About KS3 curriculum (Y7-9)

Years 7-8 are taught in their form classes.  They have 2 lessons per fortnight.

Year 9 are taught through the two parallel populations X and Y. Classes are mixed ability groups.

What is included in the course?

Students will explore a rich and diverse world of art and culture. They will discover and be inspired by different styles of art, craft and design from all over the world. They will experience new techniques and processes which will help them to develop confidence and independence when expressing their own creativity. They will have the opportunity to work in two or three dimensions when creating their own works of art. Students will learn why people create and express themselves through art, craft and design.

Observing art first hand is a priority for the art department.  We try to provide opportunities for learners to visit art galleries and museums along with bringing practising artists into the department for students to learn and develop understanding of how a practising artist makes a living and creates work using a variety of techniques and processes.  We encourage students to further explore and enrich their own journey of understanding art and design that inspires them.

We provide a weekly Key Stage 3 at club so that students have the opportunity to develop their skills further with a wide variety of materials and techniques. There is also a weekly opportunity for learners to complete home learning tasks in the department after school too.

At Key Stage 4, we provide weekly workshops where students are welcome most days to come and complete work using our materials after school.

We provide a materials loaning service for all learners, to ensure that they have the materials needed to complete home learning and extension tasks.

KS3 Assessments and Examinations

Assessment is completed through teacher assessment of on–going work and through the common assessments which are moderated within the department.

End of year examinations are used to support summative assessment in the summer term. These are used to provide an indication of a students’ ability to perform under examination conditions and to help assess an individual’s depth of understanding.

From the very beginning of year 7 students are taught about the health and safety aspects of working in art rooms and using a variety of materials and processes safely and respectfully. Along with this, they are taught about the need for high levels of co-operation and teamwork, they are given opportunities to develop both practical and social skills.  Opportunities for creating independent learning are integral to projects.

We follow the National Curriculum for Art and Design which stipulates:

‘Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.’


The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Attainment targets

Key stage 3

Pupils should be taught to develop their creativity and ideas, and increase proficiency in their execution. They should develop a critical understanding of artists, architects and designers, expressing reasoned judgements that can inform their own work.

Pupils should be taught:

  • to use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas
  • to use a range of techniques and media, including painting
  • to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials
  • to analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work
  • about the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day


Each project lasts between 10-12 lessons and is assessed as part of an ongoing process which is broken down into four different skill sets of recording and using control with a variety of materials, understanding and analysing different types of art, developing creative and imaginative ideas with increasing independence and creating final outcomes that have strong links to work gone before, showing skill and control with materials. Independence and investigation are encouraged to further personalise students own art journey.


End of year examinations are used as part of a summative assessment in the summer term. A range of teaching and learning styles are used across the topics and there is opportunity for teacher-led lessons as well as independent learning tasks throughout each year, varying from project to project. In addition, depending on the theme being studied, the materials and processes used are varied.

The year 7 curriculum focuses on the basic key concepts and principles of art and design including the formal, basic elements of art and design which include colour, shape, form, line, tone, pattern, and texture and how, with this basic foundation knowledge, other art experiences can develop.  Students begin to explore different types of art and the exciting, different ways that art can be created, both two and three dimensional work are explored.  They have opportunities to discover ideas about Western and non-western art and design through a cultural masks project.

Year 8 builds on the experiences from year 7 and begins to look in more depth at the principles of art and design.  These are contrast, balance, rhythm, unity, variety, movement and space. Clay making techniques and Gothic architecture are a focus during the first term.  This then moves to portrait and abstract art.  The year concludes with a project that explores sea life through a variety of mixed media processes and techniques.

Year 9 start a new carousel Expressive Arts curriculum this year. They all experience an intensive 9-week Art project having 4 lessons over a fortnight. The extended Art project is based on Architecture and is designed to give students a taste of all 4 GCSE Assessment Objectives to prepare students for GCSE AQA Art. The project covers a range of artists and architects, techniques and styles of art. Students will look at 4 main artists/ architects in detail and then design their own abstract building sculptures, creating a personal 3D response. The second project focusses on bugs and creepy crawlies.  We explore the qualities of mixed media processes to create a personalise final outcome inspired by a variety of artists and makers. This allows the students to direct their work in a more personal way to suit their preferred creating style.

