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Year 7:

In this introductory year students develop essential skills in drawing and painting through observational recording and growing understanding of the formal elements of visual language; colour, shape, line, tone, texture and composition.

They consider the characteristics and effects of different mark making approaches and basic colour mixing and application. Students also begin to develop their analytical skills and appreciation of the work of other artists.

As well as painting and drawing , students also undertake some photography work (including image processing) and mixed media approaches. Students consider portraiture, still life and landscape genres. In their sketchbooks students also develop research and presentation skills.

Year 8:

Students are encouraged to further develop their understanding of visual language and appreciation for a broader range of art.   They work on more sustained pieces and are encouraged to form and justify their interpretations and evaluations of their own and others works. 

Students explore a broader range of materials and styles in which to work and tasks are more open, allowing greater opportunities for personal interpretations. As students’ progress through KS3 projects become more closely related to the expectations of GCSE.

Year 9:

In this pre – GCSE year students build on what they have experienced in year 7 and 8 and are encouraged to pursue more independent ideas and approaches to set themes. Tasks and activities set normally have more scope for personal interpretation and are likely to develop into more sustained outcomes.

Early in the spring term students embark on a major project for which they develop ideas in response to starting points from a previous GCSE examination paper. Students are encouraged to appreciate how the GCSE is assessed and to recognise the four key elements of the assessment criteria (develop, experiment, record, realise) in their own practice. This project, which acts as a foundation for GCSE, culminates in a sustained outcome (usually a painting) which students work on in a period leading up to and including the end of Year 9 examination.

Year 10:

In this exciting year, students are able to reflect on all that they have learnt in Year 7-9 and push and challenge themselves to develop their ideas further, experiment with materials and refine their skills to produce personal and meaningful outcomes. 

Students are aware of the 4 assessment objectives and working methods are natural progressions from Y7-9.  Students are encouraged to take more responsibility for their work, not only with the practical side but also with organisation and time management skills. 

During the autumn term students will work on an introductory coursework project.  During the spring and summer terms, preparatory work in undertaken on a major project which culminates in a 5 hour timed exam. A substantial proportion of the GCSE coursework content is covered during this year.

Year 11:

In this second year of the GCSE course students undertake their GCSE mock. Preparatory work for this will begin at the start of the autumn term with students working from a previous GCSE paper and selecting one from a range of seven starting points that best suits their interests and abilities.

Work is tracked and monitored using departmental assessment grids to ensure that in the preparatory stages of the project students are addressing the assessment criteria with their development, experimentation and recording. The 10 hour examination is undertaken over two days off timetable during November (see calendar).

There will be an opportunity for a short consolidating project in the period before the issue of the actual GCSE in February which counts for 40% of the overall mark. Again work is tracked and monitored to ensure that in the preparatory stages students are addressing the assessment criteria. The 10 hour actual exam will take place at the beginning of the summer term (see calendar).

GCSE AQA Specification