“The urge to draw must be quite deep within us, because children love to do it”

David Hockney

Subject Leader: Mrs Allison Charlton 

Art Curriculum Driver
Art Long Term Plan
Sketchbook Guidance

At Abbeyfields we aim to provide a high-quality art education, which will 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 concerned with the way we respond to, understand and interpret our world through our senses and emotions. Taking part in art allows us to investigate what we see; to make visual responses; to interpret and to reach decisions.

Art and design has its own language based upon visual and tactile elements and it is our aim to ensure all children have the opportunity to explore their own creativity and individuality.

Aims in teaching Art at Abbeyfields:

We aim to:

  • provide a broad and balanced range of art activities.
  • show children’s progress in art skills through the work produced.
  • provide a varied arts curriculum, including experiences from other cultures and traditions e.g. Aboriginal art.
  • raise and develop children’s self esteem through class and group activities and individual work.
  • give children the opportunity to work with other professionals from the arts community.
  • aise standards in Art so that every child makes best progress.
  • value and celebrate diversity in Art.
  • ensure equal opportunity – all children are provided with equal access to the Art curriculum. We aim to provide suitable learning opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity or home background.

How is the content of the Art curriculum chosen?

Whenever possible, we teach through a themed approach, to enable children to embed learning and make connections, which leads to a greater depth of understanding within the subject. The content is therefore chosen to make effective links with key themes, reflect expectations in the National Curriculum programmes of study and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and engage and inspire our children. The content may also be chosen based upon the needs or interests of specific cohorts or links to events which are taking place in the community or wider world.

How do we ensure progression of knowledge and skills?

At Abbeyfields we have a comprehensive knowledge and skills progression document, which is used for planning, to ensure sequenced and appropriate content for specific year groups, as well as a build up of knowledge and skills.

Within these documents there are also opportunities for differentiation in order to meet the needs of all learners.

How do we teach Art at Abbeyfields?

Our long term plan for Art maps out the coverage of the discrete teaching and learning opportunities for children to use and explore different media. For example, during one year children may explore working with paint, clay, textiles and sculpture and the following year they may develop skills in drawing, printing and collage. This provides them with a wide range of discrete art experiences during their time in Key Stage 1.

Within each discrete block of art teaching, class teachers carefully plan the specific outcomes for their year group, based upon age appropriate knowledge and skills, as well as the needs of the cohort of individuals within it.

Our teaching and learning opportunities ensure all children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Questioning and assessments of skills are used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts or skills are introduced.

Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills in order to produce a piece of work which showcases what they have learnt.

When children are learning about a subject through discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that today they are going to be ‘artists.’ They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within that subject.

In art these are to:

  • talk about colour, shape, pattern, tone and line
  • use a variety of tools and materials
  • express our own ideas and use our imagination
  • talk about the work of others including well known artists
  • evaluate our work and say how it might be improved

Art permeates throughout our curriculum. Through studying a range of people from the past and present, who have had an impact on the world of Art, as well as a range of countries and cultures, children learn about and are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background. They are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.

In addition to discrete teaching in art, opportunities and links are made to art knowledge, skills and concepts throughout the year, ensuring that elements of the art teaching are accessed by children continually as part of the curriculum on offer. Opportunities for art through additional projects, such as whole school art  weeks i.e. “Articulate,” which uses various famous artworks to develop skills of art critique and experiment with knowledge gained, ensures that children have the opportunities to showcase their work throughout the year as a whole school.

Sketch books are used in each class to develop drawing skills, based upon a particular theme each half term, e.g. portraits. This not only enables children to practise their skills throughout the year and use the language associated with the arts, it ensures that they have regular opportunities to learn about and reflect upon the work of famous and local artists.

How do we teach Art in the Early Years?

Planning and teaching in the Early Years is similar to that in Key Stage 1. The children are expected to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. This is often beyond the expectations that are set out in the end of year Early Learning Goals, as we prepare them with the skills they need for Year 1.

As well as topic work and the discrete teaching of skills and knowledge, children in Early Years are given the opportunity to continually practise and embed their skills through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.

How do we know that our children are making progress?

Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills are observed by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents. At the end of a block of discrete teaching (or term) subject leaders gather an overview of children’s outcomes in each subject area. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school.

Our curriculum drivers are central to our curriculum. How do we promote reading, vocabulary acquisition, holistic education and diversity?

Art is at the very essence of our curriculum drivers. It allows our children to be creative, independent, learn new vocabulary, as well as demonstrate a sense of pride in their work. Children have access to high quality texts (both fiction and fact) about artists, history and artistic styles. These various forms of texts are used as a resource bank or inspiration for creativity as part of the knowledge gaining aspect of units of work. At Abbeyfields we believe it is important to ‘bathe’ children in the technical and aspirational language of art to enrich their overall experience of the subject.

Positive relationships in school ensure that children get the opportunity to work collaboratively together on projects, as well as recognise how to sensitively respond to others when offering evaluations of their work.Participation in art activities develops physical skills including fine motor control and hand-eye coordination. It also has a positive effect on children’s well-being.

Through art children are enabled to discover how the subject has shaped our history and contributed to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation and the wider world.

Children are encouraged to ask questions and explore various issues regarding diversity and culture in relation to artworks and artists, by taking part in open, age appropriate discussions, and are encouraged to celebrate that differences are not a barrier to achievement.

What wider opportunities are provided for our children?

  • Visiting artists and craft makers are invited into school whenever possible to work with the children and broaden their experiences 
  • The children often invite their parents and carers into school at the end of a unit of work in the form of a ‘pop up gallery’ to share and celebrate their work
  • Whole school art weeks focus on various aspects of art to offer curriculum enrichments and develop skills and knowledge even further
  • Collaboration with galleries in other countries i.e. Morpeth Gallery, Australia allows pupils to take part in video lined workshops with Australian artists.
  • Personal ‘doodle’ notebooks are provided for every child in Key Stage 2 to enable them to ‘create’ or make notes whenever they want. These notebooks are used as a cross curricular tool, for example, in science the children can experiment sketching the parts of a plant, or used outdoors during Forest School activities.