Art & Design

The Leigh Art department strive for success with a passionate and dedicated team. We offer a wide range of Art, Design and Photography encouraging students to explore, experiment and creatively apply their knowledge in a personal response.

Throughout KS3, KS4 & KS5 students have the opportunity to develop their ideas with printing, painting, drawing, mixed media, casting, photography (digital and experimental) and digital (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) across 2D and 3D.

To accommodate all this creativity we have 2 large Art studios and a Mac suit with a HP Designjet printer.

At the end of every academic year we celebrate our KS4 & 5 successes by creating a catalogue and hosting our annual exhibition displaying at least one completed final piece from every student. Constructed in the Winter Garden in the heart of the Academy everyone is welcome to meander through the display of Fine Art, Photography and Graphics. This is a chance to show the rest of the academy, staff and proud parents what we have achieved over the year.

Many of our students progress from GCSE to our A-level courses and onto Higher Education, preparing them for successful careers in the creative industries.

View our blog to see our latest events

KEY STAGE 3 (YEARS 7, 8 & 9)

Students in Year 7 explore the theme of Family  by developing a range of approaches and techniques.  In all Key Stage 3 schemes of work, students will:

  • Record from direct experience and observation developing mark making skills in both drawing and painting
  • Develop ideas for their work by investigating the work of other artists across time , place and culture : Picasso, Bridget Riley, Georges Braque, Paul Cezanne , Georges Seurat, Henry Moore, Phillip King, Antony Caro , Paul Klee, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, David Hockney . 
  • Be inspired by and understand traditional and contemporary artists styles from across different cultures .The aim is to develop analytical skills and value the work of others as enrichment.
  • Explore and experiment with a range of media for working in two and three dimensions: Painting, Drawing  and sculpture.
  • Review, modify and refine art work as it progresses to realise intentions
  • Create informed and personal outcomes
  • Reflect upon and improve art work, making connections to artists work
  • Learn how to make critical judgements about Art using a specialist vocabulary.

This broad experience of Art is underpinned by observational drawing, and is designed to give students a firm basis for GCSE Art and Design studies. 

Every Art project  aims to develop our  students’ understanding of the key aspects of GCSE Art and Design and will address bothe the fundamental concepts identified in the National curriculum of Creativity,Competence and Cultural understanding mapped against the structure and broad based global awareness of MYP strands of learning and assessment .

  • Strand A – Knowledge and understanding

An exploration of Art forms : context, purpose , and meaning.

  • Strand B –Developing skills

The development of control and confidence with a range of practical skills and processes

  • Strand C –Thinking creatively 

The development of ideas  and artistic imagination

  • Strand D – Responding 

Students in Year 8 explore the the power of the visual image to communicate by making work in response to the growing problem of pollution in our seas and oceans. : ‘SAVE OUR SEAS’.  There is a different  and  more experimental approach with students applying knowledge gained from their year 7 course and developing ideas with a range of practices in fine art , photography and graphics as these are the options we offer at GCSE  In all Key Stage 3 schemes of work, students will:

  • Record from direct experience and observation developing mark making skills in both drawing , painting and printing
  • Develop ideas for their work by investigating the work of other artists across time , place and culture : Georgia O’Keeffe , Edward Bawden, Lisa Milroy, Mark Powell , Rob Ryan and Edward Weston 
  • Be inspired by and understand traditional and contemporary artists styles from across different cultures .The aim is to develop analytical skills and value the work of others as enrichment.
  • Explore and experiment with a range of media for working in two and three dimensions: Painting, Drawing  ,Print , Photography ,Graphics and  Sculpture.
  • Review, modify and refine art work as it progresses to realise intentions
  • Create informed and personal outcomes
  • Reflect upon and improve art work, making connections to artists work
  • Learn how to make critical judgements about Art using a specialist vocabulary.

Students in year 9 further develop their artistic practice to explore the theme of ‘Savage’ . They continue to refine and apply the skills learnt in years 7 and 8 and will  investigate those artists that have also made responses to this idea including  Picasso, Gauguin , Van Gogh , Escher, Frida Kahlo, Don McCullin,Rosmarie  Tissi and David Carson. They will have the opportunity to revisit Graphic design , photography and fine art skills to create more independent ‘Savage’ pieces that express mood as well as record  and describe.    

Students will

  • Explore ,experiment and record  with a range of media for working skills in both drawing , painting and printing, photography and graphic design including digital practices .
  • Develop ideas for their work by investigating the work of other artists across time , place and culture, discipline ,style and purpose . 
  • Be inspired by and understand traditional and contemporary artists styles from across different cultures .The aim is to develop analytical skills and value the work of others as enrichment.
  • Review, modify and refine art work as it progresses to realise intentions
  • Create informed and personal outcomes
  • Reflect upon and improve artwork, making connections to artists work
  • Learn how to make critical judgements about Art using a specialist vocabulary.

