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This page explains how children learn about Art, Craft and Design at our school.  Also attached are documents outlining the units studied in each year and the progression of skills and knowledge.

Year 1 and 2 making birds topic



We want to engage, inspire and challenge children in Art and Design by showing them a wide variety of materials, techniques, artists, designers and makers within the subject.  To give them meaningful experiences and the opportunity to develop and deepen their knowledge and skills, our curriculum focuses on and spirals round the four areas of drawing, painting, printing, collage and making (including moulding and construction).  Our curriculum also encourages children to discuss and reflect on art and design, including their own work.


We value individual creativity and aim to create a safe, creative environment, where all children are encouraged to experiment, explore, invent, create and take risks.  As they move through the school, children are encouraged to use their developing knowledge and skills to experiment and generate ideas, create original outcomes and to communicate and solve problems.


Our Art, Craft and Design curriculum covers the Early Learning Goals and the requirements of the English National Curriculum and is developed from the Access Art Primary School Curriculum.   We have chosen the Access Art Primary Art curriculum as their aims and units align with our intent.  

Year 3 and 4 still life topic



In Foundation Stage, children have access to art and making activities on a daily basis via the Expressive Arts and Design early learning goal.  Children have the opportunity throughout the year to explore all of the areas studied in later years: drawing, painting, printing, collage and making, including moulding and construction. They use a wide variety of materials, tools and equipment.  They also experiment and explore key elements in art in a child-led environment: colour, line, design, texture, form and function. They are encouraged to talk about their creations and to explain verbally the processes they have used.  A record of their work and verbal explanations is kept on Tapestry.


In Key Stages 1 and 2, Art and Design is taught for one half term every term, alternating with Design and Technology on a two-year rolling curriculum.  In the non-Art half terms, as drawing underpins learning and expression in all areas of art craft and design, children continue to practise their drawing skills, aiming for at least one 10 minute session each week. 


The Art curriculum follows the same pattern in each year in key stages 1 and 2 (see the curriculum map for Art), giving children the opportunity to revisit, practise and develop their skills and understanding:

  • The first term in each year focuses specifically on drawing and sketchbooks.  Sketchbooks are also used for drawing exercises and in other units, as appropriate.  Drawing is used in most of the later units too as it is the starting point for most creative processes in art & design.
  • In the second term, the units explore surface and colour, focusing on colour mixing, painting, printing, collage or a combination of these.
  • In final term of the year, children engage in 3-D work, which includes sculpture, architecture, making and design. 

As part of our spiral curriculum, all media and areas studied in KS1, such as architecture and printing, are revisited at least once in KS2 to give children the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills.  The curriculum also ensures children have greater choice in later years to choose and mix their media as well as to develop their understanding and use of art as a medium of communication.


    Year 5 and 6 watercolour landscapes

    Our Art and Design Curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills within our progression documents but, where appropriate, class teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum in meaningful and engaging ways. Suggestions for how this can be done are given by Access Art and possible links are discussed and planned for by class teachers, with support from the Art Subject Leader.  The schemes of work are based on those from the Access Art curriculum and are intentionally flexible in their content and outcome, to allow for creativity.


    All children from year 1 upwards have their own sketchbook to document their creative journey.  Their sketchbooks are a place for them to experiment, explore, practice and investigate art, craft and design in their own individual ways.  Using sketchbooks gives them the opportunity to record, review and revisit their ideas.  Children are taught how to make visual notes (of the art, craft, design and architecture they see as well as of the world around them) and then encouraged to use their sketchbooks increasingly independently, developing their own styles and ways to investigate and develop their ideas. 

    Year 3 and 4 Telling Stories through making

    Progression and assessment: Art and Design is not a linear subject and it is important not to restrict a child’s development with precise progression statements.  Instead, we review progress and assess each child’s creative journey against our attached progression document.  We assess learning not outcomes as outcomes are not evidence of the learning that has taken place.  Instead we focus on developing children’s progress through formative methods such as discussion, questioning and observing, including asking about intention as this is key to understanding what the child has understood and is aiming to achieve.


    Recording progress in Art reflects that it is a visual subject area. In addition to verbal assessment, sketchbooks are used to evidence how a child is progressing in generating ideas and many aspects of making and processes.  The end of unit reviews and lessons are used to assess their development in all four areas, in a supportive, encouraging environment.  Class teachers keep a summative record of progress in all four areas which records children who are exceeding and those who are not yet meeting expectations for each of the units. 


    Feedback is not given in written comments but verbally through ongoing discussion during a unit and at the end of unit reviews.  This is done to encourage the children to explore and develop their sketchbook and work as their own creative expression and to develop their own skills in reviewing and reflecting on their work.


    Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers:  All children will have Quality First Teaching. Any children with identified SEND or in receipt of pupil premium funding may have work additional to and different from their peers in order to access the curriculum dependent upon their needs. As well as this, our school offers a demanding and varied curriculum, providing children with a range of opportunities in order for them to reach their full potential and consistently achieve highly from their starting points.

    Sandymouth (EYFS) art inspired by The Great Wave by Hokusai



    Our curriculum will have had the desired impact if the children are developing as independent, confident, experimental artists by making progress in all four areas of our progression document.  They should also develop the skills and knowledge set out in our skills progression document for the units they have studied.

    We will be able to measure our impact through:

    • A review of sketchbooks and artwork showing both individual and school-wide progression.
    • Ongoing formative and summative assessment carried out by class teachers and moderated as a whole school.
    • Talking to children about art and observing art lessons, for example:
      • Can they talk about their inspiration and intent?
      • where appropriate, are they using art to communicate ideas, feelings and to solve problems?
      • Are children demonstrating increasing resilience and willingness to persevere in art?
      • Are children able to review and evaluate their own work and the work of others?
      • Where appropriate for the unit, are children developing their skills in working collaboratively?
      • Are children practising and using the skills and techniques learnt to date with increasing proficiency?  Can they talk about the choices they are making?


    To improve our impact going forward, assessment, both formative and summative, along with moderation is used by class teachers and the Art Subject Leader to support children to make progress and to raise the standards of teaching in the subject.   This can be done through adapting future units and/or providing support to specific children and/or staff, as appropriate. Staff also share good practice and ideas in a supportive environment both in staff meetings and more informally.