“Through enabling pupils to think about the purpose of art and artists, to all our lives, we ensure that as our pupils grow they feel entitled to express and better understand themselves (and the world in which they live) through making and talking about art. Through this creative entitlement we help nurture citizens who feel empowered to help shape community and society for the better.”
At The Bewbush Academy we firmly believe that we teach Art because it is one way we can enable children to reach their creative potential. We believe that every child is entitled to develop their critical and creative thinking skills whilst building their knowledge and understanding of materials and techniques as well as developing their experience of how they can make a creative response to a variety of stimuli. Our role as teachers is to facilitate this journey. Therefore, our core aim is to enable creativity through placing an emphasis on encouraging exploratory journeys, working towards varied and individual outcomes.
Our offering to pupils aims to be broad and rich, contemporary and diverse. By keeping our understanding of all discipline (drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture etc) as open as possible we ensure that we keep art as inclusive and accessible to every child.
We believe Art teaching should be aspirational yet accessible. Our teachers know that they do not have to be “good at art” to be a great art teacher – they know that they only need to be willing to explore, alongside our pupils, modelling an attitude of curiosity, open-mindedness, creative-risk taking and reflection.
We recognise that teaching art should be as rigorous and disciplined as any other subject. Enabling open-ended creative learning actually requires teachers to understand the structures and spaces pupils need to work to their best.
We build skills and knowledge through a combination of opportunities for repeated practice and new projects. Art is subjective and experiential – and there are many types of “knowledge” all of which are best understood when the knowledge is embedded in experience ( We follow the Access Art scheme - See their Progression Document Here). To ensure that our children are given the opportunity to fully develop and embed some of the more traditional skills (such as drawing) we have introduced an additional, weekly sketching session in all year groups.
Through enabling pupils to think about the purpose of art and artists, to all our lives, we ensure that as our pupils grow they feel entitled to express and better understand themselves (and the world in which they live) through making and talking about art. Through this creative entitlement we help nurture citizens who feel empowered to help shape community and society for the better.
The importance of subject vocabulary
At the beginning of each unit, our teachers identify ‘Star Words’ to supplement the core skills identified at the planning stage. This is of course not an exhaustive list and teachers may want to add to it as the unit unfolds whilst maintaining a consideration for cognitive load. An important aspect of both continuity and progression is to ensure that time is devoted to thinking about what ‘Star Words’ the pupils have already mastered and how this can be built upon and extended during their time at The Bewbush Academy.
Unlike in many other subjects, we believe that there is no given sequencing in many aspects of art. As much as many would like art to be a “tidy” subject which can be slotted into convenient boxes, we feel that approaching art in this way can stifle creativity. Therefore, we have taken the decision to think differently about progression and assessment in art. Rather than identifying core knowledge before the beginning of an art unit (as we do so in other curriculum subject areas) we identify and track the development of core skills instead; but we do this with an appreciation that this cannot possibly provide the ‘full picture’ of our children as artists.
To summarise … these are our Key principles
In Art, we believe that we should be less focussed on outcome and more focussed on the creative journey. We recognise that (in Art) when we work towards a predefined, prescribed outcome (i.e. in the case of a display) the understanding and learning of our pupils can be compromised. Ofsted recognises that work which looks great at first glance can often hide poor learning outcomes and we agree! Instead, we strive to create confident, independent artists who can articulate and value their own creative journeys.
Each term we ensure that our pupils are given the opportunity to explore a variety of polarities:
Traditional skills should be balanced with experimental work.
Small scale work should be balanced with large scale work.
Quiet reflective study should be balanced with active, dynamic work.
Individual work should be balanced with group work.
Two dimensional work should be balanced with three dimensional work.
Study of historical “great” artists should be balanced with contemporary artists.
In addition we ensure that our pupils are given the opportunity to experience:
How it feels to take creative risks as opposed to playing it safe
That chaos and mess can be productive for some people
Both female and male creative role models (including visits connecting with artists/galleries/artists’ studios)