Visual Arts

Observing the ordinary, creating the extraordinary.


To instill a love of the Visual Arts and encourage development of skills and knowledge through RISK, DISCOVERY and CURIOSITY. To foster curiosity and a lifelong love of Visual Arts that continues outside the school curriculum,

Encourage independent thinking and evidence-based opinions to create resilient learners.

Making links with the diversity of professional practice and the real world.

In the Visual Arts we

  • see the world through different eyes
  • are happy to ask questions even if they cannot be answered
  • continually place our work in a professional context
  • aspire to professional standards
  • showcase our creativity through professional displays
  • are creative and innovative
  • are independent individuals
  • have self-belief and take pride in our work.

The Visual Arts Faculty is a vibrant and forward-thinking faculty devoted to risk, curiosity and discovery. The Visual Arts staff work very closely as a team to enable all our students to enjoy rich and varied opportunities in the Visual Arts, both in lessons and in extra-curricular time. This includes trips to galleries locally and nationally, plus residential creative opportunities and visits to Paris for an international film festival.

The faculty encompasses Art, Media Studies, Moving Image, and Photography, with qualifications being offered in all areas. We have outstanding resources including three dedicated Media / Photography studios with two smaller suites and a darkroom, and three large Art studios. We run Apple Mac computers and iPads throughout with industry standard software, which is regularly upgraded.

Year 7

All year 7 students have weekly lessons in Art. All year 7 Art lessons are taught in the students’ mixed ability tutor groups.

Year 8

All year 8 students have weekly lessons in Art. Year 8 Art lessons are taught in smaller mixed ability groups.

Year 9

In Year 9 students opt to study a range of subjects which can include Art for either one or two periods a week. These lessons are taught in mixed ability groups.

Year 10

Visual Arts Options available for year 10 students are:

  • GCSE Art & Design
  • GCSE Photography
  • GCSE Media Studies

We are continually looking at new options to see if there are courses that would benefit our students.

Year 11 

Students continue with the options they began in Year 10.


A level Visual Arts options available for students in our sixth form are:

  • Art & Design
  • Media Studies
  • Moving Image
  • Photography


Art and Design is a subject area that not only develops practical and imaginative skills, but informs our understanding of the world we live in. It provides the opportunity for everyone to focus on developing creativity and imagination through a Visual Language.

Key Stage 3 – (Year 7-9)

The curriculum delivered focuses on introducing pupils in Year 7 to the formal skills of Art and Design, and build upon these through Years 8 and 9. They are encouraged to develop their two-dimensional and three-dimensional skills by responding to ideas and themes.

In the projects covered, all pupils will:

  • Develop their drawing and observing skills.
  • Their ability to research and analyse artists and their techniques.
  • Learn about the qualities and constraints of a variety of media through experimentation.
  • Create outcomes that reflect the skills, knowledge and understanding developed throughout the projects.
  • Students will experience experimental drawing, ceramics, sculpture, painting techniques, artists analysis workshops and printmaking.

Curriculum Content

At KS3 students are expected:

  • To use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas.
  • To use a range of techniques and media, including painting.
  • To increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials.
  • To analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work.
  • To study the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day.

Year 7  

Formal Skills

Students will explore the ‘foundations’ of art and how to create successful piece of art work. Drawing, painting and collaborative workshops will take place.
The Natural World

Students will explore what ‘The Natural world’ can look like in art. This will include skills such as; thumb-nailing, observational drawing, artist analysis and ceramics.

Students will explore portraiture through research and practical workshops to develop how ideas can be evolved from the artists we research. A personal outcome will be produced to allow students to develop their interpretation skills.

Year 8

Junk, Scrap and Objects

Students will explore skills such as; composition, observational drawing, printmaking, research and collage in relation to the theme above.
A Creatures Story

Students will explore and experiment with a range of sculpture processes such as construction, using cardboard. Along with this, students will explore cultural influences in art to develop their curiosity skills.

Students will explore perspective drawing as well as social and political artists who have impacted on our global society and create personal meaningful work, inspired by the artists students research. Along with this, students in year 8 will visit a local gallery to see what art looks like first hand.

Year 9

Formal Skills (Hidden Stories)

At the beginning of year 9 students will extend and enhance their formal skills, through challenging and expressive workshops. As a result students will begin to create outcomes that represent a hidden story. Students will also explore three new themes of ; landscape; portraiture and belongings to develop what a personal project can look like in art.
Independent project

Students will explore a chosen theme of either; landscape, portraiture or belongings and develop a personal project. Students will explore recording skills and research skills through observational drawing, photoshoots and artist analysis.
Independent project

Students will continue with their independent project through creative making workshops. This is a further opportunity to independently explore and discover what a personal project could look like in art.

Key Stage 4 and 5

Assessment Format:

Key Stage 4 = Eduqas GCSE Art and Design which is split between coursework and an examined practical component.

