At Key Stage 3 pupils are placed into three separate bands and taught most subjects within those bands.
Key Stage 3: Pupils are introduced to drawing media and explore line work and mark making, these are then applied to graphic, illustrative and artwork briefs to create awareness of creative career paths. Within these areas we then explore how meaningful signs, symbols and motifs are used and students are taught the different ways in which to simplify and distort imagery to make it memorable and fulfil an industry and/or personal brief. In Year 8 pupils design a book cover using perspective and viewpoints to create different moods responding to emotions over current events. The focus on social and political issues continues and allows students to access a range of ways to respond to these visually, fulfil briefs and develop exciting outcomes.
Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11)
Key Stage 4: The design processes learnt at KS3 prepare students to apply them independently and appropriately on the KS4 GCSE course. During Year 9 we recap and expand on these whilst developing skills in paint, collage and drawing in lots of media. The coursework completed over two years is divided into two project units and follow the themes of ‘Ordinary and/or Extra-ordinary’ and ‘Order and Disorder’. Students look at the work of artists and designers to inspire their own ideas, these are developed through exploring different media and processes and improved in a final outcome. The themes are deliberately broad so that students can pursue personal, political or social issues within them. The exam theme is given in January in Year 11 and is similarly broad to give students independence. Another project sketchbook is produced that leads up to and prepares students for an exam where they produce a final piece.
Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form, Years 12-13)
Key Stage 5: Students start with a series of workshops that are designed to raise drawing skills to A Level standard. These are run alongside lectures that broaden subject knowledge and introduce students to key artists / artistic movements with more complex conceptual ideas than studied at GCSE. Students are given time to choose and study artists that they are particularly interested in. This independent ‘Artist Project’ leads into a mini project where students respond with 1:1 guidance as an independent start to their personal projects. More guided workshops develop mixed media skills and help students find ways to access their chosen themes with interesting viewpoints and conceptual depth. The coursework is completed in the same way as the GCSE projects but at a higher standard and students are expected to gather extensive observational drawings and primary source photographs. The exam project is set by the board in January leading to an exam for the final outcome in May.
There are a number of extra-curricular opportunities in Design and Technology including additional workshop time for Y10 and Y11 students, Climate Club, Print Club and Cookery Club.