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Head of Department: Mrs S Higham
Telephone: 01344 423041
Email: shigham@brakenhale.co.uk

The Art and Photography department is strongly committed to creating an interesting, fun and challenging curriculum grounded in creativity, art history and with strong links to the wider world. We offer an innovative approach to making work that involves both traditional and experimental exploration of materials and concepts. Each student is encouraged to fulfil their potential, building key skills such as creativity, I.T. knowledge, communication, cultural awareness and problem solving; skills useful for a wide range of pathways. It is an excellent option that provides balance with your core subjects as well as linking to many career opportunities in broadcasting and media, advertising and publishing, theatre and costume, film and special effects, graphics and many more.

Art lessons throughout Key Stage 3 will be challenging and fun. The year is divided into a range of topics and art techniques, with students focusing on one area per term. Subject matter will include drawing skills, printing techniques, graffiti, etc. with each topic linked to relevant artists, both historical and contemporary.

Each art lesson has a clear structure and as part of the introduction students are made aware of the aim and focus of that particular lesson before they begin the practical task. The lesson will then conclude with a summary, often with work presented to the rest of the class. A student may be asked to discuss the work presented, to enable him/her to gain new ideas and confidence when talking publicly.

Students are encouraged to draw on the influences of the work of others, through research and the emulation of artistic techniques. Students learn how to use their sketchbook for research and development, as well as being taught a range of practical skills, working in a wide range of media through experimental work. Each project concludes with a final piece demonstrating the knowledge and skill acquired that term.

The Art GCSE course consists of 60% coursework and 40% externally set exam. Throughout the two years of study students complete a range of coursework projects including a mock exam. During Year 10 the course begins with a series of workshop based lessons which provide a starting point for the first coursework project. Students are guided through the process of compiling a coursework project to ensure all assessment objectives are met. Students are given themes and questions to respond to, this year’s subjects have included Natural Forms and Cultures. Each theme begins by researching artists, designers and crafts people. Students then explore a wide range of skills and techniques through observational work before beginning to refine and develop their ideas into a final individual outcome. The Externally-Set Assignment (ESA) is given to students after the New Year and they will then be expected to work on their response until the exam dates. Students are encouraged to be more independent in their learning and are given more freedom in the development of their work than at key stage 3. Students will have 2 hours per week in lessons which will require supplementary work of approximately 3 hours per week in their own time to finish and develop work outside of lessons. There is a range of after school support in place to enable them to access the facilities.

The Photography GCSE course consists of 60% coursework and 40% externally set exam. Throughout the two years of study students complete a range of digital coursework projects, developing their skills with the camera and editing in Photoshop.  During Year 10, students undertake a variety of photographic exercises, developing their ability to respond to a theme and produce work in response.  This provides a solid foundation of creative and technical expertise to then move onto a final Coursework project which carries students over Year 10 into Year 11.  The Externally-Set Assignment (ESA) is given to students after the New Year and they will then be expected to work on their response until the exam dates.

Students are encouraged to be more independent in their learning and are given more freedom in the development of their work than at Key Stage 3. Students are expected to finish and develop work outside of lesson time and it is expected that they will have access to a camera at home in order to do this. There is a range of after school support in place so that students can access the facilities (cameras and photographic studio) if required.

Both Art and Photography provide students with key skills such as creativity, I.T. knowledge, communication, cultural awareness and problem solving. These are skills useful for a wide range of employment or sixth form pathways. It is excellent option that provides balance with the core subjects.

The Sixth Form course continues to build on skills and techniques pushing students to refine their own practice as well as considering context and the wider art community. Students are given much more control over their study and encouraged to pursue their individual strengths and interests.

The AS grade is based on 60% coursework (known as the Portfolio Unit) and 40% Externally Set Assignment.  The AS course introduces students to working at a higher level in Art and/or Photography and covers a range of technique building, contextual research and developing ideas towards a final outcome.  Students are required to complete an individual project as part of the Portfolio unit.  The ESA paper is given out at the beginning of February and students have until their exam, to prepare a response to their chosen question.

The A2 grade is 60% Personal Investigation project and 40% Externally Set Assignment. The A2 course consists of a Personal Investigation study chosen by the students, which includes a piece of continuous prose and an Externally Set Assignment.  Students are challenged to lead their education, learning from each other through group critiques as well as the teacher. Students are given one to one support in and outside of lesson time and are encouraged to use the department in their free time. Many of our students continue to further education and are supported in developing a portfolio and preparing for interview. We aim to create confident and independent learners with a passion for art.

Students learn through a variety of different teaching styles and methods. Independent work and outcomes are usually adopted but there are opportunities for small group and whole class projects, where students can collaborate with others, on projects in two and three dimensions and on different scales.

The department endeavours to incorporate external influences, through working with professional artists and designers and within the local community. Visits to museums and galleries are encouraged at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. The aim is to broaden the students’ knowledge and understanding of a variety of genres, styles and traditions, and from a range of historical, social and cultural contexts.

There are lots of different materials for students to experiment with in both 2D and 3D. These include wire, clay, paint, pastels, charcoal, papier-mâché, chalks, card, mod Roc, formal objects and materials, laminated surfaces, and tissue. For Post-16 students there is a private study area available with access to the Art library.

Special trips include visits to local galleries and exhibitions, and London galleries.

Art Club runs after school each week on a Thursday and is open to all students.

At KS4 and KS5 students are encouraged to drop in during breaks and to stay after school to make use of the school facilities and to develop their work further.

Art in Action