At the Spinney, we believe strongly in fostering creativity and celebrating the uniqueness of every child. Therefore we want to give children as many opportunities as possible to express themselves in Art and Design and in this way to build their confidence in drawing, painting, sculpture and printing, as well as other art forms. We want children to take risks with their artwork and to be able to play with different ideas, trying out several options before selecting and refining a final piece. This is why their sketchbooks are so important in developing their skills as it is a safe place where they can try out ideas and foster their individuality and creativity. We encourage children to learn from and be inspired by the work of great artists from different cultures and understand the contribution art has made to society, both past and present. Therefore we are taking care to make sure that these artists reflect the wonderful range and diversity of cultures and backgrounds represented at the Spinney.
Drawing skills are central to all other skills in Art, which is why we have decided to use the Big Draw as a whole school opportunity for drawing once a term. This raises both the profile of Art in the school and the quality of the children’s artwork too. It creates opportunities to display excellent examples of children’s work for everyone to see. It is also an event which the children really look forward to every term. This is so important for children’s mental health and well-being.
Other than the Big Draw, we also hold a bi-annual Art week event, culminating in an Art Gallery of children’s work, which parents, children, friends and our link governor are all invited to. There is usually a theme to the event and the children are given the opportunity to focus in depth on art projects during that week, often producing high quality results.
How we Plan for and Teach Art
We plan 3 units of Art per year, 1 in each term. First, we make sure that all skills are covered from Reception to Year 6 and also that there is progression through these skills, using the document for progression by the National Society for Education in Art and Design. With this document, a curriculum map has been created for each Year group, focussing on the 4 main objectives: Generating Ideas, Making, Evaluating and Knowledge. Teachers can then use the curriculum map, together with recommendations for links to the Golden Threads and to recommended artists, in order to plan each unit themselves in more detail. They may also make links to the themed area of learning, for example to a history topic such as Romans. However, this is not essential and we are guided more by the progression of skills and knowledge than by the links to other subjects. We make use of high quality resources, such as Access Art, which provides lots of ideas for activities linked to the National Curriculum and also makes excellent use of examples and techniques from current artists. In terms of skills covered, we have been sure to cover either Drawing or Painting each year, as these are the basis for all other skills.
How we Evaluate Learning in Art
At the Spinney Primary School, we assess children into 3 groups: exceeding expectations; meeting expectations; or developing expectations. Teachers assess children at the end of each unit, according to the National Curriculum and using the NSEAD Assessment Criteria table. Using this table, they can clearly see the expectations for each Year group and within each of the 4 main areas of Generating Ideas, Making, Evaluating and Knowledge.
The children are encouraged at the end of each unit to evaluate their own and others’ work, suggesting steps for improvement. They also have opportunities to evaluate their own and others’ work when it is displayed in class, on the Big Draw wall, or in the hall during our Arts Week Gallery.