Art & Design – Curriculum Intent


As a department we aspire to build a high-quality Art & Design education that engages students, reflects current issues, inspires further learning and challenges abilities, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art. 

Students are encouraged to look at the world through artists’ eyes, what they actually see, feel and understand about the world around them. Exploring why and how other artists have made artwork, how this relates to art movements and the wider world and then developing their own opinions, encourages an inquisitive mind.  


The Art & Design curriculum at Paxman develops a range of practical and creative skills that allows students to express themselves using a range of mediums including but not limited to:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Clay
  • Textiles
  • Printing
  • Oil pastel


Our curriculum offer in Art and Design creates students who can think, talk, read and write like an Artist, Designer and creative individual through their ability to:

  • Critically analysis their work and the work of others
  • To use a range of mediums confidently to produce an effective outcome.
  • To understand key terms and concepts in Art & Design i.e: perspective, viewpoints, value, form and line enabling them to both talk effectively about artwork and understand the basic elements of Art
  • Respect  the intentions of artists
  • Explore how society expresses themselves through art,  reflecting and shaping the history, and contributing to its culture, creativity and wealth
  • Students learn to take risks and develop work that stretches their skill levels
  • Students build resilience as they gain confidence in producing a range of artwork inspired by a variety of themes
  • Students also learn about a range of career opportunities in Art & Design


The curriculum builds on the basic elements of Art. During Year 7 students develop an understanding of viewpoints, still life , tonal shading ( value) and colour theory through a Cubist theme whilst looking at the work of Picasso, Gris and Braque. Students build on this knowledge and enhance their skills using optical mixing with colour pencil, observational drawing, collage and 3D modelling looking at modern artists’ work. The last project in Year 7 is the most challenging as we look at portraiture and proportions, students draw on all the skills learnt and look at abstract artists.


Year 8 starts by building on colour theory. Foreground, midground and background, through a natural project based around the Artist Henri Rousseau, developing observational skill by using biro for mark making and working with colour theory. Andy Warhol and his endangered animals collection enables students to reflect on the ability of art to reflect world issues. The Cultural Mask project enables students to look at a range of cultures, use their observational and tonal pencil skill to draw masks and look at BAME artists’ work. This is then reflected in a low relief sculpture. In the Summer term Year 8 students then look at still life again, this time through modern artists with the added challenge of colour and pattern. As the students move through the school, the basics of Art and Design are repeated through a range of projects and a range of mediums that reflect themes given by the exam board, this enables growth and development of their skills and analysis of Art. 


Year 9 students reflect back on prior learning through an initial project based around sweets, where students are encouraged to explore a range of materials and skills, refining their understanding of the key elements of Art. The students develop further knowledge through the work of Burton Morris and Claes Oldenburgh completing the project with a final clay sculpture. 

Their second project moves the students into a KS4 mindset, where they explore the more abstract theme of collections, through experimentation and investigation students navigate their way through the project using their skills of choice, with an opportunity to create a final piece of their own choice. During the final term, students explore microorganisms and bacteria, creating textile sculptures in petri dishes inspired by the work of Jessica Grady and influenced by recycled and reused materials.