Education in the arts is essential to students’ intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth and well-being. Experiences in the arts – in dance, drama, music, and visual arts – play a valuable role in helping students to achieve their potential as learners and to participate fully in their community and in society as a whole.
Key Stage 3
In art, craft and design, students explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to describe the formal elements of tone, line, form, composition, pattern and colour. They work with traditional and new media, developing confidence, competence, technical skill and creativity. They learn to appreciate and value images and artefacts across times and cultures and to understand the contexts in which they were made.
Students will be taught to reflect critically on their own and other people’s work, discussing quality, and meaning fluently. They learn to think and act as artists, craftspeople and designers, working creatively and intelligently. They develop an appreciation of art, craft and design and its role in the creative and cultural industries that enrich their lives. Students will begin by developing key skills in art and design practise, working from life to develop their drawing skills, their work with colour and colour theory. By the end of Key Stage 3 students will be adept with all practical materials and will be able to record ideas and intentions with confidence.
Key Stage 4
The GCSE course has two parts; the coursework produced over two years, and the Externally Set Assignment performed at the end of the two years.
The coursework material, in the form of sketchbooks or work books and finished pieces of work, are produced in school, supported by substantial homework’s. The coursework is arranged into themes and projects undertaken across the two years. Each project is a response to a specific theme and it is hoped that students learn to develop their own ideas, practical skills and outcomes during the course.
The main focus throughout the course is drawing from observation which usually leads to a variety of developments in two and three dimensional work accompanied by references to artists, art movements and cultures. Students are given the opportunity to attend two art trips, one in Year 10 and the second in Year 11. In the past we have taken students to The Pitt Rivers Anthropological Museum and The Ashmolean in Oxford, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Royal Academy. Students are also encouraged to visit local galleries as part of homework. Tring Museum is a popular resource, as is Ashridge Forest and other local landmarks. Students are encouraged to use what is at hand to develop their knowledge and understanding of, and practical ability with, the formal elements of composition, tone, form, line and colour. Landscapes, buildings, natural forms and people are typical subjects on which the pupil is instructed to apply the appropriate use of proportion, composition, perspective, tone, texture and colour.
The Externally Set Assignment takes place during the Spring Term in Year 11. After a preparatory time of approximately eight weeks students take a 10 hour exam in which a finished piece of work, either 2D or 3D, is produced. The exam is a response to an externally set theme and is marked internally, together with the coursework. Work is then moderated by an examiner from Edexcel. Students’ overall work is displayed in an end of course show, which parents, friends and other visitors attend.
Any student who is considering taking Art at A level must have studied Art to GCSE level.
Key Stage 5
Sixth Form Art study follows a traditional path. Emphasis is placed on the ability to draw well from life, in order to realise complex and extraordinary ideas. Without well-developed skills in the formal elements fantastic ideas cannot come to fruition.
Students will have the opportunity for learning outside the classroom. A Study Tour to Paris one year allows students to visit the galleries, draw from their collections and gather visual resources to take back to the classroom; the following year a drawing tour to a coastal town in Britain allows students to develop drawing skills ‘en plein air’ and to work from an unfamiliar landscape. Both these opportunities play a apart in developing skills, experiences and ideas. As well as these trips students are encouraged to visit both National and local galleries, either with or without the Art tutors.
The Art Department at Tring is furnished with a working Pottery for Ceramic projects. We have a small kiln, used for experimental work and a larger kiln for outsized pieces. There is also a dark room and computer suite, including all that is required to produce film and digital pictures.
Unit 1 Coursework: Unit 1 is intended to form the basis on which students develop their knowledge, skill and understanding in creating a rich visual language within the context of selected ideas. Ideas provide the starting point for art and design practice, forming an integral part of the creative process and lie at the heart of the assessment for Art A level.
Students will be expected to build on and develop their recording skills and demonstrate skilful use of the formal elements. In developing these skills students will experiment with a wide range of media and methods, learning how to transform and manipulate materials in order to reflect the different qualities of their observed forms and images.
Units 2 and 4 are Externally Set Assignments. The students will receive the ESA in January and produce their first piece of work for the assignment in April. Students work through ideas for the timed test with guidance from the teaching staff.
Unit 3 incorporates two elements; practical work and a personal study. Practical investigation and application forms the basis and foundation of this Unit. Students will identify an area for study and will pursue their own creative and visual ideas in their chosen area of art, craft and design. Students will demonstrate the ability to resolve issues and ideas that emerge as an inevitable part of the process of creating art work.
Alongside this students will be researching, evaluating and analysing the work of others’ art, craft and design practise. The choice of artist will depend on the nature of the practical study, and both will inform the other. The Personal Study should have as part of its outcome written work, as well as other practical and visual images.
We begin Art education in Year 7 with a very practical course, intended to teach students how to use the many materials available to artists in a competent and confident way. We hope the skills embedded at Key Stage 3 will inform the work of students who take Art to A Level. Assessment objectives introduced at Key Stage 3 are still used at GCSE and A Level; the expectations are obviously higher the further through the school a student goes. Skills, projects and themes are re-visited at various points throughout compulsory Art education, and this informs the Art practice should students choose to take Art further for GCSE and A Level. We endeavour to make Art exciting, interesting, challenging and surprising. Our teachers are very experienced, well-informed and practitioners in their own right. Their many and varied experiences are often used as starting points for projects; pottery, sculpture and photography projects have benefited from the highly skilled teaching staff.