For the Fifth Form (Year 9) art course, we employ the concept of a spiral curriculum, a model in which the fundamental principles of art such as direct observation and the study of form, are developed through repeating these essential elements in new and interesting ways. The intention is to encourage and develop the process of analysis and eventual synthesis of observation, investigation, and conceptual realisation; to promote both the needs of the individual to explore and manipulate materials as a means of expression, and analysis as a means of understanding. It is hoped to give all pupils some valuable tools to facilitate their understanding, appreciation, and ability to interpret the visual world.
The GCSE course contains two components, a coursework unit (60%) and a concluding practical project that culminates in a ten-hour practical exam (40%). The first two terms of the course comprise teacher-led workshops designed to equip pupils with a secure understanding of concept, materials, process, and technique. This foundation experience sees pupils exploring drawing, printmaking, sculpture and painting through to photographic manipulation. Self-directed project work is developed from the summer term of the Lower Shell (Year 10) to the end of the course. Through ongoing tutorials, each pupil is afforded the opportunity of developing and refining their own bespoke concepts. The department opens its studio doors at the end of each year to celebrate both GCSE and A Level final outcomes.