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The Art department are characterised by their creative and inspirational vision: ‘Colouring outside the lines.’

Our four Art teachers are housed primarily in our Paxton and Faraday blocks. At KS3, they teach all students, and the numbers of students choosing to continue studying Art at KS4 and beyond clearly show how much students at Ridgewood love the subject, with approximately 60 students in each of Year 10 and Year 11 taking it for GCSE. The students benefit from the usual artistic facilities, along with a kiln for clay work and a bank of computers in each art studio for research purposes. There is also a printer which can deliver A3 sized laser colour printing. The department is lucky enough to have the space and capability to accommodate most students’ ideas, however big they are!

In Art lessons, students learn and develop their technical ability and contextual knowledge of art and design through their transition in the department. Each student receives bespoke personal intervention and guidance in most lessons through discussion and questioning. The excellent subject knowledge of the staff in the Art Department enables students to unlock unrealised potential in the form of technical ability and idea generation and realisation.

Every year, the Art Department enables students to achieve outstanding GCSE results, far above national averages. Their prediction accuracy is also outstanding, and students work with trust in their teachers – if they say a student will achieve a particular grade, they usually do! All our Art teachers are themselves dedicated practitioners of Art who all create their own work in various fields outside the classroom, and with the Head of Department having experience as an exam board moderator, their knowledge of what students need to do to be successful is exemplary. Outside the classroom, students’ love of art is also developed, with an after school Art Club and visiting practitioners and alumni.

For information about A level Art, please visit our Sixth Form course pages.


Overview of topics:

The academic year is broken into three sections: Colour and Pattern; Line and Tone; Shape and Form.

Within each of these areas, sub-topics are explored and students discover various ways of working, acquire influences from the work of others and create observed drawings, all culminating in a personalised response.


Following an initial baseline test, assessment follows the whole school marking policy and the Creating Futures Cycle.

Skills taught and developed:

Throughout KS3, students’ technical ability is enhanced as well as contextual knowledge.

Formal elements of Art are explored and students are encouraged to investigate ideas and broad methods in working.

Home learning details and how parents can support their children:

Home learning is set approximately every two weeks and will be a piece of work set to support the theme.

Parents can help by taking time to discuss home learning with students.


GCSE Art, Craft and Design (AQA)

In Year 10, students undertake an introductory set of lessons exploring basic elements of art and design, which are then developed into a personalised coursework project based on a given starting point.

A broad spectrum of investigation is covered in Year 10 which makes up the portfolio element of the GCSE.

The students' portfolios are enhanced in Year 11 with a more focussed portfolio project, before students prepare for and sit their official examination starting in January of Year 11.

Coursework should generally be finalised by January to accommodate preparation for the examination.  A student's coursework portfolio accounts for 60% of their overall mark.

Students will be required to purchase their own sketchbook to work in. An A3 spiral bound book, paper weight 150gsm, would be ideal. Another recommended purchase is The Art Book (Phaidon Press Limited, ISBN 978 0 7148 6796 0, approx. £7.99).


Students receive personalised feedback every lesson. Work is assessed formally following the Creating Futures cycle and utilises internal standardisation.

Students sit a 10 hour examination in Year 11 (over two days) which is marked internally by all Art Department staff alongside their portfolio of coursework. Following the submission of marks to the exam board, a select few will be chosen by the visiting moderator for viewing and verification of marks.

The Year 11 examination preparation starts in January with the actual examination usually falling in late March. This accounts for 40% of a student’s overall mark.

Results are issued in August.

Home learning details and how parents can support their children:

Depending on the stage of each coursework project, students’ home learning may take on a variety of guises; students may be required to create observed drawings and/or photography, research elements, create pages documenting the work of practices and practitioners or be self-guided to develop each individual’s own work.

Useful web links:

Specimen Exam paper:  

Command words:

Links to museums and galleries: