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Smithdon High School

Key Stage 3 Art

Art embodies some of the highest forms of human creativity. Our curriculum is designed around high-quality art that engages, inspires and challenges our students: equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art. As our students make progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art. They should also know how art both reflects and shapes the visual world around us, and contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

Our KS3 curriculum for art aims to ensure that all students:

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

Students are taught to develop their creativity and ideas, as well as increase proficiency in their execution. They develop a critical understanding of artists, expressing reasoned judgements that can inform their own work.

Students are taught:

  • to use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks and other media, as a basis for exploring their ideas
  • to use a range of techniques and media, including drawing, printing, painting and sculpture
  • to increase their understanding and 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 importance of art, including periods, styles and key movements – up to the contemporary practices of the present day.

Year 7

Project 1 Learning to See

This unit is designed to promote and develop students’ awareness of drawing as a visual language and to enhance prior experiences of drawing techniques.

Students develop their awareness of the importance of drawing as the key skill needed to create exciting imagery, along with the importance of proportion, composition and observational skills – giving them the skills required to underpin all progress with confidence

Project 2 – Mark Making & Impressionism

This unit is designed to build on students’ prior knowledge and understanding of mark making, while introducing them to impressionism and post-impressionism.

Students apply their mark making skills to paint, learning that – with just a few basic brush marks – they can create vibrant colour and texture.

Students explore and discuss the work of impressionist painters, with a focus on the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh; looking at how he used warm and cool colours in his painting and how he combined layers of colour to create movement and texture, through the use of individual brushstrokes.

Project 3 – Moths

This unit is designed to introduce students to the work of other artists: developing each student’s ability to analyse and engage with artwork through verbal and written communication. Through looking at the work of Carlos Amorales, students are shown how to create installation work using paper as their media, Cutting different species of butterflies.

Students also continue to develop and refine their observational drawing skills and printmaking, building upon their experience from previous projects.

Year 8 

Project 1 – Colour

This unit is designed to introduce students to the importance of colour as a formal element of art. Students develop their understanding of colour and blending techniques, in order to create high-quality imagery.

Students build upon their prior drawing experience while working with coloured pencils – being taught good practice to help them achieve the maximum impact with their work. As well as learning basic colour theory, such as primary, secondary and tertiary colours, students also learn the difference between complementary and contrasting colours, alongside cool and warm colours.

Project 2 – Typography

This unit is designed to introduce students to the importance of typography and the use of fonts within the creative world. Students build on their prior presentation skills and continue to develop and refine their understanding of the visual world.

Students also develop their knowledge and understanding of printmaking by creating a lino cut, alongside developing colour and painting techniques, while producing a high-quality painting based on typography.



Project 3 – Colour and Culture Weaving

This unit is designed to introduce students to the importance of colour within cultures and how we use cultures to inspire our use of colour. Students research a variety of cultures and use the influences from a chosen culture to help them select yarns for their weaving.

Students use old CDs and records for their loom and then use yarns from their chosen colour theme to produce their weavings.

Students also link their work to the work of another artist – Beatrix Milhaze; developing their ability to analyse and engage with artwork through verbal and written communication.




Year 9 

Project 1 – Illustrative Art

Students explore and discuss the work of contemporary artist Lucy McLauchlan, looking at how she uses organic, natural forms as the basis for much of her work.

Students are encouraged to work in a creative way, using their own imagination to produce several striking drawings and a range of printmaking-based work.

This unit builds on the drawing skills previously learnt during Years 7 & 8, as well as introducing new methods of working, such as silk screen printing, that can then be developed further in KS4.




Project 2 – Pattern within Art

This unit is designed to introduce students to the printmaking skill of etching, and also provides an opportunity for students to explore contextual links, building on the Artist references produced earlier in the year.

As well as learning a new skill, students can develop their presentation skills further. Students are given more independence in this unit when selecting imagery to analyse and influence the production of their own work.


Project 3 - Independent Project

This unit is designed to give pupils the opportunity to work more independently in preparation for starting GCSE in year 10. During KS3 students have developed knowledge of newart skills/techniques and also learnt how to research and present contextual work. This unit helps pupils revisit these areas and build on their knowledge of artists and skills further. In addition to this, the independent unit allows pupils to begin to develop their own ideas in response to a given theme, a skill that is essential for coursework.