Curriculum Intent

Alderbrook Art Department is an innovative and creative place to learn. Experienced staff encourage and engage students to experiment, explore and enjoy art themes giving students opportunities with both 2D and 3D experiences. Our aim is to enable students to be successful and appreciate art forms, facilitating learning and inspiring them for further education, careers and the wider world of Art and Design. We enrich students experiences where possible with Gallery visits particularly with KS4 and KS5. We have a consistent track record for extracting the best from our students with Art and Photography courses and have high expectations for our learners. Above all we hope students not taking the subject further will have enjoyed and experienced the subject and will have some appreciation of the culturally rich nation that we live in.


The Department consists of four art rooms, one being a specialist clay room; we also have a Photography space and printing facilities. The delivery team are:

  • Mrs S Roundell
  • Mrs J Stevens
  • Mrs K Myatt
  • Mrs R Saimbi
  • Mr Farmer

Curriculum Implementation


Key Stage 3

Pupils experience Art activities being delivered in specialist Art rooms on arrival to Alderbrook.

During this Key Stage we cover key competences. We hope our learners develop both cultural and critical understanding, explore and create both 2D and 3D artefacts to a given theme and then evaluate progress. Students are encouraged to enjoy their learning, be creative and succeed as they develop and explore the subject in an inclusive mixed ability setting.


Year 7

Following a base line assessment, the department focus upon drawing skills and 3D work, relate to culture and expand knowledge of the formal elements. Students are introduced to formal drawing techniques through a range of project themes that will involve both 2D and 3D work.


Year 8

A deeper understanding of the subject is distilled in year 8 in the single hour a week lessons. The Year 8 projects are more expressive and relate further to contemporary and abstract works and make connections to spiritual and emotional contexts.


Key Stage 4

The department enjoys and celebrates success at KS4. We deliver GCSE courses in Art & Design and Photography. The exam board used is OCR.

Coursework/ Portfolio is 60% of the final mark

Exam/Set Task is 40%. The exam itself is 10 hours.

  • A01: DEVELOP ideas through investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and cultural understanding. (30 marks coursework/20 marks exam)
  • A02: REFINE ideas by experimenting and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes. (30 marks coursework/20 marks exam)
  • A03: RECORD ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions in visual and /or other forms. (30 marks coursework/20 marks exam)
  • A04: PRESENT a personal informed and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and where appropriate making connections between visual, oral and written and other elements. (30 marks coursework/20 marks exam)


Year 9

Students complete, having made options, the KS3 curriculum, revisiting, broadening and building upon prior knowledge. The themes given are more centred on technical skill and competence and engage a more mature learner. Towards the end of the year and with differentiation within mixed ability classes, staff are able to assist pupils with more independent and personalised learning which is then facilitated in Year 10.


Year 10

Students will create two bodies of work; one relates to the theme of Portraiture and the second, often as an extension uses the titles from a past exam paper (* Covid adaptations affect 2021/22 cohort). Both these project themes form the coursework and students evolve and become more independent in the working habits and diversity of outcome. Students are still learning skills and techniques and advancing their confidence and knowledge of media. They relate to and are influenced by the work of artists frequently and are taught how to critically analyse artwork and other contextual sources.  Most of the work is completed in sketchbooks with supporting work/canvases.


Year 11

Students complete their coursework worth 60% of the final mark with a December deadline. They then prepare for the exam worth 40% of the final mark in the following January.

Photography GCSE: Uses similar themes to Art and the work generated is on Powerpoint presentations. Students record, develop, refine and present using digital processes. Students enhance, manipulate and creatively work ideas using CS6 Photoshop. Students use bridge cameras and SLRs for primary recording, supported by mobile phones on ocassions. The assessment criteria is the same as in Art and Design.

Students are encouraged to become independent learners outside the classroom and should visit Galleries and be inspired by their interest in art during the KS4 time and beyond. We run two KS4 trips where students are exposed to the work of artists and crafts people. We have enjoyed successful workshops and trips to: WB studios, Apple store, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, London Galleries, Tate Modern and Britain, Saatchi, National Portrait Galleries, Tate Liverpool, Sculpture park, Walsall Gallery, Twycross Zoo and National Trust venues.

Key Stage 5

Exam Board: OCR


Why A level Art and Design?

Art is a powerful visual stimulus, which enriches our lives in many ways. Art can form a stimulus for thought or it can be used in many practical ways from product design, advertising, architecture and the media. The A Level course will allow students to develop their ability to appreciate the visual world and respond in a personal and creative way.


What will you study?

Students will produce a collection of work based on an idea, theme or issue which will demonstrate their ability to research, develop ideas and link work in a meaningful way. They will develop a working knowledge of materials, practices and technology, working with contextual studies to convey and synthesise ideas through Art and Photography


University degrees that require or often prefer Art and Design include:

Specialist Art and Design courses, including Fine Art, Graphic Design, Fashion and Textiles (N.B Art degrees usually prefer a one-year foundation course post A Level), Liberal Arts, Art History, Multimedia Design Technology, Architecture and Product Design, Film, animation and Photography with digital media.


Entry requirements

Minimum grade 6 in GCSE Art & Design and Photography.


‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. ‘

Edgar Degas

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

KS4 art trips to London Galleries in Year 11 and Birmingham, Oxford, Yorkshire Sculpture Park for Year 10.

In the past years the art department has enjoyed residencies in New York, Amsterdam and Paris as well as Cornwall. We endeavour to offer these opportunities again.


Skills for Success and Career Opportunities

The Art and Design and Photography GCSE course provides an excellent progression route for further study of Art and Photography at A Level and can lead to numerous degrees and occupations. It will aid progression to careers in advertising, animation, architecture, car design, photography, fashion design, film production, furniture design, graphic design, interior design, textile design, or theatre design, to name just a few and will support other career paths like forensics, creative Performing arts and Science or geology-based careers.

Painting and drawing provide a foundation for most art and design activities. However, for photography, considerable emphasis is placed on digital manipulation processes. The recording and research are often created using new media or traditional processes.

Working within the creative industries, fashion, textiles, ceramics, 3D design, furniture, jewellery, architecture, interior design, fine art and sculpture, video art and advertising, media and Photography, graphics to name a few. Opportunities can be in retail and within curating exhibitions.

Other qualities and key skills from studying Art or Photography are an ability to be responsible, reflective, curiosity and be creative.


Contact the Head of Department

For further information, please contact Sally Roundell.

Art Coursework