Art Curriculum Intent

The Art Department teaches children how to be creative and to work with a range of materials and processes. They learn new skills and build on them through projects. All these projects connect to each other. These connections might be repeating a skill, for example observational drawing, and then improving upon it, adding in a new technique or using it for a different purpose. 

The fundamental things in Fine Art that we teach and expect children to learn are: 

  1. Observational skills, working from primary and secondary sources - using drawing, photography and making observations through written annotation.
  2. Contextual studies - research and interpretation of art, artists, movements, cultures and times. Most importantly, using this to inform and inspire their own outcomes.
  3. Idea generation - learning how to develop, review and refine ideas.
  4. Outcomes - producing successful outcomes for a renege of purposes.

Our projects are specifically designed to ensure that the above is learnt and developed at certain points in the pupil’s life as an art student. 

The Aims of the Department

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. At Blenheim High School we aim to provide a first-class art and design education, which will engage, inspire and challenge students. We will provide them with the knowledge and skills to be able to create their own works of art, craft and design. Through a process of exploration, experimentation and invention, students will develop as artists and achieve personal success.

As they progress, students will be encouraged to think critically and develop an in-depth understanding of art and design, from the past and present. They will learn how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture and creativity of our world.

We value contemporary art and design practises very highly at Blenheim High School and engage with them as much as possible.

Gallery education is also an important part of what we do. In addition to our own trips, we encourage pupils to visit galleries independently. Those who do, often benefit highly; they are inspired, and what they see informs their work. We also offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including portfolio support for Key Stage 4 and 5 students.

We have very good facilities, with three well equipped, purpose built studios and an ICT area. Students also have access to an extensive range of materials and equipment, enabling them to fulfil their potential as artists.

All of these things combine to make our department a forward-looking and exciting place to enjoy and achieve.


At Blenheim High School we have light modern facilities and excellent resources including a kiln for ceramic work. On-going artwork is displayed in classrooms and completed artwork is exhibited around the school, enhancing the environment and inspiring the students. Our examination groups’ work is celebrated each year in our annual Summer Exhibition.

School Trips

A number of school visits are arranged throughout the course of the year.  Details of trips which have taken place this year or are planned in the future can be viewed in the School Visits, Enrichment area of the website.

Useful Links - Tate Modern and Tate Britain galleries, London - The National Portrait Gallery, London - The National Gallery, London - The Saatchi Gallery, London - The British Museum, London - This website takes you to the Guggenheim Museums in Bilbao Spain, New York USA, Venice Italy, Berlin Germany - The Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco - A comprehensive visual encyclopedia of Art & Design

KS3 Art and Design

Years 7, 8 and 9

Across the two week timetable, students complete two hours a fortnight of study in Art & Design.

What skills students develop:

Students will develop a series of skills relating to fine art, craft and design.

Year 7

During Year 7 pupils build on the skills, knowledge and understanding that they already have from their experiences at Key Stage 2. The areas we develop come under four key headings, which are: Generating Ideas, Making, Evaluating and Knowledge. Some examples of titles of key Year 7 schemes of learning are: Still Life, Insects and African art 

Year 8

In Year 8 pupils are given more independence with their work. They continue to enhance their skills and understanding, progressing within the four key areas of Generating Ideas, Making, Evaluating and Knowledge. Some examples of projects are: Natural Forms, Portraits and Sweets.

Year 9

In year 9 students will only study Art if they have chosen it as an option. They will begin by refining skills in drawing and becoming more independent in their working through projects covering Glorious Food and Oriental Art. After this they begin their GCSE curriculum with a project on ‘Natural Forms’. This will involve a mixture of drawing, painting, artist research and producing their own responses to the work of others. This project will then continue into the start of year 10.

