At Shotley Bridge Primary School we understand that art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. The purpose of our high-quality art and design curriculum at Shotley Bridge Primary School is to engage, inspire and challenge pupils to use their knowledge as well as skills for experimentation and in creating their own works of art. As children progress through our school, they are encouraged to think critically, developing a more rigorous understanding of art and design. We work hard to create a school that develops confident, independent artists who can articulate their own creative journeys.
It is vital that we empower our pupils to strive for their aspirations and career goals. As 1 in 11 of all UK jobs now fall within the creative economy which is growing faster than any other industry sector (DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates, 2016), having a curriculum that gives children time to freely explore and refine their creative skills is essential for our pupils’ future studies within our own school, secondary school, college, university and beyond. We also ensure children have the confidence to use and apply their creative skills in all aspects of everyday life, including for pleasure. Numerous studies have shown that learning through creativity builds young people’s life skills – helping them to be more inquisitive, persistent, imaginative, disciplined and collaborative.
Art and design lessons are carefully planned to ensure that our pupils are given every opportunity to produce creative work, exploring their own ideas and recording their experiences. Teachers plan sequences of lessons that allow children to become proficient in drawing, painting, and sculpture. Sketchbooks are used throughout our school for children to record their observations and use them to review as well as revisit ideas. These sketchbooks show each child’s individual creative journey as they follow each child to the next year group. Children explore a range of techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. We believe that in order to improve art and design techniques, children should be given time to explore and experiment freely with a range of materials (for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay). As pupils progress through the school, they are taught to develop their techniques, including their control, use of materials creatively, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different art forms.
At Shotley Bridge Primary School we understand the importance of how art and design both reflect and shape our history. We also recognise its contribution to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. We therefore ensure the children within our school are immersed in the heritage of art and design as they progress through units of work. We plan lessons that teach children about great artists, craft makers, designers, as well as the historical and cultural development of their art forms. Throughout our school, teachers make links between art and other subject areas. For example, a history lesson about the second world war would lend itself to learning about artists such as Henry Moore, Goncalo Mabunda, Laura Knight, who have all produced works that can be used to prompt discussions about war. Science and maths lessons are also used to deepen our pupils’ understanding of artists for example children look at the use of shapes in artworks, such as those by Paul Klee, about the science illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian, one of the first to show the full life cycle of an insect.
Our art and design programme of study is set out year-by-year across the whole school and curriculum maps for skills taught are sent home termly. Our curriculum is enriched with a variety of art and design activities that are designed to go above and beyond what is taught and help to develop pupils’ appreciation of the beauty and power of art and design: after-school art clubs; visits from local artists; whole school art and design competitions as well as those set nationally; involvement in the Durham Lumiere festival and other local events; art and design elements are woven into special days such as World Book Day and Red Nose Day; we use art and design as a tool to strengthen our link with our partner school in Nekacheya, Zambia. The art and design subject coordinator monitors the subject closely in Shotley Bridge Primary School to ensure children are working at a high standard: work and planning scrutinies, discussions with children, learning walks, lesson observations, evaluation of school data compared to national standards, attending local authority network meetings and courses to ensure they stay abreast of best practice and leading whole-school training for staff members, form a part of this.