Curriculum Content

At Key stage 4 students:

  • Develop ideas that are informed by investigative, contextual and cultural studies of historical and contemporary art, craft and design and other sources relevant to their selected areas of study in their own and other societies.
  • Explore a wide variety of work produced by artists, craftspeople and designers and the differences in their methods, approaches, purposes and intentions.
  • Refine and reflect upon work as it progresses by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes. Exercise skilful and safe application of these to maximise creative potential and produce quality outcomes.
  • Explore a stimulating and rich variety of resources to initiate and develop innovative ideas. Pay due regard to line, tone, colour, shape, texture and other visual elements and, where appropriate, use drawing to explore and communicate ideas.
  • Gather, select, organise and communicate information that is relevant to their personal interests as a consequence of careful research and analysis of a rich variety of resources.
  • Record ideas, first-hand observations, insights and judgments by any suitable means, especially drawing, including for example, line, colour, tonal and textural studies, photographs and annotation in sketchbooks, study sheets and/or on tablets or other means, to support personal intentions.

Further information can be found at:

Year 10  

Mechanical vs Organic

Students will create a personal project base around the theme above. Students will explore processes such as; printmaking, sculpture, painting, mixed media and experimental drawing. Along with this students will discover artists to develop their curiosity skills as well as visit Yorkshire sculpture park to see different ways art can be presented.
Personal investigation – 60% Coursework

GCSE students will select a new theme to begin the independent project. Students will use skills they have learnt from their previous portfolio to develop and strengthen their exploration skills.
Personal investigation – 60% Coursework

GCSE students will continue to develop their independent projects through challenging workshops, such as digital drawing. Students will visit Walsall Art Gallery to develop their presentation and interpretation skills.  

Year 11  

Personal investigation – 60% Coursework

Students will investigate and explore their independent project further through personal inquiry to a range of different materials. Students will refine their creative making skills to learn new and exciting processes in art, resulting in a personal final outcome.
Exam Unit – 40% Coursework

Students will be set a question form the exam board. Students will recall skills from previous portfolios to complete a portfolio of work, followed by a 10 hour exam to create their final outcome.
Exam Unit – 40% Coursework

Students will be set a question form the exam board. Students will recall skills from previous portfolios to complete a portfolio of work, followed by a 10 hour exam to create their final outcome.

Key Stage 5 = Eduqas AS Level. This first year of A Level study is practical, coursework-based learning.

Eduqas A Level. The second year of the course comprises two units: practical coursework integrated with a written personal investigation, and an examined practical component (15 hour examination, plus preparation time during lessons over three months).

Curriculum Content

At KS5 students are expected to cover:

Year 12

Foundation skills  
Students will investigate and explore a variety of processes and techniques to develop and enhance their observation and practical skills. Mini briefs will be given to challenge and develop their interpretation skills. Reflection on art and how art can impact on our environment will support students’ perceptions of art in our society.  
Personal project  
Within the personal project students are given the choice of three themes;   Flesh and bone   Dysfunction and destruction   Being   Moments in time   Expression/distortion.   Throughout this, students will learn to capture their observations of their theme and independently explore and experiment with materials they have discovered through; risk, curiosity and discovery.  
Personal coursework project  
During this time period, students will continue to learn to capture their observations of their theme and independently explore and experiment with materials they have discovered through; risk, curiosity and discovery.  

Year 13

Personal coursework project  
Within the personal project students are given the choice of five themes;   Skeleton   Freedom, hope and conflict.   Culture   Figures in motion   Entrapment/escapism   Throughout this, students will learn to capture their observations of their theme and independently explore and experiment with materials they have discovered through; risk, curiosity and discovery.  
Exam Unit  
Within exam unit students are given the choice of fifteen themes set by the exam board.   Throughout this time period, students will capture their observations of their theme and independently explore and experiment with materials they have discovered through; risk, curiosity and discovery.  
Exam unit  
Students, as part of the exam unit will make and create a series of creative outcomes that represent their chosen theme in a thought-provoking manner.   This will be completed in a 15-hour time period.   students in this time will realise their intentions and ambitions through dedicated and focused time.   students during this period will have cemented a core understanding of the order, importance and benefit s of build a portfolio of work to refine an idea.

Attraction of the Subject:

  • Totally absorbing.
  • Plenty of opportunities to get hands on experience.
  • Encourages personal creativity and allows great freedom to explore ideas.
  • Teaches lateral thinking, problem solving and observational skills.
  • Helps you to communicate better and express your ideas more easily.
  • Widens your cultural horizons.
  • Opens up a variety of career opportunities.
  • Develops understanding of contemporary and historical movements in Art and Design.

Special Requirements:

  • Well organised and self motivated.
  • Good drawing, observational and creative skills.
  • Willingness to experiment with materials and have a hands on approach.
  • Determination and commitment.


Media Studies 

Media Studies is taught as an option in years 10 and 11, and post-16. Students look at the impact of the Media on society, they learn how to analyse a media text to find its obvious and hidden messages, and they learn to create Media products themselves, using industry standard hardware and software. The department is extremely well equipped, allowing students to use ICT equipment creatively.

