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Art and Photography

Our aim is for our students to experience new and stimulating art work from across the globe, to see, first hand, artists at work, designers creating original enterprises and crafts people developing their profession within the art world. We aim to create the very best artists, designers and photographers, through an engaging, inspiring and challenging curriculum that equips them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design growing in confidence using the language of art, craft and design.

We challenge students to think, act and speak like those working within the field. We do this by teaching students to become visually literate so they are able to read, interpret and find meaning in signs, symbols, codes and conventions, exploring and re-shaping them in their own work. Students experience of all three areas of art, craft and design and are given the opportunity to develop their cultural capital, obtain an awareness of work related learning by engaging with practitioners and develop their understanding on art timelines through examples of historical art and design from a range of cultural contexts. We actively promote looking at the work of others, celebrating other cultures and encouraging diversity. We want our students to leave us being responsible citizens, aware of the role they play in the world and the importance of art in contributing to society as well as confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Purposeful exploration, making and doing to foster artistic and design awareness, understanding and skills is paramount within our curriculum. We provide learning contexts that promote the understanding of the creative design industries, their role in the economy and how they can lead to exciting career opportunities. At KS3, students develop their skills and understanding with progressive complexity and sophistication, so that they are able to make informed choices and work with increasing independence into Key Stage 4. Our curriculum at WHS goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, whilst we want students to achieve the very best results possible, we believe our curriculum goes past what is examinable. As a department we offer students extracurricular clubs in Photography and Art to invite students to develop their skills and knowledge further in these areas. Inspiration for such activities is sought from current exhibits, trends within the field and experimentation with advanced materials in an environment similar to a studio. We strive to take students to both local and national art galleries to participate in workshops and exhibitions such as the Hepworth Gallery, The Manchester Museum, galleries in London and Tate Liverpool. We run workshops in school with visiting artists as well as specific workshops led by our feeder colleges to experience art beyond the classroom.

Our curriculum in Art, Design and Photography forms a backbone to our departmental ethos. Working with different materials, processes, tools and technologies sparks pupils’ curiosity, provides intrinsic motivation, pride in their work and their developing skills. Engaging with different design contexts and materials creates highly engaged and motivated learners as they become able to explore the wider world and their place within it. Providing stretch and challenge encourages students to strive for their best, developing increased confidence with each creative obstacle they overcome. We aim to provide an environment in which students are happy to take risks, ask themselves questions about their creative journey and respond positively to both staff and their peers. Our subject naturally lends itself to collaboration, the sharing of ideas and peer critiques in which students are guided to use a positive, specific and helpful framework in which to discuss their own work and that of others. Being mindful and mannerly ensures the safety and enjoyment of all students in a studio environment. Our curriculum is designed to lead to excellence at every level, providing our students with a strong foundation from which to excel in further art studies but most importantly for students to experience an enriching, informative, inspiring environment that allows them to thrive and smile whilst they learn.

Please see parental overview of the courses in KS3 and KS4 below.

Key Stage 3

Art: Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Topics Studied Observational drawing from primary and secondary sources using tone and colour. Students apply new skills to a portrait after learning about the proportions of the face. Students develop knowledge of other cultures and will be introduced to African artists and learn about how to create African patterns that combine K and U of The Colour Theory. Building upon skills in Year 7, students create original character illustrations. Students are introduced to work of several illustrators with a focus on work related learning and imaginative drawing, using skills acquired to become independent in design. The Design Process. The final stage of the KS3 journey combines prior knowledge of The Colour Theory into painting with a new skill of making. Students will learn about Street Art (Ben Eine), the history of fairground lettering and on to styles. They will develop making skills by design and creating relief letters from words that promote positivity and diversity in our community
Skills and Key
Observational drawing

The colour theory (harmonious colours)

Colour blending

Measuring the proportions of the face

Expressive portraits and colour to express mood

Character illustration

Drawing from imagination

Expressions and mood

Stance and scenario depiction

Identity and aspirations


Colour blending and application

Story telling/image making

Drawing for design

Developing ideas

Transferring images

Enlarging design

Making with cardboard

Mixing and applying acrylic paint


Collaborative learning

Diversity and inclusion

Links for
Support/ Help
at Home
  • Use of student resources located within WHS SharePoint for students
  • Resources posted to teams and social media platforms
  • Gallery Visits/Attend artist workshops
  • Knowledge organisers
  • Use of YouTube tutorials
  • Participating in enrichment opportunities and clubs (in school and out of school)
  • Research and discussion topic themes

Key Stage 4