Exploring and Creative skills

  • Observing and recording from first-hand observation, experience & imagination
  • Investigating using the formal elements: composition, line, tone, colour, shape, form and texture
  • Exploring and developing ideas in a sketchbook
  • Experimenting with a range of media/techniques & processes
  • Expressing and communicating ideas & feelings

Evaluating and Understanding skills

  • Researching and investigating
  • Learning how codes and conventions are used to convey ideas/meanings in a range of cultures
  • Reflecting on and evaluating their own and others’ work
  • Adapting and refining their own work
  • Analysing
  • Developing ideas and intentions when creating artwork
  • Organising and presenting their own work appropriately

How students are assessed

Students’ performance is continually assessed, in terms of technical proficiency, working methods and knowledge. Pupils are given regular feedback to support further improvement. Pupils are involved in evaluating their own and each others' performance, and in setting targets for their own development. There are no formal examinations at KS3. Termly reports in Years 7, 8 and 9 will advise you on the progress that your child is making and an end of Key Stage report will inform you of the overall standard achieved.


In Art & Design, Homework (Extended Learning Activities) is set every half term. These are more substantial pieces of work which will be set over many weeks to serve to reinforce or extend learning in the classroom. Tasks will include research, the production of observational drawings or designs, working in the style of specific artists and the bringing of resources to class.

How parents can help

Parents should read through the Extended Learning Activity sheet with their child, to ensure understanding. Parents should try to ensure that a quiet place is available for homework to be completed without distraction and that their child produces the best work that they are capable of. They should help their child to organise their time and meet deadlines. They should contact their child’s art teacher with any concerns.

Extra-curricular Activities

Workshops for the gifted and more able students are facilitated each term. These are also open to other interested students not on the GAMA register.

The Art & Design Department is open after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for students to complete and receive assistance with their Art homework and to practise their drawing and painting skills.

Local and national competitions are regularly advertised in the department and students are encouraged to enter.

KS4 Art and Design, GCSE Graded 9 - 1

Board and Exam

AQA GCSE Art & Design (Fine Art Endorsement)

Link to course specification

The Course

Students will complete 2 Units of work over the 2 year course.

Unit 1: Portfolio of Work - 60% of the total marks. Marked out of 96. This will include work completed in Year 10 and the first term of Year 11.

Unit 2: Externally Set Task - 40% of the total marks. Marked out of 96. Set by the AQA exam board. Candidates respond to their chosen theme from the exam paper.

What skills students develop

  • Recording experiences and ideas
  • Selecting and organising visual images & objects
  • Analysing, discussing and evaluating them
  • Exploring ideas through new media practices (e.g. ICT)
  • Reviewing and modifying their own work, and planning and developing ideas in the light of their own and others’ evaluations
  • Applying knowledge and understanding in producing their own art

How students are assessed

Students receive a mark out of 24 for each Assessment Objective and a total mark out of 96. This is then translated in to a number between 1 and 9. Grade boundaries and equivalencies are currently unknown, but a 4 is broadly equivalent to a traditional C grade and an 8 an A*. 9 would be beyond an A* for exceptional performance. This will be updated as soon as the 1-9 system is firmed up and in use.

Assessment Objectives:

AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.

AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.

AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.

AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language


Students are given a structure and timeline to which to work. They will be given regular deadlines to meet and should use class time and homework time to complete all the set tasks in the given time.  

How parents can help

Parents should read through the GCSE Art & Design Handbook provided for the students by the department to ensure they understand the requirements of the course and information to support their studies in the subject.

They should familiarise themselves and their child with published deadlines and ensure that these are consistently met. Parents should try to ensure that a quiet place is available for homework to be completed without distraction and that their child produces the best work of which they are capable. They should contact their child’s art teacher with any concerns.

Extra-curricular Activities

Students in Year 10 are encouraged to stay behind after school on a weekly basis to complete their artwork. Students in Year 11 must attend compulsory after school sessions as a requirement of the course.

School Trips

We will take students to the Tate Modern and/or Britain during Year 11. We also encourage them to visit galleries independently to inform their work throughout the course.


Bronze School Mental Health Award