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Student during an art lesson


The Art Department aims to develop in all students their creative, imaginative and practical skills through a balanced programme of art, craft and design activities working individually, in groups and as a whole class. Art education is a continuous process and it is hoped that whatever level the students themselves take these studies to, they will have the confidence and enjoyment to continue their own work in the future; to have a greater understanding of the work of artists, designers and craftworkers; to have a more lively appreciation and to make informed judgements of the natural and man-made world around them.

Course Offerings

Course Title Qualifications Obtainable Awarding Body
Key Stage 4 Courses
GCSE Art and Design: Fine Art GCSE AQA
Key Stage 5 Courses
Level 3 Advanced GCE Fine Art LEVEL 3 GCE Fine Art EDEXCEL
Visual Arts Option A IB Higher Option A International Baccalaureat

Year 7
Curriculum Content: All students in year 7 follow a programme of study to excite, enthuse and engage them in Art. We try to ensure students have an experience of working in a range of materials and disciplines from drawing, painting, mixed media and three- dimensional work. In all projects in KS3 students build on previous learning, developing their understanding of artist’s work, as well as different practical techniques and skills.

In year 7 we currently explore a yearlong project exploring the theme of ‘Wonderland’ inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Throughout this project, students complete a range of outcomes and develop their skills in painting, drawing, photomontage and sculpture. Particular emphasis is placed on drawing from observation and developing students use and understanding of colour theory. We also explore a range of other artist’s work developing student’s ability to discuss their work, analyse and use specialist Art vocabulary.

Year 8
Curriculum Content: All students build upon skills and techniques learnt in year 7.

Throughout this year we explore self in a yearlong ‘Portraiture’ project. Students create a range of media explorations before creating a final self-portrait. The project starts with whole class observational drawing of self, using line, texture and tone. This unit of work is supported with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery for students to complete critical and contextual work to make connections to the work of artists and to produce primary drawings of work in situ. Throughout this project, students will develop their skills in drawing, painting, montage and three dimensional work. They will explore working more loosely and develop their skills to take risks with their work, thus developing their creativity.

Year 9
Curriculum Content: Students who opt to take Fine Art for GCSE begin their studies in Yr9. GCSE Art is a 3 year program, throughout which students will continue to develop their artistic skills and creativity. Students study Fine Art. The first unit of work is more structured to support students with the transition from KS3 to GCSE and to create an understanding of the assessment objectives enabling them to make progress.

We often use the local area to inspire their first unit, actively encouraging them to visit local galleries and to complete visual research, working from life.

Unit 1: Rochester High Street.

To produce a body of work based on the locality. Students will explore perspective, structure, colour, texture, tone and paint. They will create a personal sketchbook which will include drawings, photos and ‘found’ images that relate to Rochester High Street. They will explore media, techniques and styles and create their own ideas for compositions, making connections with relevant artists and developing ideas for the final outcome. They will make final connections with the work of others, develop final ideas and complete a final piece. They will then evaluate using specialist vocabulary.

Year 10
Curriculum Content: In year 10 students are encouraged to work on a more independent level, developing individual outcomes by connecting to their own interests and beliefs. Throughout the GCSE course we try to visit a relevant gallery or museum to generate ideas and inspiration, but to also highlight the importance of students needing to independently visit galleries. Throughout year 10, students build upon the body of coursework they started in year 9, showing progression of skills and unique ideas.

Unit 2: War and Conflict.

Students will explore the theme ‘War and Conflict’ producing visual research in a range of media, from tonal drawing to soft pastel work. Connections will be made with the work of relevant artists to develop skills in understanding of media and concept of ideas. Students will then create a range of personal ideas and refine these, exploring a range of relevant media and research. This project will culminate in a final outcome, in a media of their own choice (e.g. painting, print, mixed media, sculpture, relief, photography, textiles etc.).

Year 11
Curriculum Content: Students opting for Art at GCSE will follow the AQA Fine Art course. Students are required to submit 2-3 units of coursework and complete a timed examination in year 11. Coursework is 60% of their final grade and students work towards this from the beginning of year 9.

In the start of year 11 students receive their Art Mock Exam. Once completed this creates their last unit of coursework. For this students will receive approximately 11 weeks’ preparation and then complete their final outcome in exam conditions, 10 hours over 2x days. This empowers students to practically understand the expectations for the exam to ensure that they fully meet the exam criteria. The exam preparatory work goes through the same stages as their coursework, visual research, artist exploration, ideas, refinement of ideas, so students are confident of what they will need to do. Students will have their own choice of Mock exam question to complete, allowing them as much independence and creativity as possible.

