Art and Design – Secondary

Key Staff

Curriculum Lead – Miss S Harrison (MA)

Kings (KS4) – Mrs S Kalifa BA 

Link (KS4) – Miss K Roberts (MA)

Millpool (KS3) – Mrs E Davies (BA) 

Firsbrook (KS4) – Miss S Harrison (MA)

Oxted Hall (KS3) - Mrs K Tilley (BA Hons)

Grove (KS3) – Mrs J Barton (BA Hons)

Key Stage 3

Course Overview

COBS’s Art and Design curriculum inspires students to be creative. Students will study a range of topics, exploring different materials and learning how to use a variety of new skills including; drawing, painting, 3D sculpture (including ceramics), printmaking, textiles, graphic design and photography.

Every half term KS3 will complete a themed project designed to allow students to make independent decisions, develop creative thinking and develop work which is meaningful to them. Pupils will reflect on the work of a wide range of artists and designers, gaining a good knowledge and understanding of the techniques and subject matter used, whilst feeling confident to form their own opinions. Assessment will be tailored to each project.

By year 9, pupils will have the chance of gaining a Bronze Arts Award Ofqual Level 1 qualification in The Arts. Lessons are planned to encourage progress across all abilities with a range of choices and variety of outcomes following the National Curriculum. All Schemes of Work are planned to deliver the majority of the seven ‘Formal Elements’ of Art and Design. These are the ‘building blocks’ of art education and consist of: line, shape, form, tone, texture, space and colour.

Understanding the full potential of a successful career in the creative arts sector, is embedded within the Art and Design curriculum delivery. Each year group will be given the opportunity to attend at least one trip linked with one of their projects in order to enhance their research opportunities and to gather responses linked to their project with a focus on direct observation.

We successfully launched our school’s Virtual Art Gallery in July 2021. Towards the end of every term, we now aim to update this whole School (KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4) Art and Design virtual exhibition. To take the virtual tour, click here:

Key Stage 4

GCSE Specification

We follow the GCSE OCR and AQA exam board specifications which involves completing one portfolio of coursework, starting in year 10, and an exam portfolio from January in Year 11. These sketchbooks will be graded 1 to 9.  The final practical exam, where you will have the choice of one of five externally set starting points e.g. ‘Confectionary’, will run over two days, in your child’s art room. Coursework and the externally set exam, has a 60/40 weighting. All your work will be marked on the following four OCR Assessment Objectives;

AO1 - DEVELOP - Recording and developing Ideas, investigation and observations of sources

AO2 - REFINE – Exploring, developing, selecting and refining ideas by experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes

AO3 - RECORD – Record idea, observations, analysing and evaluating imagery linked to intensions as work progresses

AO4 - PRESENT – Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language, 2D or 3D.

These results will be shared with students on a personal assessment sheet in their sketchbooks on which they can track their progress and respond to feedback.

This specification builds knowledge, skills and understanding for art, craft and design. It is designed to encourage learners to develop practical skill alongside creativity and imagination. Learners develop their responses to a range of visual and written stimuli.

This specification provides an opportunity for learners to take a personal interest in why art and design matters. Learners have the opportunity to gain insight into the practices of artists, organisations and creative and cultural industries. Their artwork will provide opportunities for pupils to experiment and take risks with their work, whilst developing their own personal style and focussing on their interests.

Due to the continued success of this creative curriculum area, from September 2021, we are now extending our creative arts GCSE offer, from two to four options, to include; Art, Craft and Design: Combined studies, Art and Design: Photography, Art and Design: Three Dimensional Design (3DD) and Art and Design: Textiles.

What skills do students need to develop to be successful at this course?

Students should enjoy being creative and the more ideas they have the better. They also need to be willing to try using different techniques and media which they may be unfamiliar with. Students will be taught how to improve their drawing and making skills during lessons but they may be required to come after school to practise any that they find particularly difficult or to complete work that cannot be taken home. Students need to be able to manage their time well because artwork can be time consuming and requires careful planning.

Students need to be able to research artists and designers using the internet, books, taking photographs and by going to art exhibitions and free Birmingham city galleries. Students will also have to develop an analytical writing style and be able to show that they think carefully about imagery rather than take it at face value.

Post 16 and Careers

These GCSE qualifications in Art and Design will allow students to go on and study an art-based course at Post 16 and it will also help enhance research skills, analytical skills, independent and creative thinking skills and time management skills – all of which are very useful whatever courses students go on to study.

Careers in Art and Design include; game designer, fine artist, illustrator, fashion designer, theatre design, interior architecture, architecture, furniture design, product design, photographer, teacher, graphic designer, animator and many more.

How to support you child

Please encourage your child to draw, photograph their environment and collect relevant magazine/newspaper images as their projects progress.  This will help them to improve their observational skills and choice of creative outcomes. We can send basic materials and equipment home too, should you request it. Being able to select information from the internet is also important.


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Virtual Gallery



Art and design

Virtual Art Gallery

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