Art Curriculum

Art is studied by all pupils in the First and Second Year. In the Third Year, it is a popular optional subject and pupils can continue studying the subject at GCSE, A Level or IB.  We follow the Edexcel Unendorsed Art and Design Course all the way up to A Level – this is a broad, multi-disciplined course where students get to try out different media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, digital photography and video. 

IB Visual Arts students use the same range of materials but have a more experimental first year to their course, with a formal assessment in the form of an exhibition taking place at the end of the second year.

Lower School
September to February half term – Observation February half term to July - The Self and Surroundings
Observation: Exploring art, craft and design through first-hand observational studies.

The Self and Surroundings: Exploring one’s own identity through the self portrait to the world around us. From vast expanses of space and architecture to the world under a microscope.

GCSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The two GCSEs in Art and Design, Fine Art and Photography have been designed to ensure that not only practical artistic skills and abilities should be developed in any course of study but also that the study of art and design and its various contexts should form part of any student’s education. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own work and on the work of others. A Level Art and Design students should engage in integrated critical, practical and theoretical study in art, craft and design.

Students at Brentwood School specialise in one or both of the following endorsements: GCE Fine Art and GCE Photography. Both are from the EDEXCEL Examining Board and 60% of the grade is coursework with the externally set assignment, or final exam making up the remaining 40%.

International Baccalaureate Visual Arts (Higher & Standard Level)

Content
Visual Arts students are expected to develop their work independently throughout the two year programme, culminating in an exhibition at the end of the course. Each student is expected to visit a gallery or museum every six weeks and act on the advice and direction given by their teachers.

Students are expected to work across the disciplines including Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Video, Ceramics and Textiles.

How the course is taught

The Art Department assesses the amount of skill, knowledge and exposure to Art each individual student has experienced on their arrival at Brentwood School. This will assist in the direction that the student takes and suggest any foundation in the basic skills needed for the individual to flourish creatively and achieve their potential.

IB Visual Arts is taught by two subject teachers over two years. In the Lower Sixth, students follow the broad themed title "Where have I come from and where am I going to?' as the starting project, which is followed by a three-week induction programme. After this time students start to consider the personal direction of their work, producing a student statement of intent with the support and advice of the teaching staff and overseen by the IB Visual Arts Coordinator and the Head of Art. It is expected that students will develop a creative and intellectual character and produce art of local, national and global relevance. Students are expected to complete a diverse range of work using a range of materials and techniques.

Upper Sixth IB Visual Arts students produce independent work supported by student statements of intent, culminating in an exhibition at the end of the Lent Term.

Throughout the two-year course, students are regularly monitored by Self, Peer and Teacher Assessment, in line with IB Visual Arts assessment objectives. Both Higher and Standard Level students will work to the same standard; however Higher Level students will produce a more extensive body of work.

Students are expected to participate in class and need to be willing to share their ideas. To be successful students will need to devote time to honing their creative and problem-solving skills by working independently outside the classroom. A minimum of six hours of independent study is expected per week.

Expectations/Homework
Students are expected to complete at least 1investigation workbook per academic year, 2 to 3 books in total. All work must be dated and will be regularly assessed by the teacher. The investigation workbook is expected to relate to final outcomes and must show experimentation and growth of the student into a mature, independent artist. Work in the studio will combine techniques and media e.g. drawing, painting, digital work, printmaking, sculpture. Students are expected to attend Art Club at least once a week. The Art Department offers Art club from 4pm to 6.30pm, Monday to Thursday every week of the academic year to assist students with the workload.

Students are expected to work to their own individual strengths with the help of the teachers. Students will relate their own personal work to its socio-cultural and historical contexts and must make links to an international perspective.

Homework is an integral part of the course and students are expected to complete a minimum of three hours' work per week outside the classroom.

The Extended Essay
Students may wish to consider the Visual Arts as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study Art and Design or a closely related discipline at university. Students are free to select any topic and it should be noted that the assessment criteria give credit for the nature of the investigation and for the extent that reasoned arguments are applied to an appropriate research question. Students would normally be expected either to extend their knowledge beyond that encountered in the Diploma Programme Visual Arts course they are studying, or to apply techniques used in their course in an appropriately chosen topic. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
Students are expected to complete a basic technique and skills-based introductory project before embarking on the course. This should be handed in at the start of the new academic year for assessment. Students use this initial material as a starting point for the Michaelmas theme, 'Where have I come from and where am I going to?'

A Level Fine Art
A Level Photography

Content

A Level Fine Art and A Level Photography are 2 separate qualifications.

Fine Art is sub-divided into the following four disciplines:

  • Painting and drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Lens-based image making.

Photography

  • Lens-based image making including video and film Students studying A Level  Photography are required to own a good quality digital SLR camera

Students are required to work in one or more of the disciplines to communicate their ideas. By working across disciplines, they will extend their understanding of the scope of Fine Art and Photography; by focusing on one discipline, they will gain a deeper understanding of specific processes within each
subject.

How the course is taught

A Level Fine Art and A Level Photography courses are taught by two subject teachers who share both the coursework and the external exam prep work over two years. In the Lower Sixth, students follow the broad­ themed title "Collections Groupings and Classifications" as the starting project, which is followed by a three-week induction programme. After this time students start to consider the personal direction of their work, producing a student statement of intent with the support and advice of the teaching staff and overseen by the Head of Art. It is expected that students will develop a creative and intellectual character and produce art of local, national and global relevance.

Students are expected to complete a diverse range of work using a range of materials and techniques. In the February of the Lower Sixth, students will produce a 15 hour timed internal assessment where they will produce final outcomes for the Summer Exhibition.

Upper Sixth coursework is a personal unit of work supported by student statements of intent. The external exam unit title for A Level Art and Design is set by the Edexcel exam board and is given to the students approximately six weeks before the exam itself, which is a twelve-hour exam over three days.

Throughout the two-year Linear A Level Fine Art course and the A Level Photography course, students are regularly monitored by Self, Peer and Teacher Assessment, in line with the Edexcel assessment objectives.

Students are expected to participate in class and need to be willing to share their ideas. To be successful, students will need to devote time to honing their creative and problem­ solving skills by working independently outside the classroom. A minimum of 5-6 hours of independent study is expected per week.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. Students studying A Level Fine Art can expect 6 hours of homework each week. Students are expected to keep up to date; the sequential nature of much of the course will cause intense difficulties for students who allow themselves to fall behind.

The Art Department offers Art club from 4pm to 6.30pm, Monday to Thursday every week of the academic year to assist students with the workload.

The Personal Study
The personal study will consist of a critical and analytical written piece of a minimum 1000 words continuous prose, making links to the student's own practical investigations, supported by contextual research. Through the personal study, students will demonstrate understanding of relevant social, cultural or historical contexts. Students will also express personal interpretations or conclusions, and use technical and specialist vocabulary.

The focus of the personal study can be any concept, movement, person, people, artefact(s), or other source of reference. However, it must be related to their own investigations and practical work. The personal study is a compulsory element of the A Level coursework unit for both A Level Photography and A Level Fine Art.