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Art & Design at High Wycombe Church of England Combined School


At High Wycombe Church of England School we believe Art & Design is a valuable subject in the curriculum as it provides pupils with the opportunity to express themselves independently as individuals.

Art & Design helps pupils to develop a respect for the media they use and for the work of other artists, including their peers.

When taught well, Art & Design can build a child’s confidence and resilience by providing a positive experience and provides challenges where pupils can develop the courage to take risks and try out new ideas that help our children flourish thereby opening the doors to opportunity.



Broadly speaking, our vision for Art & Design at High Wycombe C of E Combined School is as follows:

For the pupils to produce creative work to the best of their ability; to explore ideas using their skills and their imagination; to record their experience and to consistently challenge themselves to achieve within the subject.

For pupils to become proficient in drawing, painting and sculpture and to explore other media to gain greater appreciation of the skills and aesthetics of artists and craftspeople and the works they create.

For pupils to evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of Art & Design.

For pupils to broaden their knowledge of artists, designers and craftspeople and to understand historical and cultural development.

For pupils to develop a love of learning for the subject, not only to enjoy the opportunities it gives to express themselves and to use tools and media in a joyful way but to also seize the opportunity to develop skills that may provide them with opportunities in later life.

For pupils to develop an appreciation of the spiritual nature of the subject and, as members of a Christian school, to appreciate works of art as a way to enhance the world in which we live and to appreciate art & design as a gift from God.

For pupils to encompass the learning behaviours and Christian values in all they do in lessons.



Our aim is to enable pupils to become creative and reflective learners who are able to express themselves fluently and confidently in a variety of different ways. Within the curriculum, Art will clearly contribute towards this, enabling pupils to respond thoughtfully to different learning and stimuli. Our artists and designers should be able to develop their cultural understanding in a range of contexts, Art being one of them. We also want our pupils to understand that the perseverance and attentiveness needed to complete an Art and Design project leads to personal pride and gratification.

As a school, we believe that art is a vital and integral part of children's education. It provides them with opportunities to develop a range of ways in which they can share and express their individual creativity, whilst learning about and making links with a wide spectrum of different types of art in our society. Art contributes to children's personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection. Moreover, it enables pupils to develop a natural sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them and therefore links strongly to our school values. The focus is in developing proficiency in drawing, painting, understanding colour and shade and sculpture, with the overall aim of developing a rigorous understanding, critical awareness and inspiration for art and design.

The art curriculum will develop children's critical abilities and understanding of their own and others' cultural heritages through studying a diverse range of male and female artists and designers throughout history. 

Children will develop their understanding of the visual language of art through effective teaching and carefully thought out sequences of lessons and experiences. Understanding of the visual elements of art and design (line, tone, texture, colour, pattern, shape, 3D form) will be developed by providing an accessible and engaging curriculum which will enable children to develop their full potential.



Our Art curriculum has been designed to cover all of the skills set out in the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum states that ‘pupils should be taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.’ Our Art curriculum has been structured mainly in a cross-curricular way to effectively facilitate this and to provide maximum inspiration to our artists and designers. Art projects may be linked to a class topic to enhance the pupils’ understanding of the key historical or geographical concepts covered. Where appropriate, Art projects may also be linked to a community or cultural issue to engage our artists in the world around them and to help them understand the role that they play as an individual.

At High Wycombe CE Combined School, each of our artists/designers has their own sketchbook, in which they can record ideas, practise new techniques and to further refine their skills. These sketchbooks give our artists the opportunity to study an existing piece of art, create a constructive and reflective critique of this work and to use these ideas to develop their own piece of related art work, enabling pupils to show perseverance and dedication to complete any project to the best of their ability.  Artists from different eras are studied throughout the school to give our artists a balanced knowledge and understanding of Art concepts and skills. School visitors and trips are facilitated where appropriate to enhance the pupils’ understanding and skills further.

We support and ensure access for all children through the use of small group/1:1 adult support given where required; by ensuring that a range of equipment and resources are available to ensure success for all pupils (e.g. different sized paintbrushes or paper, additional templates etc). We use teacher and self-assessment to quickly identify any child who requires additional support in specific skills.

We challenge by ensuring differentiation is used from the very start of the lesson and we use small group work to further challenge.

We teach a skills-based art curriculum, which allows children to express their creative imagination as well as providing them with opportunities to practise and develop mastery in the key processes of art: drawing, painting, printing, textiles and sculpture. This is supported through the studying of key artists and the development of a knowledge of their work.
Lessons are taught in blocks on a half termly basis in alternate half terms and may often involve studying existing pieces of art, sketching aspects of these, with a particular focus on the necessary skills, before completing a final piece. The children will then be given constructive feedback and next steps, with further opportunities to create the art piece, to improve their work and ensure that the skills are being developed. The evidence of their work is collected within the art sketch book which follows the children through the school. Photographs of larger, group or 3D pieces are also kept within this book.



Due to the nature of this curriculum area, Art and Design monitoring takes various forms. A key component of this is pupil voice; school leaders use pupil voice as an effective tool to ascertain the pupils’ ability to express themselves through a range of different mediums. Sketch book monitoring throughout all year groups also takes place to compliment this, allowing leaders to ensure our artists have the opportunity to develop their skills fully and showcase their talents. Examples of our artists’ work is exhibited throughout the school, both on classroom and communal displays.

In Reception, all children have a personalised ‘Learning Journey’ using Tapestry, which is used to record learning from all areas of learning across the year. Teachers use this evidence to ensure that all children are making progress and attaining well. Where children are not meeting expected standards, teachers provide additional support where appropriate.

On entry to Year 1, children discover and learn more about Art and Design and are introduced to sketch books. 

On entry to Year 2 and beyond, all acquired knowledge and experimentation of skills linked to Art and Design  is recorded in sketchbooks. To ensure that all children make progress in Art and Design Technology, Teachers and pupils use an evaluation process (1. Quantity and quality of participation, 2. Progression 3. Attainment and ability) in sketchbooks to assess ongoing attainment and progress. Progress is monitored using a ‘Progression of Skills’ document which forms part of the school’s Art Curriculum map.

Due to the subjective nature of Art, after initial teaching of skills has been imparted in a variety of media according to topic, older children in the school are encouraged to choose medium that enable them to meet the objective. In some circumstances (for example clay or charcoal), children may need to choose a medium that supports prevention of triggers. Where mobility is challenging, different size mediums are used to support. SEND children are encouraged to take ownership of their own work and celebrate their achievements. Throughout their sketchbooks, there should be clear progression of skills and expression in any medium they have chosen.