Curriculum Content

GCSE students follow the AQA specification, which allows them to experience a range of Media forms, such as television, magazines, newspapers, radio and video games.

There are two written exams, each worth 35% of the overall grade. Questions take a variety of forms, but focus on the Media concepts of media language, representation, audiences and industries, applying these to 18 close study products.

In addition, NEA (non-exam assessment) makes up 30% of the overall grade. Students are given a brief set by the exam board in September of year 11. They have to write a 300-word Statement of Intent in response to this brief, and then create a media product.

Further information can be found at:

Post-16 students can opt to take A level Media Studies following the AQA specification. This course is very similar in structure to the GCSE course with two exams at the end of the two-year course worth 35% each, and NEA work which is worth 30% of the overall grade. For the NEA work, students are required to create two media products which show digital convergence, in response to a brief set by AQA. For the examinations, students will answer a series of questions about the media, using their 18 close study products as case studies.

For both qualifications, students must study the following media forms:

  • Magazines
  • Films
  • Newspapers
  • Radio
  • Video games
  • Online, social and participatory media
  • Music videos
  • Television
  • Advertising and marketing

Moving Image

The Moving Image course leads to an A level in Art & Design (Photography) that focuses entirely on film-making. This is coursework based, following the same structure as the Art A level course, and develops a student’s skills in and understanding of film-making practices. Students make a series of short films as they learn filming and editing techniques, culminating in a narrative film or animation for which they have sole responsibility. Alongside this practical work, students are taught to analyse existing films, looking to uncover the director’s intentions.

Curriculum Content

In key stage 5 students study a wide range of content including:

Basic skills, drawing on film, photograms, flip books, creating GIFs, aperture, lighting, macro, still life, mise-en-scene, documentary, architecture, landscape, green screen, layering, photomontage, text, research skills, scanography, camera obscura, experimental film making, toning, solarizing and pinhole cameras.

For further information go to:


Photography is a well-resourced area of GCSE and post-16 study, with students working both in a traditional darkroom and using digital technology, building a portfolio towards their qualification. Students learn to use their phone cameras, a DSLR camera, and computer editing software  as tools to create aesthetic and thought-provoking work. The results, both in terms of images and exam rates, are very good. Photography students follow the AQA specification which is 60% coursework project and 40% exam project.


Curriculum Content

·         Composition
·         Framing
·         Rule of thirds
·         Lighting
·         Landscape/ cityscape
·         Abstract
·         Portrait
·         Shutter speed
·         Mixed media

Editing techniques in: 
·         Lightroom
·         Photoshop
·         Film stills
·         Lighting
·         Documentary
·         Layering
·         Structure of a GCSE project
·         Independent project
·         Independent project
·         Creating a final piece for exhibition 
·         Refraction
·         Reflection
·         Backgrounds

Begin GCSE Project:
·         Playing with colour
·         Journey
·         AGED: Broken, mended, rearranged
11GCSE individual Coursework project 
·         AO1 Research
·         AO2 Experiment
·         AO3 Review and refine
·         AO4 Plan and Create
GCSE Individual Exam Project
·         AO1 Research
·         AO2 Experiment
·         AO3 Review and refine
·         AO4 Plan and Create
12Introduction to photography 
·         Photograms
·         Using film and the darkroom
·         Shutter speeds
·         Aperture
·         Studio Lighting 

AS Identity Project: 
·         Macro
·         Still life
·         Portraiture
·         Architecture
·         Landscape 

Moving Image course will cover 
the above and….
Drawing onto film
Flip books
Animated Gif
Mise-en-scene and cutaways
Lighting for effect
AS Identity projectcontinued
·         Photomontage
·         Text
Personal issue development
·         AO1 Research
·         AO2 Experiment
·         AO3 Review and refine
·         AO4 Plan and Create

Moving Image will also do: 
Greenscreen and layering
Transition work for A level 
·         Scanography
·         Photomontage
·         Documentary
·         Camera Obscura and Pinhole photography
·         Chemigrams
·         Toning/ Solarising

Moving Image will do: 
Ideas generation from a visual stimulus.
13A level individual project 
·         AO1 Research
·         AO2 Experiment
·         AO3 Review and refine
·         AO4 Plan and Create
A level individual exam project 
·         AO1 Research
·         AO2 Experiment
·         AO3 Review and refine
·         AO4 Plan and Create

For further information go to:


The work of our Visual Arts students, in all disciplines, is showcased at ‘SENSED’ the Visual Arts and Technology Exhibition in July every year. The permanent Gallery situated within Art holds displays throughout the year, and is complemented by an online gallery.


  • Ms Steff Hutchinson – Assistant Headteacher, Leader of Photography and Moving Image
  • Ms Alison McDougall – Faculty Leader of Visual Arts, Leader of Media Studies
  • Mr James Owen – Leader of Art
  • Ms Amy Petty – Teacher of Art
  • Ms Ellie Brooks – Teacher of Art
  • Mr Jamie Wilman – Art Technician and Student Support Mentor