Term 3 is spent holistically reviewing all coursework. SMART targets are set to develop the overall quality of the coursework worth 60% of the total mark.

Exam unit:

The exam paper is externally set by AQA, students are given approximately 12 weeks to prepare for the timed examination. Preparation is conducted in lessons and at home, with teacher guidance. The examination takes place over 2 (5hr) days in the art studio, unaided. The exam unit is worth 40% of the final grade.

Year 12
Curriculum Content: GCE Fine Art (Reformed)

Component 1: Personal investigation

This component allows students opportunities to generate and develop ideas, research primary and contextual sources, record practical and written observations, experiment with media and processes and refine ideas towards producing resolved outcomes.

Within year 12 students start the year with workshops into new media such as oil painting and ink, as well as developing refinement of skill in charcoal, soft pastel and other media. Students are encouraged to work on a more independent level, developing individual outcomes by connecting to their own interests and beliefs.

Students are also given the opportunity to experience creating a final outcome within time constraints of 15 hours to help prepare them for their exam the following year.


IB Visual Art (Standard or Higher)


Each Visual Arts course, Standard or Higher Level, consists of the following linked compulsory parts:


Theoretical practice: Students analyse and compare different artworks by different artists. This independent critical and contextual investigation explores artworks, objects and artefacts from differing cultural contexts.

Art-making process: Students submit carefully selected materials which evidence their experimentation, manipulation and refinement of a variety of visual arts activities during the 2-year course.

Curatorial practice: Students submit for assessment a selection of resolved artworks for exhibition. The selected pieces show evidence of their technical accomplishment during the Visual Arts Course and an understanding of the use of materials, ideas and practices appropriate in visual communication. To support their exhibition students, title their work and write a supporting curatorial rational as to why they have exhibited their work in the way and manner they have.

Year 13
Curriculum Content: GCE Fine Art (Reformed)
Examination board: Edexcel
Students build upon their personal investigation work started in year 12, creating a further development and outcome, exploring their own personal theme and interest.To support their practical work students also write an accompanying personal study essay exploring key artists which have influenced their work.

Component 2: Timed 15 hour examination


The exam paper is externally set by Edexcel. Preparation is conducted in lessons and at home, with teacher guidance. This component allows students the opportunity to generate and develop ideas, research primary and contextual sources, record practical and written observations, experiment with media and processes, and refine ideas towards producing resolved outcome(s) in response to an externally set theme.


IB Visual Art (Standard or Higher)

Students continue to build upon the 3 areas of study into their 2nd year, theoretical practices, art-making practice, curatorial practice.

Final assessment for the IB is through the exhibition of work chosen from the 2 year IB course and it is expected that the bulk of this will be produced in their final year. Students electronically document all their work for moderation and marking which is sent to the external examiner.

Visual Arts

The IB Diploma Programme visual arts course encourages students to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. It is a thought-provoking course in which students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking, while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as art-makers. In addition to exploring and comparing visual arts from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media. The course is designed for students who want to go on to further study of visual arts in higher education as well as for those who are seeking lifelong enrichment through visual arts.

Course content

Each Visual Arts course (standard level or higher level) consists of a comparative study, a process portfolio and a final exhibition. For the higher level, students need to work within at least three different art making forms (E.g.1: 2D Drawing and Painting. E.g.2. Lens Based Media.) There is no external set examination; student will develop their own creative process, which will culminate in the final exhibition.

a) Comparative study
This is 20% of the overall level which is externally assessed. It consists of:
• 10–15 screens which examine and compare at least 3 artworks, at least 2 of which need to be by different artists
• 3–5 screens which analyse the extent to which the student’s work and practices have been influenced by the art and artists examined
• A list of sources used

b) Process Portfolio
This is 40% of the overall level which is internally assessed. It consists of:
• 13–25 screens for HL which evidence sustained experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of art-making activities

c) Exhibition
This is 40% of the overall level which is internally assessed. It consists of:
• An Exhibition
• A curatorial rationale that does not exceed 700 words
• 8–11 developed artworks in own choice of media
• Exhibition text (stating the title, medium, size and intention) for each artwork

Entry Requirements

To study at Standard or Higher level you will need to have a GCSE Art grade B. You will also need to have a keen interest in visiting Art galleries and in the research and analysis of a variety of Art across different genres. The course enables you to work independently and create a personal body of work.

Beyond the Sixth Form

Having studied Visual Arts through the IB, you will be able to continue your studies in the post 18 education system which may lead to work in any creative field, from gallery/exhibition curator, architect, designer (graphic, jewellery, textile, fashion etc.) photographer, film work or alternatively you may choose a different career path which will allow your aesthetic sensibilities to inform your work for example town planning, journalism etc.