Curriculum Overview and Policy
Download: Art Policy 2022-2023 [PDF]
Art – Intent
At St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School, we believe that art stimulates creativity, imagination and tolerance. We believe that art gives our pupils the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for them to express responses to ideas and experiences, whilst simultaneously engaging with new ideas and experiences. At St Oswald’s, we believe that high-quality Art and Design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
Art is important to our curriculum, it is a non-verbal means of organising ideas and expressing feelings, therefore every child is able to participate. Art skills precede the child’s grasp of language and allow the individual to express themselves before their language skills allow. As language, physical and academic skills develop, our staff ensure that materials and mark making tools are adapted to support all learners needs at every level. Adults in school promote the enjoyment and understanding of Art and teach the skills appropriate to the age and abilities of the children. The previous year’s skills are also acknowledged and built upon in each topic cycle of Inspire/Skill/Final Product.
In the design of the curriculum, we look at ways to provide more opportunities for Art in a variety of subjects. Our staff promote a love of Art by offering opportunities throughout the curriculum to use Art as a means of expression and understanding, and also offer extra-curricular clubs to expand children’s experiences of arts and crafts. We also use Art as a vehicle to promote Eco Awareness and understanding the use of recyclable materials in sculpture from EYFS to Year 6. We are proud to use Art to promote the whole spectrum of Diversity and allow children the opportunity to be inspired by artists, architects, sculptors and crafts-makers from a wealth of backgrounds, lifestyles and cultures.
Liverpool has a variety of galleries and museums, providing opportunities for educational visits and school visitors that will enrich the curriculum. They should also have an awareness of how art reflects our local, national and global history, and contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of the nation.
Art – Implementation
All children are taught the skills and knowledge outlined in the programmes of study in the National Curriculum for Art. The general requirements are for a balanced programme of art, craft and design activities, working individually, in groups, and as a whole class.
In our school, Art topics are taught in one full day each term. The day is structured into ‘Inspire’, ‘Skill’ and ‘Final Product’. During ‘Inspire’ sessions, children are introduced to an artist, sculpture, architect or craft-maker and are given opportunities to express an opinion on their work. They are also introduced to the Big Question which states what their learning outcome will be. During ‘Skill’ sessions, the children work on an age-appropriate skill, which builds upon their prior knowledge, as demonstrated by the featured artist or Art movement. Finally, during ‘Final Product’ sessions the children will create a final piece inspired by the featured artist or Art movement which allows for opportunities showcase the skills they have worked on and answers the Big Question for that topic. Children are encouraged throughout Art Days to evaluate their own work and their peers work, and give constructive feedback and ways forward.
In EYFS, Art skills are taught as part of continuous provision. For each Art Day, the subject lead will meet with staff to discuss current topics or skills currently being worked upon. From this we will plan an Art Day to embed, build upon and showcase the skills currently being taught in EYFS.
Across KS1 and KS2, work is recorded in sketchbooks throughout the whole Inspire/Skill/Final Product learning sequence to show their progression from Year 1 to Year 6 within their artistic competency. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of Art, and be able to use their sketchbooks to record their own ideas, thoughts and opinions on the focused artists. Art Days culminate in a final product which is then photographed for our Virtual Art Gallery. This is a beneficial tool for us to share children’s artwork with home and has proved very positive during COVID when parents/guardians have not been able to come into school. We also have a central whole school Art display which shows the progression in skills from EYFS to Year 6. This includes the Big Question from each year group, examples of work and the vocabulary central to that topic.
Vocabulary is high profile within the Art Curriculum, with each topic having 10 key words which are taken directly from our SIL Making Words Work document. These words have been identified by the subject lead as being age appropriate and linked to the key skills being taught. Vocabulary for each topic is introduced in the ‘Inspire’ sessions through stories, non-fiction texts and children’s own research on artists and Art movements. By pre-teaching the vocabulary, when children come to the ‘Skill’ and ‘Final Product’ sessions they are able to use and understand the words in observations and design ideas, and also demonstrate the vocabulary as a skill.
Art is a versatile subject to use to create cross-curricular links. Stories and research on artists lives and backgrounds give children opportunities to read and practise comprehension skills; pattern making and artistic vocabulary (symmetrical/asymmetrical) allow children to practise Maths skills; studying artists from different backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles allow children to have beneficial conversations about Diversity and links to our school SMSC curriculum; and Geography and History are indirectly taught through ‘Inspire’ sessions where children will discover the origins of artists and Art movements.
Within Art lessons, support is given to children who require it in class. Although we do not have explicit Art intervention sessions, children who have been identified as having sensory processing difficulties or fine motor skill difficulties do take part in interventions which often have a focus on Art skills to aid their development.
Assessment within Art is mainly formative and happens within the lesson through questioning and demonstration of Art skills. Summative assessment does occur at the end of an Art Day where the class teacher will assess each child’s knowledge and understanding against the Big Question for that topic.
Our Art Recovery Curriculum began by highlighting the previous year’s skills not taught due to national lockdown. These were then taught in one stand alone Art Day before each year group began to focus on the current year’s programme of study. We found this to work best as an Art Day, rather than a 6-week topic, as children were immersed and engaged in the topic over the course of one full day. We have decided to continue to teach Art in this way, as it allows us to ensure depth and breadth of the curriculum in one focused day. Due to COVID restrictions, many trips, visitors and experiences have not been able to go ahead. We have tried to keep up our cultural capital by using online resources such as virtual gallery tours from The Tate and The National Gallery, and also via YouTube tutorials and interviews with artists, illustrators, architects and crafts-makers.