person's education should help their mind, body and talents be the best they can
Global Goal 4: Quality Education
In Art & Design, we aim for pupils to learn about great artists; to learn skills through art, using these skills to enrich and enhance learning in other subjects; to access art through links with the Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries; and to study great artists that reflect our school’s diversity.
At Plymouth Grove Primary School we give pupils a broad and balanced Art & Design curriculum, giving pupils hands-on, practical experiences. We believe that children have a natural desire to express themselves and be creative, and this subject is ideal for children to explore their talents.
We aim for pupils to develop high levels of knowledge and skills in the main areas mentioned in the National Curriculum:
produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques (which in our school this includes printing, collage and textiles)
evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
We aim for every child to have visited an art gallery and worked with professional artists. We also aim to promote access to wider cultural opportunities by making links between our families and the city’s museums and galleries.
Art & Design is currently taught by a specialist teacher in years 2-6 and class teachers in other year groups. The curriculum is based on the framework of the National Curriculum, with more detailed long- and medium-term planning developed by the subject leader.
The subject leader’s own Art & Design knowledge is an important part of providing high quality teaching within the school, and supporting non-specialist teachers to do the same. CPD is being accessed by work on a voluntary basis with professional artists at Manchester Art Gallery, alongside personal research.
The 6 main ‘topics’ of drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, collage and textiles, are taught on a 2-year rolling programme, with pupils revisiting each area in key stage 1, lower key stage 2 and upper key stage 2. This allows for progression within each as children grow, but also allows for scaffolding and differentiation where needed. This progression is detailed in the Age-Related Expectations (AREs) for each year group.
These topics are now ‘fixed’ so that teachers in recent years have been able to become more expert at teaching their year-group in Art & Design, develop their resources, and develop effective curriculum links.
Year groups have a toolkit of resources within classrooms for everyday use in artistic activities across other curriculum areas. More specialized resources are maintained by the subject leader for use in discrete Art & Design lessons. We have a wide range of art media to ensure children get to use materials they have not had access to in everyday life.
We aim to inspire pupils through the work of great artists, but also reflect the diversity of our school, city and beyond in the artists we study. This year we are introducing more female artists, and artists from a more diverse range of ethnicities. We have purchased new resources such as art materials and reference books, to better reflect our school’s diversity. This is based on CPD at Manchester Art Gallery.
The Art & Design curriculum is enriched by visits to the Whitworth Art Gallery to work with professional artists. Free activities for families in the city’s galleries and museums are also promoted through the school’s social media.
Assessment is carried out through observations of pupils whilst working, and also of their finished pieces. Processes, creativity, exploration and understanding are as important as ‘finished’ pieces. Pupils talk about and discuss their work; older pupils also annotate their work. Although Art & Design can be considered very subjective, outcomes can be compared within year-groups, but also across different year groups and phases. Pupils are also asked to give feedback and opinions about their learning using ‘Pupil Voice’ exercises.
Long-term monitoring is also being carried out: a ‘target group’ of pupils in each year group has been chosen and their work is recorded annually. This gives the subject leader an insight into pupils’ journeys through school over several years, ensuring progression and development of skills (rather than just repetition of similar work). In particular, children who show talent and promise are followed from a young age, to ensure we still have high expectations of them as they move into later key stages.
These are used to inform the subject leader if curriculum content has been covered, whether AREs have been met or exceeded, how pupils feel about their own learning, and what areas need to be developed or prioritized in future.
Learning about great artists and our culture leads to a deeper understanding of the world, but also opportunities to express themselves within it. Pupils with SEND, EAL and disadvantaged backgrounds access Art & Design lessons well, which they may not do in other curriculum areas. Art & Design lessons are essential in providing pupils with their rights to a good education (A28), to freedom of expression (A13), to explore their talents (A29) and to learn about their culture (A31).
The skills of analysis, evaluation, technical drawing, and learning about the world and its culture are transferable to other areas of the curriculum, and can help them to understand these areas in new ways. Pupils know that not all learning has a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer or end product, and that growth, exploration and creativity have value in themselves.
Greater Manchester has a huge range of cultural and career opportunities, with many galleries, museums, artistic and media institutions a mere bus ride or tram stop away. Success in Art & Design could lead to children aspiring to careers in the creative arts or media; but also we hope that by developing their creativity, we are equipping them for careers and opportunities in the future, that may not even exist at present.