Years 10 & 11

  • AQA GCSE Art and Design 8202 Fine Art
  • A two year course – students build on the experiences from the KS3 art and design curriculum
  • Fine art practice is defined here as the need to explore an idea, convey an experience or respond to a theme or issue of personal significance. Areas of study In Component 1 and Component 2 students are required to work in one or more area(s) of fine art, such as those listed below: • drawing • painting • sculpture • installation • lens-/light-based media • photography and the moving image • printmaking • mixed media • land art. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas. Knowledge, understanding and skills Students must develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills within the context of fine art practice and their selected area(s) of study.
  • The following aspects of the knowledge, understanding and skills are defined in further detail to ensure students’ work is clearly focused and relevant to fine art.
  • Knowledge and understanding:

The way sources inspire the development of ideas, relevant to fine art including: • how sources relate to individual, social, historical, environmental, cultural, ethical and/or issues-based contexts how ideas, themes, forms, feelings and concerns can inspire personally determined responses that are primarily aesthetic, intellectual or conceptual.

  • The ways in which meanings, ideas and intentions relevant to fine art can be communicated including the use of: • figurative representation, abstraction, stylisation, simplification, expression, exaggeration and imaginative interpretation • visual and tactile elements, such as: • colour • line • form • tone • texture • shape • composition • rhythm
  • scale • structure • surface.
  • Within the context of fine art, students must demonstrate the ability to: • use fine art techniques and processes, appropriate to students’ personal intentions, for example: • mark-making • monoprint, collagraph and block printing • assemblage • construction • carving • film and video • digital working methods • use media and materials, as appropriate to students’ personal intentions, for example: • charcoal, pastels, pen and ink, crayons and pencil • watercolour, gouache, acrylic and oil paint • found materials • clay, wood and metal • digital imagery • different papers and surfaces on which to work.
  • Students explore a wide range of making techniques, processes and artists, designers and makers. Create work in two and three dimensions that follow through the design process.
  • inspire, challenge and motivate every student, no matter what their level of ability, while supporting you in developing creative and engaging lessons.
  • The qualification provides scope for innovation and curriculum development and offers you opportunities to tailor courses of study to the individual needs of your students.
  • With two components, comprising a ‘Portfolio’ selected from the course of study and an ‘Externally set assignment’, the specification provides your students with a range of creative, exciting and stimulating opportunities to develop and explore their personal interests in art and design.
  • It allows for progression from Key Stage 3 whilst providing a strong foundation for further study at AS and A-level as well as vocational pathways. To support this progression, the assessment objectives, structure and titles are very similar to those detailed in the AS and A-level Art and Design specification.
  • The specification has been designed to allow students to develop knowledge and understanding during the course through a variety of learning experiences and approaches, including engagement with sources. This will allow them to develop the skills to explore, create and communicate their own ideas.
  • Students will demonstrate these skills through the development, refinement, recording, realisation and presentation of their ideas through a portfolio and by responding to an externally set assignment.

What grades are available?

The GCSE course is worth a full GCSE with a grade from 1-9. Grade 9 being the top grade.

How will I be assessed?

The GCSE course follows the 9-1 grading system. Grade 9 is the highest grade.

  • 60% Portfolio: A project that contains drawing skills, researching and understanding artists, designing possible outcomes and creating a final outcome.
  • 40% Externally Set Task: Another project of a different theme, set by the exam board which culminates in a final 10 hour exam period where students complete a final outcome.

Tips and advice?

Serious about taking art as an option? Then you need to be creative, dedicated, determined to succeed and able to work independently.

What next?

A levels in Art and Design, many arts based and teaching degree courses, advertising, photography, fashion design, theatre design, set design, costume design, florist, marketing, architect, ceramic designer, tattooist, web designer the list goes on and on.

Who should I contact for more information?

Follow us on Twitter @artdeptSTMCA

Be the first to know by joining our newsletter

Discover news, upcoming events, policies and much more...