Why we learn Art:

It is our intent at St Mary’s for our art curriculum to provide the pupils throughout the school with a chance to use and build on existing skills they have to create and express themselves through artwork. We value art as part of pupil’s rights to a broad and varied curriculum where they are provided with opportunities to express their individual interests, thoughts and ideas. They will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of materials, artists and mediums whilst developing the skills to work carefully and expressively.

By the time pupil’s leave St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, they will have mastered a range of skills that will support their future development.

These are:

  • to be enthusiastic, inquisitive, lifelong learners: the art curriculum at St Mary’s gives pupils the skills to manage and express emotions through art; developing their confidence to try new approaches – skills which will stay with them for life.
  • to be strong communicators: pupils will develop this skill through team projects and tasks, presenting their ideas and work to the class, whilst learning how to communicate their preferences, likes and dislikes within the subject of art.
  • to be well-rounded, independent and resilient learners with aspirations: pupils will develop their growth mindsets through practise, improvement, evaluation and reflection as they try a range of different art concepts. Pupils will have the chance to use art to express themselves, finding their passion and encourage others to develop themselves as independent artists.
  • to develop and use their God given talents by being creative: pupils will be provided with opportunities to use their talents and skills in art, participating in more imaginative lessons and having the chance to express themselves through pieces they have designed and created.
  • to be responsible citizens who are eager to make a positive contribution to their community and wider society: knowing they can make a difference and work for the common good by using their art work to convey important messages, for example, with the environment or social justice issues that are important to them.

How we teach Art:

At St Mary’s our vision ‘Aspiring to Greatness’ is rooted across our Art curriculum.  We believe that a stimulating Art curriculum can elicit creativity and imagination whilst giving pupils unique opportunities to develop intellectually, emotionally and socially.

Art can present itself so that all pupils have the opportunity to express themselves, be creative and to explore. Therefore, we have a firm belief that depth takes precedence over breadth within the teaching and learning of Art. We use the National Curriculum objectives to ensure that each year group is being taught the relevant art skills appropriate to their age.

The Subject leader has carefully chosen what pupils should be taught, and has planned relevant topics using the National Oak Academy resource. The Art topics taught across the Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 demonstrate a clear progression of the skills and knowledge, as well as depth. These topics lend themselves to pupils using key artistic skills suitable to their age. They also have a knowledge organiser for each Art topic. This outlines key vocabulary, which all pupils must master by the end of their topic.

At the end of the academic year, pupils have the opportunity to present their masterpieces at an Art exhibition. This is an invaluable experience for pupils. Seeing their work displayed provides them with a sense of achievement and they feel valued; this boosts their confidence and self-esteem, which also positively impacts on other areas of their life and the school curriculum. Hosting an art exhibition also enables our pupils to see their own creativity in a new light.

The pupils at St Marys access Art in a balanced and diverse way. Pupils will use sketchbooks to record their Art & Design lessons and the progression of skills. We make sure that pupils are using different mediums such as chalk, clay and water paints. We also work hard to promote a development of artistic skills within each year group. This spectrum guarantees that pupils have a wide perspective on what Art might entail. In addition to this, our pupils have lots of opportunities to showcase their creativity by acting in plays all year long. This includes termly class assemblies, Christmas performances and the Year 6 end of year play.

As a result…

Our Art Curriculum is based on the mindset that every pupil has their own unique set of artistic skills and interpretation of Art. This is brought to life and developed on by creating a safe and calm learning environment whereby strong relationships are built between teachers and pupils to express themselves freely.

The impact of our school’s Art curriculum is evident in pupils’ sketch books where there is a clear progression of artistic skills. For example, in Year 1, within their topic Drawing, pupils initially started their first lesson by simply exploring drawing to then using specific colours to express differing emotions later in their lessons. This is just one of the many examples of the rich learning experiences based on our Art curriculum. Formative assessment has also played an important role in the impact of our Art curriculum. It has demonstrated pupils’ growing artistic skills and knowledge within each lesson. Outcomes for all pupils across the school are strong, and relative to their starting points.

Pupils’ progress is measured throughout their lessons and based on their final piece in relation to their Art topic. Formative assessment during lessons is used to ensure pupils have securely acquired the relevant artistic skills to further develop on these in preparation for their final piece. Pupils are seated in mixed ability groups so that they can all get the opportunity to showcase their strengths either within core subjects or foundation subjects.

Our Art curriculum contribute to pupil’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement, and self-reflection. This is made apparent through their ability to talk confidently about their work and share their work with others. By the end of Year 6, we want our pupils at St Mary’s to leave with a variety of artistic skills which they have mastered, honed, and ingrained. We would like them to be familiar with a variety of artists and craftspeople and be able to analyse and debate the works of art they come across. The most essential thing is for our pupils to have a creative outlet they can use for enjoyment and self-expression.