This broad experience of Art is underpinned by observational drawing, and is designed to give students a firm basis for GCSE Art and Design studies. 

Every Art project develops students’ understanding of the key aspects of GCSE Art and Design.

KEY STAGE 4 (YEARS 10 & 11)

We offer the following courses at GCSE  [Graded 1-9 ]
Course Title: FINE ART
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
Qualification: GCSE

Course Title: GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION 
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
Qualification: GCSE

Course Title PHOTOGRAPHY
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
Qualification: GCSE

About the course – Fine Art:
GCSE FINE ART is structured to develop creativity, practical and analytical skills and above all independence, drawing inspiration from the world around. Students are challenged to create sophisticated responses that express their ideas. 

There is a strong foundation in observational work underpinned by independent analytical research of the work of other artists.

Students will learn from Artists and their working practice and  in so doing and develop cultural knowledge across historical and contemporary contexts, societies and cultures. We explore a range of themes across the 3 years of the course which are designed to extend thinking [ Ao1 Development of ideas] to develop a broad skills base Ao2/Ao3 Experimentation  and recording and ultimately support the development of the Personal response and Creativity [Ao4]

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to become confident in taking risks and learning from their mistakes when exploring and experimenting ideas, materials, tools and techniques including traditional and new technologies.

Students will be shown how to review their work and develop and refine it to realise personal outcomes.

Students will learn to develop competence and confidence in realising artworks, with increasing independence. In the GCSE FINE ART course as a whole, students will develop the personal attributes of self-confidence, resilience, perseverance, self-discipline and commitment and independence.

Visits to Art Galleries and opportunities to work on location are integral to all  Art and Design courses  at GCSE LEVEL.

In FINE ART we focus on developing high-level recording skills in painting, drawing, print and photography. Students learn and apply a range of processes and techniques to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of colour , tone , form , scale ,pattern ,texture ,composition in order that they can confidently express their own ideas .

About the Course – Graphic Communications:
GCSE GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION is structured to develop creativity, practical  and analytical skills and  above all independence, drawing inspiration from the world around . 

Students are asked to consider how ideas, issues and products are and can be represented through Graphic means. Students explore a range of different working methods, both digital and hand-crafted and respond to Design Briefs that address Illustration, typography, poster design and branding. 

There is a strong foundation in observational and experimental work underpinned by independent analytical research of the work and practice of other designers and artists.   .

Students will learn about the way Graphic Designers approach a design problem and apply techniques and processes in their own work. We explore a wide range of themes across the 3 years of the course which are designed to extend thinking [ Ao1 Development of ideas] to develop a broad skills base Ao2/Ao3 Experimentation  and recording and ultimately support the development of the Personal response and Creativity [Ao4]

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to become confident in taking risks and learning from their mistakes when exploring and experimenting ideas, materials, tools and techniques including traditional and new technologies.

Students will be shown how to review their work and develop and refine it to realise personal outcomes.

Students will learn to develop competence and confidence in realising artworks, with increasing independence. In the GCSE GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION course as a whole, students will develop the personal attributes of  self-confidence, resilience, perseverance, self-discipline, commitment and independence .

In GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION students have the opportunity to create work using Photoshop and Illustrator.

About the Course – Photography:
GCSE PHOTOGRAPHY is structured to develop creativity, practical  and analytical skills [both digital and analogue]  and  above all independence by  making  personal responses to the world around . 

There is a strong foundation in RECORDING skills and EXPERIMENTAL responses underpinned by independent analytical research of the work of other artists and photographers .

Students will learn about the way Photographers develop their practice and apply skills to develop ideas looking at both digital and analogue responses.

We explore a range of themes across the 3 years of the course which are designed to extend thinking [ Ao1 Development of ideas] to develop a broad skills base Ao2/Ao3 Experimentation  and recording and ultimately support the development of the Personal response and Creativity [Ao4]

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to become confident in taking risks and learning from their mistakes when exploring and experimenting ideas, materials, tools and techniques including traditional and new technologies.

Students will be shown how to review their work and develop and refine it to realise personal outcomes.

Students will learn to develop competence and confidence in realising artworks, with increasing independence. In the GCSE PHOTOGRAPHY course as a whole, students will develop the personal attributes of self-confidence, resilience, perseverance, self-discipline, commitment and independent .

In PHOTOGRAPHY we use primarily digital means to make photographic pieces, but we also explore the experimental CYANOTYPE process seen in early photography . Students can edit and enhance their work using Photoshop.

All Art  & Design disciplines are assessed at GCSE level  using 4 assessment objectives. Each assessment area has a total mark of 18 marks 

AO1:Develop ideas through investigations informed by contextual and other sources demonstrating analytical and cultural understanding 18 marks 

AO2:Refine ideas through experimenting and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes 18 marks 

AO3:Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions in visual and/or other forms. 18 marks 

AO4:Present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and where appropriate, making connections between visual, written, oral or other elements. 18 marks 

The GCSE is divided into a Candidate Portfolio [COURSEWORK] worth 60% of the overall award, and the Externally Set Assignment [TIMED TEST] worth 40% that consists of an examination.

