Stoke Newington School is a creative environment dedicated to supporting all the creative subjects, acknowledging their individual and collective importance in the curriculum. The School values the student’s learning in these subjects and, especially in the visual arts, acts as an agent to extend their awareness across the student and teaching body.
Within this framework, art is well-placed to engage, inspire and challenge students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment creatively. This bolsters their learning both within the subject and also extends their resilience in risk-taking and problem-solving across their studies.
In all our projects, students learn about the broader cultural background to art and artists from across time and around the world. This not only supports the inclusive ethos of the school, but provides a learning space where students include their own cultures in their work.
Each year group at Stoke Newington School experiences art through activities which engage students in practical skills-based learning whilst fostering the development of a reflective awareness of their own learning process. Drawing is important as a starting point and students are expected to develop through taught sessions and a critical dialogue with their own work. This approach is combined with focused art historical knowledge and projects which emphasise each of the core specialist areas, for example, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Students develop these practical key skills to underpin their knowledge which equip them to develop as critical thinkers and experimenters with a clear understanding of meaning and purpose.
Students develop a reflective awareness of their own learning process and learn through a range of group, individual and bespoke activities which targets creative learning as part of the process. In this way, key ideas on the development of concepts, ideas and themes are introduced from the outset.
All members of staff have high expectations of their students and are experienced at making support available at appropriate times for students. At all key stages, the approach is to give every student a fulfilling learning experience.
Art at Key Stage 3
The art department has a balanced and broad curriculum of studies that encompasses a range of projects within a thematic approach, with a development of visual language underpinning every project. The students will take on a new topic every term, that reflects a key skill in painting, printmaking and sculpture. Different drawing strategies are used as a starting point for students in every project, to engage with new topics and develop their ideas. Students are exposed to a broad range of exciting artists and craftspeople, which reflect the diversity of our community, encouraging them to make connections between their own work and that of others.
Projects engage, inspire and challenge students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent, and create their own works of art. Students are encouraged to flourish, becoming confident by learning to evaluate and present their work, to take risks in order to develop their ideas and understanding of new materials and processes in preparation for GCSE.
Art at Key Stage 4 (Art, Craft & Design: Edexcel/Pearson)
GCSE Art is strongly committed to offering an innovative approach to creative processes through projects that involve both traditional and experimental exploration of materials and concepts. We believe that there is a strong and robust future in the creative industries and so equipping our students with these tools at this stage can only be a positive step for them. Students will develop key skills in visual communication, problem solving, evaluation and critical understanding of contextual sources as well as an ability to develop and present ideas. Students will learn how artists convey ideas and will respond to the work of a range of artists using a variety of methods. They will express their own ideas which will build a strong foundation for further study at A Level. Art is an excellent option that provides a balance with core subjects.
GCSE Art is assessed through a combination of 60% coursework (two projects) and 40% exam (externally set project).
Within GCSE Art students will be encouraged to:
- Understand the purpose of visual communication
- Explore ideas & concepts behind the work of artists, specialising in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramic, and digital photography and editing techniques.
- Visit galleries and exhibitions, enabling students to learn from the work of others and making connections with their own work and past/contemporary practices.
- Record the creative process in sketchbooks, and present final outcomes in physical final pieces.
Art at Key Stage 5
Art at KS5 is in many ways similar to that of GCSE, with students producing a personal portfolio that represents 60% of their final grade and taking an exam that is 40% of their final grade. Over the two-year linear course, students develop their ability to appreciate the visual world and to respond in a personal and creative way. It will encourage them to:
- Question all preconceived notions of art and personal ability.
- Encourage them to trust their creative instincts.
- Help them to express their ideas and feelings through the controlled use of a broad range of materials and techniques.
- Help them to investigate and relate to all the evolutionary processes that are inherent in the development of Art, Craft and Design.
- Encourage them to articulate issues relating to the work of other artists from a variety of cultures, past and present.
Component 1: Personal Investigation (60% of the total qualification) - This component allows students opportunities to generate and develop ideas, research primary and contextual sources, record practical and written observations, experiment with media and processes, and refine ideas towards producing personal resolved outcome(s). There are three major elements: Supporting Studies, Practical Work, and a Personal Study.
Supporting studies and practical work will comprise a portfolio of development work and outcomes based on themes and ideas developed from both given and personal starting points. We deliver structured workshops at the start of the course to build skills and confidence in the formal elements of drawing, painting, print making, digital media and sculpture. The strength of our course is linking to professional practice and the wide range of independence and creative skills that students demonstrate. We also expect students to attend exhibitions in their own time and offer the opportunity of a trip to New York during the 2 year linear course. The Personal Study will be evidenced through critical written communication showing contextual research and understanding in a minimum 1000 words of continuous prose, which may contain integrated images.
Component 2: Externally Set Assignment (40% of the total qualification) - This represents the culmination of the A level course. This component incorporates two major elements: Preparatory studies and the 15-hour period of sustained focus. The assignment will be externally set and consist of one broad-based theme and suggested starting points. Students submit supporting studies and practical outcome(s) in response to the given theme. Supporting studies will consist of annotation, research and compiled contextual references, practical exploration of materials and techniques, recording from primary sources and developmental stages of practical work leading to refined practical outcomes.
- There are a variety of creative opportunities for students at KS3, including Creative Day, gallery trips, and Art club.
- In Art at KS4 and KS5 there are a number of trips and visits which contribute to the learning of students including trips to the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and local galleries.
- We work closely with the Barbican, and students have the opportunity to attend workshops both on site and in school develop a project which is realised with a printed publication distributed by The Barbican. This allows students to learn from the work of others and make connections with their own work and past/contemporary practices as well as see their own work in print. We also work closely with The Royal Academy, the Slade School of Fine Art and The Princes Drawing School.
- As well as taking students out, we bring the arts in and we have been privileged to host visiting artists in the department, including Grayson Perry.
- At A Level, every student in Art is encouraged to make independent visits to galleries and exhibitions specific to their current projects. Portfolio preparation classes are offered and we have talks from various arts institutions with a view to preparing students for transition into further education.
- A Level Art students will have an insight into curation when organising our annual Summer Showcase, celebrating creativity across the school.
- Biennial trips to New York are organised for KS5 Art students where they are able to experience the rich cultural landscape, including MoMa, The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney and the galleries of Chelsea.
Career and future pathways
Art provides the opening for further study in the subject. Students can continue onto A Level and then onto a number of degree courses such as Fine Art, Animation, Graphics, Film & Media, Architecture, Sculpture and Advertising.
Several of our students have progressed to prestigious competitive institutions like The Bartlett School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art, Central St Martins, Falmouth School of Art, The Slade School of Art, Ravensbourne, Kingston, London College of Communication, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Camberwell College of Arts and Chelsea College of Arts.