At Bramford Primary, the art curriculum is designed around the idea that art is far more than a series of technical skills, our holistic curriculum nurtures creative thinking skills and helps ensure pupils learn through art, as well as about art. Through our explicit as well as integrated approach to the teaching of art, our curriculum ensures high-quality engagement across all subjects. Creating opportunities for pupils to explore many different aspects of making, helping pupils and teachers understand the ways art connects us with our past, helps us embrace the present, and empowers us to shape our future. By exploring why art is relevant to all our lives, we aim to make certain that pupils feel entitled to develop their creativity, and understand their place in the world as creative, confident beings. The art curriculum is about OPENING UP what art is, giving pupils lots of different kinds of opportunities and experiences (media, techniques, approaches, artists), all underpinned by the creative use of drawing and sketchbooks.
In our Early Years Foundation Stage, our facilitators enable children to take their first steps towards self-expression by providing them with motor, language and decision-making skills. As children develop their artistic skills, our facilitators design challenging projects where children develop their ability to organise their thoughts, analyse and interpret artists’ work as well as experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Our younger pupils are also encouraged to lead their learning, choosing their own direction for their study.
The art curriculum is knowledge-rich, and pupils will learn a wide range of skills, developing understanding and showing clear growth. But crucially, the knowledge and understanding pupils will build will go far beyond the technical, factual knowledge many current curriculums focus upon. Our curriculum balances declarative knowledge with experiential knowledge, building self-knowledge and nurturing traits in learners which will hold them in good stead in whichever direction their learning takes them. It will enable teachers to grow in understanding, experience and confidence when teaching art, by supporting staff in how best to teach visual arts. We want to foster a culture where children feel safe to ask questions and have the tolerance and respect they need to form positive relationships as they learn from one another. Our over-arching intent is to deliver excellence in art teaching, where pupils and teachers can enjoy the journey and outcomes.
Implementation of the art curriculum is monitored by the Arts Hub to promote continuous improvement by reviewing sketchbook work, sharing best practice as well as undertaking continuous professional development (CPD) to stay at the forefront of developments within the subject. In addition, pupil voice surveys and teacher evaluations will be conducted to ensure that the curriculum is having the desired impact. The progression pathway through the year groups follows a repeated rhythm, providing lots of time to balance repeated practice with new experiences, quiet approaches with active and dynamic activities, and time to work alone with collaborative and community-based activities… all geared to create energy and momentum throughout the year.
Teachers are supported by the Arts Hub team to support them with the planning and delivery of an engaging curriculum. Opportunities for continued professional development are available for each pathway through the curriculum provider’s Access Art. Formative assessments are integrated into everyday art teaching to ensure teachers have an in-depth knowledge of the children’s prior learning and to inform their next steps. Facilitators engage pupils in discussion and talk about pupils’ work at all stages. That might be peer-to-peer, pupil with teacher, in small groups, or as a class. Therefore the intention behind work is just as important.
Teachers utilise Access Art to enhance their skills to deliver the formal elements of art (line, shape, tone, texture, pattern) and design skills. The Art curriculum is carefully planned to support the facilitation of learning experiences which embed the requirements of the National Curriculum. Facilitators plan lessons following the carefully designed progression of skills and long-term planning documents; these plans allow children to build upon prior knowledge as they discover each term’s stimulating topics.
We spark our children’s curiosity by inspiring them with engaging topics and influential artists; children explore a balance of skills and knowledge in all their art lessons and have a choice in how they would like to present their projects in their sketchbooks. Our facilitators plan activities where children are encouraged to reflect on their prior learning and build on their skills in a sequential way. We focus on enriching children’s use of subject specific vocabulary so that they are able to articulate their ideas effectively. Our facilitators have the flexibility to create contexts where children can explore open-ended tasks and have Art choice in how they would like to develop their skills.
If teachers identify any personal challenges preventing meeting “I Can” statements, support is provided with scaffolds which enable them to achieve the goals of the lesson, and when children feel confident to apply their skills, they are provided with access to challenges which encourage them to dive deeper with learning. Our facilitators are experienced at ensuring children have opportunities to reflect on their learning and identify how they can move their learning on. Facilitators identify any weaknesses common to many in class which might help identify areas they need to focus on again as a teacher and identify areas of particular strength which might benefit from being developed.
We encourage our children to see themselves as artists; plan their choices carefully and teach them the importance of considering the effects their work can have on those who experience their artwork. In this way, children are able to understand the power of purposeful art pieces and how they can create change in the world.
At Bramford Primary, our teaching staff are dedicated to ensuring children feel their outcomes are celebrated and honoured. Opportunities are provided for the children to engage with cross-trust art projects such as the Big Draw and the Annual Griffin Arts Festival Poster competition and gain Arts Councils Arts Discovery Awards. Alongside the other schools in the Griffin Schools Trust, our children participate in our annual Griffin Arts Festival. During this festival, the pupils share special experiences which aim to enrich the lives of children; children explore all genres of art and facilitators create exciting programmes for all children and the wider community. Over the years, children have had access to free theatrical experiences, explored London’s most enthralling art exhibitions and seen the impact of sharing their artwork with the wider community.
EYFS Art curriculum journey
- To encourage children and staff to explore creativity in a holistic way
- To encourage an open-ended exploration of materials, ideas and techniques.
- To encourage children and staff to value the journey over or alongside outcome
- To encourage children to explore notions of “identity”, gain the confidence to share their exploration and their thoughts, and to learn to appreciate and respect that others might have different experiences of their own identity.
- To encourage children to work together as a team, as well as value their ability to work alone.
- To demonstrate that drawing, mark-making, making etc are physical as well as mental activities in which the mind and the body are involved.
- To demonstrate that every individual has the power to create and make, to manipulate and contribute to the world, for the enjoyment of their own self and for others.
Our children leave Bramford with a sense of belonging, championing our Bramford values of Respect, Tolerance, Self-Belief, Independence and Pride. Every child in our school will have maximised their opportunities to explore their creative skills in a safe, nurturing environment. Thus, leaving our school ready to apply their critical thinking skills effectively in all that they do. Our children see Art as a valued career option and understand that Art makes our lives better, practically, and emotionally, by transforming the world around us. Artists designed the chair you are sitting on, the clothes you are wearing, the furniture around you, and the building you are in. They created the game on your phone, the images on the tv and the art in the gallery. Artists shape the way we are – they put ideas into our heads, and objects into our hands.
Our children have developed a love of learning and respect for their own learning journeys; ensuring that they have the drive they need to learn from challenges, the patience they need to persevere when faced with barriers and the ability to use their voice to seek support from those around them when they need it. Having been provided with a range of artistic endeavours, children can express themselves with ease and confidence and are equipped with the tools to take their passion and confidence into Art. Every child will choose to use Art in a variety of ways, whether it be to create art, to replicate art, to be inspired to pursue art, to celebrate their hard work or understand the emotional impact of art.
All children leave school being able to quote a wide range of artists, local artists relevant to our community studied alongside ‘great artists’, art movements, and styles as well as with the ability to experiment and express themselves through art. Our children understand that being an artist does not mean being an individual who can draw effortlessly or paint beautifully; instead, our children will know that being able to seek inspiration from the world and use their thoughts to build new concepts and ideas, is what makes them creative individuals. Our dedication to providing ample opportunities for children to celebrate their creativity will enable them to feel secure when they turn their ideas into reality – providing them with the confidence they need to use such skills in all areas of learning outside of the classroom. Every child will understand the power of their imagination and perceptions. Our curriculum is designed to nurture this power and give children what they need to create a brighter future for themselves, making valuable contributions to society.