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Orchard School Bristol


Art: What’s it all about?

Our Key Stage 3 programme of study follows a broad and varied curriculum; encouraging pupils to build greater awareness of the world around them and aiming to instill a sense of enthusiasm for the visual Arts whilst also developing a broad range of practical skills and experiences. 

Recent projects in year 7 have included developing basic drawing and painting techniques, Fauvism, Portraiture and Pop Art using mixed media. In Year 8 we have used the work of artist Pablo Picasso as a starting point to explore cubism and symbolism in African masks.  In Year 9 pupils further their artistic development and are encouraged to work more independently whilst considering their options for further study in Years 10 and 11, currently on offer are GCSE Art, GCSE Art with Photography and GCSE Art Textiles.

Trip and activities we have run this past year included visiting a photographic exhibition at the MShed, and an installation exhibit at Spike Island and a trip to The Tate Gallery in London, as well as photography mini shoots in various locations around the city. Our artist in residence Anna Fedelziak has offered a range of excellent workshops this year.

IN BRIEF: Art is the expression of human creative skill, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

You can see what topics are studied across each year group below:

Year Curriculum content summary

Project 1: Identity. Students study artists who have used identity in their work. They learn about proportion and symmetry in the face. They cover basic skills in drawing and painting.
Project 2: Landscapes: Students use a variety of materials to explore the topic. They study different landscape artists and produce their own landscape in the style of an artist.


Project 1. Expressive figures. Students study different artists who have drawn the figure in expressive ways. They learn how to draw the figure in proportion and produce their own outcome inspired by the study of an artist or style.
Project 2: Culture: Students study the art and culture of another country and produce their own 3D outcome in response to it.


Detail: Students study the title 'Detail' through the specialisms of Fine Art and Textiles.
They study artists, explore a variety of materials and techniques and produce a a number of outcomes in the style of their choice.


Unit 1: Coursework worth up to 60% of marks. Students study AQA GCSE Art and Design:
Project 1, Still life: Students use a variety of 2D and 3D materials to explore the title of still life.
Project 2: To be taken from a previous exam paper. Titles of previous years have included investigations of areas such as 'Light and Dark', 'Angles' and 'Adorn and Decorate'.


Completion of Unit 1 coursework: Title taken from a previous exam paper. Completion of outcomes.
Externally Set Assignment: Worth up to 40% of overall GCSE marks. Title to be given by the exam board in January. Students will have 8 weeks to prepare and produce an outcome in controlled conditions for 10 hours over a number of days.


  • Shut Howell,  BA (Hons) Fine Art, PGATC.
  • Kirsty Pettett, First Class (BA) Hons in Textiles/Surface Design, PGCE.