Art at Key Stage 3

In Year 7 students learn the concept of ‘Negative Space’: the space in and around objects to help train the eye to produce more accurate drawings from direct observation. They respond practically to the work of three artists for whom Negative Space is a key concern. Students are introduced to colour theory and apply this understanding to produce a semi-abstract outcome in paint. They then move onto buildings and are introduced to the basic concepts of perspective. They observe and record buildings from direct observation and use this information to inform the making of a 3D structure in card. They end the year with a key skills programme of activities in which they explore the 2D formal elements of art – line, tone, colour, texture and pattern.

In Year 8 students explore ‘Still Life’ within the context of the Cubist Art Movement. They view and discuss the work of key Cubist Artists to identify common aims such as depicting multiple and fractured viewpoints. They produce art work that demonstrates their understanding of these themes using a range of media including paint and collage. They then learn about the proportion of the figure through observational drawing and demonstrate their understanding through a 3D outcome in wire and papier mache. Here, they show that they are able to use ideas seen in the work of other artists to help them develop creative outcomes. At the end of year 8, the formal elements and key skills are again revisited, this time through a more advanced and challenging series of activities.

GCSE in Art & Design

Why study this subject?

GCSE Art & Design not only develops key practical skills but also the ability to think creatively and to problem solve. Being able to research and generate ideas independently and to recognise how to modify and improve your work are essential in Art and Design. Art opens the doors to a huge range of interesting careers. However, even if you do not wish to continue studying Art after Year 11, you will have still learnt some very valuable and transferable skills.

What will I learn?

Throughout the course you will learn how to develop and improve your skills of recording from ‘direct observation’; this means producing good quality sketches, paintings, photographs etc. from things that are directly in front of you. You will develop control of a wide range of materials and techniques and be encouraged to explore interesting combinations of processes including collage, printing, ‘mixed-media’ and sculpture. Investigating the work of other artists is also a key element of the course and you will use what you learn to inspire your own practical work. The skills of researching and developing ideas underpin learning throughout the course and you will work independently to explore and develop creative outcomes.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught in mixed ability groups and complete 4 projects set by the Art Department for your ‘Portfolio’ before beginning your controlled assessments. For this you receive an examination paper with a number of alternative starting points.

How will I be assessed?

There are 4 Assessment Objectives to be met through your Portfolio, which carries 60% of your final mark and an Externally Set Task which carries 40%. The Externally Set Task consists of a period of preparation time followed by the opportunity to produce a ‘final piece’ over a 2 day period. You will receive regular feedback so that you always know exactly what grade you are working at.

What qualifications will I get at the end of the course?

GCSE in Art & Design.

What can this qualification lead to afterwards?

Art opens doors to a huge range of interesting careers: graphic design, photography, fashion, architecture, media, theatre, industrial design to name the most obvious. There are more post 16 courses on offer than ever and something to suit everyone whether you know which area you wish to specialise in or not. A very high percentage of our A-Level students go on to study Art at University.

Post-16 Progression

A-Level Art is an exciting and challenging course open to students who have achieved well at GCSE. Students are supported to explore and develop their ideas independently to produce a strong portfolio of work which will support applications to number of degree courses in areas such as Fine Art, Photography and Architecture. For students that are less sure about their chosen field, the pre- degree foundation in Art & Design is also a popular option.

How much homework will I have to do?

Throughout the course you will need to complete independent study at home including sketch book work and research.

Where can I find out more about this qualification?

You can speak to Mrs Benson, Mr Jessett or any of the Art Department team or visit

Some students have opted to continue with clay work that they started in our Impossible Friday Art Club. For this we took inspiration from the arrival of Bear078 and worked from imagery of Sun bears. As well as that we have had a session where we produced self-portraits, but as is the nature of Impossible Friday, we drew our reflections whilst looking into spoons. We have also had a session where we had the challenge of sitting at a table, placing paper in front of us and then drawing our legs as though we could see through the table. If any students or staff are interested in attending either of our Art Clubs on Thursdays or Fridays then please pop into room 204 and speak to Mr Jessett, we’d be happy to have you.

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    Our Art Clubs are enormous fun at the moment with students working on a few different projects simultaneously. Numbers are growing every week with our Thursday Young KESH Artists Club in excess of seventeen students in recent weeks. The main project that the students have been working on is a precursor to us working on our large House Sculptures. They have created small wire figure sculptures that the young artists have then covered with plaster bandage and are at the stage of painting designs on their work.

    The Great KESH House Sculpture Challenge is at a very exciting stage. In case you don’t know, this is an ambitious project led by the Art department where students have created four life sized figure sculptures using wire, plaster bandage and papier mache. The figures have then been offered up to the students at KESH Academy who have voted for which sculpture they would like to represent their House. The votes are in and now the next stage will be for students to create fantastic designs for their own House Sculpture using a design template. Our own Young KESH Artists’ Club will choose winning designs for each House. They will then transfer the designs onto the large figures. Once completed, the sculptures will be varnished and installed around the Academy grounds.

    Year 8 have recently completed a project named Objects and viewpoints. For this they learnt about Cubism and worked towards producing a piece inspired by this movement. The students used mixed media in their creations. This included paint, collage and pen. The work shows the concepts, angles, edges and shapes that made Cubism one of the most important Art movements in history. We were so impressed by the outcomes they produced that we wanted to share them with you. I would anticipate some very successful GCSE Art students appearing in the near future.

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      King Edward VI Academy Trust Birmingham is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered number 10654935. Registered office: Foundation Office, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, B15 2UD. Academy tel: 0121 464 4428.

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