Why is Art Important?
There is a range of transferable skills gained by studying art and photography which improve performance in other areas of the curriculum. Creative subjects encourage and enable our pupils to be creative thinkers and independent enquirers. We support them to make a personal response to the world around them and explore possibilities of expression and interpretation. Without creativity, life would never evolve or develop. Creative subjects are necessary for any individual to develop a sense of self awareness, confidence, personal development and self-esteem.
Our pupils at William Howard are given the opportunity to develop all of these skills and more. Through experimentation and development of ideas using a wide range of media, from the traditional through to digital. We feel it is important that they have a strong sense of ownership of their work. We aim to encourage interest in as much art as possible; promoting the appreciation of art in many forms, and showing students that art is all around them. Locally we have developed links with a wealth of practising artists, Cumbria Art College, Brampton Hut and Tullie House; and our proximity to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle means that a wide range of work can be easily accessed and explored.
Summary of the Department
The Art Department at WHS has nine members of staff – five art teachers and four technicians.
Mrs McMurdo and Mrs Kilfedder share the role of Curriculum Leader.
- Key Stage 3 lessons are taught by all teachers
- Mrs Bertram, Miss Bailey and Mrs McMurdo teach GCSE and A level Art and Photography
- Mrs Kilfedder teaches GCSE, BTEC and A level Art
- Ms Edwards teaches KS3 and Art BTEC
- Mrs Bourne, Mrs Cable, Miss Tedford and Ms Meynell are our teachings assistant and technicians, they are all practicing artists and share their skills with our students.
We have 3 art rooms, all with a wide range of art equipment, but each with a specialist focus:
- A 3D/Ceramic area with two large kilns, pug mill and spray booth to enable a range of glazing techniques.
- A photography base with laptops, A3 scanner and printers, high quality digital SLR cameras, we also have regular access to an IT room and make good use of a wide range of art and photography programmes.
- The third room is a large, general room used for a wide variety of techniques including textiles- we have sewing machines, printing and felt-making facilities.
Rooms have interactive whiteboards, colour photocopiers and printers, specialist art and photography books and a wide range of visual resources and art materials.
We aim to create a stimulating visual environment, both within classrooms and corridor. Work is regularly displayed and includes a mixture of inspiring and aspirational work of KS3, 4 and 5.
How Does it Link to the Local Community?
Locally we work with Brampton Hut, an arts Hub in the heart of the community. Here students are offered a wide variety of workshops including life drawing. Brampton Hut is an Arts Award supporter and therefore supports our creative students develop experience and skills. Annually we hold an ‘Exhibition of Celebration’ and prize giving displaying our GCSE, BTEC and A level art and photography. Students, family and community are invited to attend to celebrate the hard work and achievement of our students. We also create art work for events such as the Senior Citizens’ tea party; to enhance Open Spaces; and we have created murals throughout school, including the Bike and Skate Park. We thrive on new opportunities!
Key Stage 3
In KS3 students have 1 hour per week. We begin Year 7 with foundation studies; working through all the skills needed to build upon art through WHS. This includes observational drawing, line, tone, texture, mark-making, perspective, colour theory- the basic building blocks and language of visual arts. We encourage pupils to self-review, reflect and refine their work. We look at a variety of artists, genres, cultures, techniques and materials aiming to give a wide range of experiences. We encourage participation in lunch clubs, Arts Award and other enrichment opportunities. In Key Stage 3 each year group explores and creates art, whilst learning to understand and evaluate their own and others work.
Key Stage 4
We use the AQA syllabus for GCSE Art and Photography. We creatively cover the 4 assessment objectives. Observation from life is crucial, we encourage pupils to experiment with a wide range of techniques – drawing, painting, print-making, textiles, 3D, photo manipulation. Pupils are supported to develop an individual, personal and meaningful response and this often means that we have a wide variety of activities during lessons. They develop to be independent thinkers and are able to plan their own creative projects and outcomes. Students are required to complete 2 project areas in their coursework (60%) and undertake an external assessment, where they answer a chosen (practical) question (40%). This is completed with the Exhibition of celebration. Results reflect the students’ hard work and commitment to their work.
Key Stage 5
We use AQA syllabus at KS5 and build on the skills and knowledge gained in KS4. Unit 1 is begun by exploring a wide range of materials and techniques, encouraging students to experiment and take a risk, they then develop this into their own area of interest to create a final outcome. Unit 2 is an external assessment where they answer a chosen (practical) question at the end of Year 12. In Year 13 students undertake Unit 3 which includes a 3,000 word essay that encourages them to reflect on the journey of their work. Unit 4 is the final external assessment. This is completed with the Exhibition of celebration and prize giving. A Level Art and photography students go on to study architecture, interior design, fashion design, photography, both locally and further afield.
Learning Outside the Classroom
Recently we have developed closer links with primary schools through transition projects such as the George Howard project with Tullie House. We are developing Arts Award with our primary schools to create opportunities for Year 6 students to come and experience art at William Howard. We run Art days working with local artists and are currently introducing Bronze and Silver Arts Award, a nationally recognised qualification. We encourage project-based learning and we have strong links with Tullie House and The Brampton Hut. We support our students to access art outside of school, such as life drawing sessions. We take KS4 and 5 students to exhibitions and galleries to widen their experiences and opportunities. We also run regular art clubs and twilight sessions.