Art & Design Technology (DT)
Our Curriculum - Intent
We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious Art and Design Technology curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils and develop their confidence to express themselves through a wide range of media and methods, including drawing, painting, collage and 3D materials. Children are encouraged to see the opportunities that a career in Art and Design can bring.
The breadth and depth of the curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all abilities. Both Art and DT are closely linked across the curriculum, so that pupils can link their art experiences to their cultural understanding and a broader understanding of the world. Art and DT topics are planned to coincide with topics covered in Geography, History, RE, PSHE and Science to maximise curriculum links. Each year group completes an in-depth study of an artist or designer and as they move through the school, children are able to articulate about artists and designers and why they work the way they do.
The curriculum builds upon prior learning and is sequenced to ensure the progressive development of key skills, including looking and seeing. Children are given opportunities to explore the details of shape, tone, colour and pattern in the world around them and give them the skills to reproduce those details in an artwork. At the same time, children develop and build their hand/eye co-ordination and fine motor skills, gradually building, year on year, to allow children to use tools and manipulate materials with intent. Examples include: control of pencil and brush marks and ability to create a range of specific colours at will from a limited selection of primary colours.
The curriculum develops an understanding of visual culture. Children learn how artistic endeavours have developed over the course of human history and understand that creativity is an important tool for self-expression. They are taught to understand why people make art, how artists’ personal experiences shape the images that they create and how manipulation of tools (such as paints) and techniques (mark-making) can emphasise emotions and feelings within a piece of artwork. Children learn about a range of art and designs from other cultures and develop an understanding of their uses and functions within those cultures.
We recognise the importance of children being given opportunities for ‘real-life’ experiences in the subject, to develop their cultural capital, for example linking learning to local and wider localities. Children visit art galleries, explore the work of local artists and engage in making art sessions to express their emotions. There are a wide range of artists and cultures studied (including BAME artists) to balance the intake and provide a range of cultural viewpoints. Several Art and Design projects across the Key Stages use recycled materials, therefore helping our children to consider the environmental implications of their artwork. There is a high level of vocabulary used in teaching and interactions; every topic also includes a wide range of opportunities for in-depth writing, including creative writing.
The curriculum for Design Technology enables children to experience a range of design and manufacturing processes and techniques, specifically with regard to food technology, textiles technology and 3D construction. Children design and make items with a specific purpose and consider their intended future use in order to create an item fit for purpose. We teach increasingly sophisticated methods of construction and focus on how these have been developed and are used in the world around us. Evaluation is an integral part of the learning process. Children learn to evaluate their work, build on what they have learnt, make mistakes, change their minds and understand that this is a valuable part of the design process.
We promote positive mindset and resilience so that our children attain their best, are challenged to achieve their best and leave The Russell School ready for their secondary education and beyond. It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, exploring and refining. Having the confidence to take risks is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the Art and Design curriculum.Our Curriculum Implementation
Our Curriculum - Implementation
The Art and Design Technology curriculum is structured to be progressive in knowledge and skills across all phases and is closely aligned to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. Knowledge and skills are sequenced to build on prior learning and the subject is taught through a half-termly topic focus. Long term planning contains an equal distribution of Art and Design topics - three topics for each per academic year. Both are usually timetabled with weekly lessons, although some teachers prefer to teach certain sections of their topics as a block, to aid access to materials and media, for example in food technology lessons.
Progression across the school is shown by increasingly skilful mastering of key tools and materials. Brush and pencil control is a key focus for every year group and both demonstrate that children are able to create artwork with specific intent. Prior learning is revisited at the start of every topic by the children setting out clearly what they already know in the form of a mind-map in their sketchbooks. This is added to at the end of every lesson, so that children can continue to evaluate how far they have come.
Challenge is provided by increasingly sophisticated projects which are presented as children move through the school. As well as this, children are progressively challenged to consider their own work, questioning their own methods and how their work and ideas could be improved. Support is given by providing demonstrations of techniques and skills and one-to-one help when needed, whilst also allowing children adequate time to complete their work to a good standard.
Long-term plans ensure that topics covered in Art and Design Technology are linked as much as possible to those covered in other subjects, particularly in History, Geography and Science, as well as RE and PSHE. If topics need to be moved to fit in with, for example, trips and other enrichment opportunities, teachers can use the long-term plan to decide how they can rearrange, but still retain good links across the curriculum. Medium-term plans map out the individual topics and give more detail and ideas for in-depth writing and enrichment opportunities as well as thorough links across the wider curriculum.
Real-life experiences enhance learning in Art and Design Technology to develop cultural capital. Curriculum enrichment opportunities are extensive. Arts Week, a whole school initiative, takes place each year and the children display their creative work in our art gallery. There are also a variety of outdoor drawing activities planned across the Key Stages. There are many opportunities for gallery visits, for example Year 5 visit the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to link with the Victorians topic (History) and William Morris (DT) and Year 3 visit the British Museum to see the Egyptian artefacts. Year 2 visit the Natural History Museum in Tring to draw animals from around the world and Year 4 visit the Verulamium Museum in St Albans to link with their Roman Art and History topics. The countryside around the school offers plenty of scope for artwork involving natural forms, such as the Andy Goldsworthy topic in Year 1 and the Henry Rousseau topic in Year 3.
Regular opportunities for retrieval practice enables children to deliberately rehearse newly acquired skills and knowledge, transfer these across different contexts and identify gaps in their learning, ultimately strengthening long term memory. Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts and encouraged to recognise mistakes as a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.
Our Curriculum - Impact
The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time, as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world. We wish for our children to leave school with the knowledge that Art is simply another language that we can use to articulate ideas and that everyone is capable of creating interesting and exciting pieces of art and design work, no matter what their skill level.
Children’s achievements in Art and Design Technology are assessed through a variety of ways. Marking and feedback provides ongoing assessment information which is used to shape future teaching. Children are assessed formally at the end of each term and phase in their understanding of the key knowledge and skills covered and use of vocabulary.
We continually evaluate the impact of our Art and Design Technology curriculum by assessing evidence that defines a high-quality education, through:
- Judgements which are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school such as work scrutiny, Pupil Voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning.
- The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children.
- Ongoing feedback and assessment, which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.
- A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil interviews, use of assessment grids and data tracking systems, to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education.
- Evidence from monitoring which shows that children are active in their learning, are able to construct their own knowledge and are able to think flexibly and creatively.
The Russell School Art Gallery
Each year we have a creative Arts Week in school. The focus for this year was to create insects out of recycled materials, to fit in with our whole school work on sustainability.