Art and Design

At Highfields Academy, we value Art and Design as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. We understand that ‘a high-quality Art and Design education will engage, inspire and challenge children, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to experiment, invent and create their own works of Art, craft and Design’ (Primary National Curriculum for England, 2014).

Art and Design stimulates creativity and imagination. It allows children to express and develop individual interests, thoughts and ideas; it provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences as a special way of understanding and responding to the world. Children explore ideas and meanings through the work of a range of artists, craftspeople and designers. They learn to make informed judgements, aesthetic and practical decisions. Through learning about the roles and functions of Art, children can explore the impact it has had on contemporary life and that of different times and cultures.


Curriculum Intent

At Highfields Academy, our intent is to provide children with an Art curriculum that builds on creative experiences whilst enabling them to express themselves in a practical and inspiring way. Through learning about a wide range of Art, craft & Design, we will not only develop children’s passion and love of the subject, but also build a respect, natural inquisitiveness and an appreciation of Art in all its forms, which they carry with them throughout their lives. We believe that the best way of achieving this is by fulfilling the requirements of the National Curriculum for Art and Design.

The National Curriculum for Art and Design aims to ensure that all children:

  • Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.
  • Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other Art, craft and Design techniques.
  • Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of Art, craft and Design.
  • Know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their Art forms.


Curriculum Implementation

The Teaching and Learning of Art and Design

The teaching and implementation of the Art and Design curriculum at Highfields Academy is based on the principles of the Primary National Curriculum 2014. This provides a broad framework that outlines the Art knowledge and skills to be taught in each key stage, to ensure clear progression from each year group. Long-term planning is then carefully tailored for Art to be taught as a stand-alone subject, or as part of termly topic work. This planning often includes links to the works of local, national and international artists, craftspeople and designers, with reference to associated vocabulary to enhance children's learning.

The Early Years Foundation Stage follows guidelines for Expressive Arts and Design, and Physical Development, as set out in the 2020 Development matters statements and Early Learning Goals. These guidelines underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. The children’s learning includes Art, Music, Dance, role-play and imaginative play. The range of experience encourages children to make connections between one area of learning and another and so extends their understanding. Children explore Art, craft and Design using a variety of media and materials, through a combination of child initiated and adult directed activities.


At Highfields Academy, it is important that all children have access to the Art curriculum to ensure suitable progress is made in the subject. Children with SEND are given appropriate help, including scaffolding, simplified or modified tasks and TA support. Extension tasks or further challenges are provided for more able children.

Curriculum enrichment and Cultural capital

Children have opportunities to study the work of artists, craftspeople and designers, from different times and cultures. They are encouraged to learn the basic language of Art and Design, and understand how it reflects and shapes our history; contributing to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. Children are encouraged to use critical thinking, both in their own work, their peers, and the work of great artists and craftspeople. They do this with confidence and sensitivity.

Whenever possible, educational visits are planned to local museums and art galleries, and visitors to our school offer Art and Design hands on experiences. There is further opportunity for collaborative working and exploring different styles and techniques through Art clubs and whole school projects. At Highfields Academy, we celebrate the children’s artistic achievements on displays throughout the school and through competitions and exhibitions in the community, when opportunity arises.


Curriculum Impact

The impact of the Art curriculum is measured through actively observing children learning during art lessons, and through subject tracking and monitoring. Impact is also measured through key questioning (pupil voice), verbal feedback in lessons, and sketchbook monitoring. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, work is photographed and recorded on Tapestry, shown in topic books, and on displays in the classroom.

At Highfields Academy, the structure of the Art curriculum ensures clear progression of skills between year groups, which supports children in achieving age related expectations at the end of their cohort year. Children are able to develop their knowledge and understanding of the work of artists, craftspeople and designers from a range of times and cultures, and can apply this to their own work. They also understand and apply the key elements of Art: line, colour, shape, tone, form, space, texture and pattern. Technical vocabulary is used, and children are keen to apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified. They value working beyond their comfort zone in order to further discover and develop creativity. From year 1, children use sketchbooks to experiment and practise the different skills and techniques, before applying this to a final piece. 

Within the Early Years foundation stage, the continuous provision of Art and Design makes an important contribution to children’s development. Children develop their understanding of colour and its use for a particular purpose; they have opportunities to explore design, texture, form and function and use simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately. Children create on both small and large scale using the inside and outdoor areas.

At Highfields Academy, the love of Art and Design is shared by teachers and children across the school. Teachers have high expectations, and quality evidence is presented in a variety of ways. A range of resources and teaching styles are incorporated into teaching. Lessons are informative and inspiring and children’s interest is attracted and sustained due to teachers drawing on their own creativity. There is a strong passion to ensure that all pupils are making good progress in Art, while becoming confident and creative learners.

Children speak confidently about their Art and Design work, and their skills. They take pride in their work and are supportive of each other. They enjoy the challenge of learning new skills with the aim to improve. They are becoming increasingly more confident in analysing their work and giving their opinion on their own and other works of Art. While this opinion is often verbal, in upper KS2, this is becoming more evident in sketchbooks.

The quality of children’s sketchbooks and school displays reflect the children’s sense of pride in their artwork, and this is also demonstrated by creative outcomes across the wider curriculum. The school environment celebrates children’s achievements in art and demonstrates the subject’s high status. The Art curriculum contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection.

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