Art & Design

Aims and purposes:

Art and design offers opportunities to:

  • stimulate and develop students’ creativity and imagination by providing visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a unique way of understanding and responding to the world;

  • develop students’ understanding of colour, form, texture, pattern and their ability to use materials and processes to communicate ideas, feelings and meanings;

  • explore with students ideas and meanings in the work of artists, craftspeople and designers, and help them learn about their diverse roles and about the functions of art, craft and design in their own lives, in the contemporary world, and in different times and cultures;

  • help students to learn how to make thoughtful judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions and become actively involved in shaping environments;

  • develop practical, technical and critical skills and use visual and tactile language to communicate their ideas, feelings and meanings.


Art and design is about developing students’ creativity and imagination through providing art, craft and design activities that relate to students’ own identity and experiences, the natural and made objects and materials with which they are familiar and the locality in which they live. Students develop creativity and imagination by building on their knowledge, skills and understanding of materials and processes through engaging in increasingly complex activities. Students experiences help them to develop their understanding of the diverse roles and functions of art and design in the locality and in the wider world.


  • explore the visual, tactile and sensory qualities of materials and processes and begin to understand and use colour, shape and space, and pattern and texture to represent their own ideas and feelings; explore how these can be matched to ideas, purposes and audiences;

  • focus on the work of artists, craftspeople and designers by asking and answering questions like: 'What is it like?' 'What is it made from?' 'How is it made?' 'What do I think and feel about it?'

improve their control of materials, tools and techniques and become more confident in using visual and tactile elements, materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think;

  • increase their critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art in different times and cultures by commenting on works and asking questions like: 'What is this work about?' 'Why was it made - for what purpose?' 'What visual and tactile elements are used?' 'How are they combined and organised?' 'What materials and processes were used to make it?' 'How are these matched to the purpose of the work?' 'When and where was it made?' 'What do I think and feel about it?

  • explore codes and conventions and how these can be used to represent ideas, beliefs and values in works of art, craft and design;

  • explore continuity and change in the purposes and audiences of artists, craftspeople and designers

Language and communication:

Students develop language skills by:

  • exploring ideas about the starting points for their work;

  • asking and answering questions about source materials and how these help them to develop their ideas, including recording ideas and annotating work in their sketchbooks;

  • finding out about art, craft and design by extracting information from sources such as reference books and the internet;

  • discussing and comparing their own and others' work and explaining their own views.

Values and attitudes:

Students have opportunities in art and design to:

  • consider their own attitudes and values in relation to images and artefacts and learn to challenge assumptions, stereotypes and prejudice in visual and other forms;

  • develop respect for their own and others' work and learn how to offer and receive constructive feedback and praise;

  • work with others, listening to and respecting each other's ideas and learning to value different strengths and interests within the group;

  • develop a respect for the materials and resources that they use in their work and learn to evaluate critically their own and others' use of these;

  • value the natural and made environment, including the distinctiveness of their locality, and learn to evaluate critically the role and function of art and design within it.

Health and safety:

Teaching risk concepts to students will help them make their own decisions about risk so that they can:

  • recognise the existence of hazards, risks and uncertainty in a range of contexts;

  • assess their own ability, and the ability of others, to deal with different situations;

  • assess the consequences when dealing with hazards presented to themselves and others;

  • seek advice from appropriate sources to minimise and manage risk;

  • understand that rules and regulations follow from risk assessment and help define individual and collective responsibility.

Building on students’ earlier experiences

Earlier experiences are likely to have included:

  • exploring colour, texture, shape, form and space in natural and made objects, including resources from different cultures, and in their environment;

  • being stimulated to think about and respond to what they see, touch and feel, in different ways;

  • using their imagination and expressing their ideas, thoughts and feelings through the use of a widening range of materials and suitable tools for designing and making;

  • being imaginative and creative and making connections between one area of learning and another.

Features of progression:

Planning to help children get better at art and design involves:

  • extending the breadth of content by providing opportunities for students to:

  • respond to personal, social and environmental issues

  • participate in an increasing range of practical experiences of art, craft and design;

  • engage with art, craft and design in a variety of genres, styles and traditions.

  • increasing students’ depth of knowledge and understanding of:

  • visual and tactile elements of line, shape, pattern, texture, colour, tone, form and space;

  • the materials and processes used by artists, craftspeople and designers;

  • the role and function of art, craft and design in different times and cultures.

  • improving the quality of students’ response and outcomes through the development of:

  • practical and technical skills;

  • the ability to reflect on, adapt and improve their work and make independent choices and decisions about its purpose and meaning;

  • the ability to critically evaluate the work of artists, craftspeople and designers and to apply their learning in the context of their own ideas, methods and approaches.