Candidate Portfolio 60%:

  • The portfolio is a selection of work undertaken in the course consisting  of several personal outcomes and supporting investigations / studies presented   in the form of sketchbooks and display sheets 

Externally Set Assignment 40%:

  • The external assignment is a theme or question given in January in the year of examination set by the examination board . The public Exam will take place around April or Early May.
    • The student submission for external assignment will consist of a sketchbook of visual investigation prepared prior to the examination and final response made in the 10 hour timed test.
KEY STAGE 5 (YEARS 12 & 13)

We offer 3 courses at A level. FINE ART, GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION and PHOTOGRAPHY . These are 2 year courses. 

There is also a potential of studying an A1 [AS] course which is assessed at the end of year 1.

All courses at A level are demanding, rigorous, empowering  and inclusive  as we recognise that students have different learning needs and learn at different rates. Our focus is progression.  Students will develop the personal attributes of  self-confidence, resilience, perseverance, self-discipline, commitment , critical thinking and independence .

There are 2 components for the qualification: FINE ART, GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION and PHOTOGRAPHY

Component 1 : Coursework. 60% of the total qualification .

This is teacher led in year 12 where broad themes are explored and the practical skill base developed supported by independent analysis and research. Students have a written component to the qualification. The personal study is assessed separately and will address context, ideas, inspiration and practice of Artists, Designers and Photographers across time place and culture. Students are required to write a 3000 word essay which has coherent argument supported by thorough personal research.   Total mark for personal study 18 marks 

In year 13 students are expected to develop their own themes to make practical and analytical responses. There are 5 levels of performance: 1.Limited ability , 2.Basic ability, 3.Emerging Competent ability, 4.Confident and Consistent ability, 5.Confident and Assured ability and 6.Exceptional ability.

There are 4 assessment areas :

AO1 Develop Ideas informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding  18 marks 

AO2 Explore and select  resources ,experiment with techniques and process ,review work as it progresses. 18 marks 

AO3 Record relevant Ideas ,observations and insights [recording ] reflecting critically as work progresses.18 marks 

AO4 Present a meaningful response that realises intentions  making critical and visual connections. Realisation .18 marks 

Component 2  : Externally set assignment [timed test] 15 hrs . 40% of the total qualification 

This is available at the end of January in order that students can thoroughly prepare. The public Exam will take place around April or Early May.

Students will present  a range of supporting studies in support of their final practical response/s in the form of sketchbooks and or large display sheets.

Course Title: FINE ART
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
Qualification: A level  or A1

Course Title: GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION 
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
Qualification: A level  or A1

Course Title PHOTOGRAPHY
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
Qualification: A level or A1

About the course – Fine Art:
A LEVEL FINE ART. This is a broad course which encourages the student to be innovative in response  and prepared as high level skills in Drawing, painting and print are developed. Students are expected to make independent first hand research by visiting Art galleries. Drawing is a key focus to develop observational skills . Students explore colour and mark as a means to convey ideas and emotions.

Critical and contextual work [Research]underpins practical developments. Students work in a variety of media [including oil paint] and in a range of styles to  develop techniques and processes. This is a challenging course where teachers aim to facilitate real development and understanding.

About the course – Graphic Communication:

A LEVEL GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION. Students develop a range of discrete skills both digital and hand crafted to communicate visually IDEAS, ISSUES and PRODUCTS. Drawing is a key focus to develop ideas as well as observational skills. 

Students consider stylisation, colour, typography   in response to design briefs which address branding, promotion , layout and a range other design principles. There are number of short  focused practical tasks designed to develop skills . Critical and contextual work [Research] underpins practical developments. Students aim to match their ideas to client requirements. Resourcing /research visits are made to  help to develop  high level personal responses

About the course – Photography:
A LEVEL PHOTOGRAPHY. This is a broad based course which explores a range of Genres from ‘portraiture and still life’ to ‘street photography’. Students learn lighting techniques as well as camera functionality. Digital images can be edited on Photoshop .Students are expected to refine work by re-shooting .RECORDING at a high level and SELECTION is a key focus.  Students make work in the studio and on location.

Students present outcomes in a range of ways.

Critical and contextual work [Research] underpins practical developments. Students are encouraged to take a sophisticated and yet experimental approach and to consider the ideas that their work is conveying.

Visits to Art Galleries and opportunities to work on location are integral to all Art and Design courses  at A LEVEL.

Recommended apps for all courses

  • QR Reader: To quickly access research/information articles.
  • Skitch: A quick and easy way of annotating your work & artist research that can also be printed off and added to your sketchbook.
  • Photoshop Light: To learn the basics of Photoshop.

Useful websites