Art and Design

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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

Art is an integral way of understanding and responding to the world around us. With this in mind, the function of Art and Design at St Columba’s is to allow students to think freely about their cultural interests and feelings. By utilising both traditional and modern image-making tools, students are able to present and fully realise, in visual form, their creative intentions.

Students emulate techniques, research artists and explore genres of Art and Design to inform their own art practice. They begin to understand Art and Design by engaging in subject matter, which widens their understanding of artistic tradition, culture and personal identity. It is this sentiment that the Department promotes, in order that students have a playful, but rigorous experience in Art and Design.

Students are taught to have high expectations of their work, to think independently and share good practice with their peers. Students are encouraged to discover new techniques and take risks to develop personal, imaginative and skilled artwork. The Department offers a range of exciting projects that aim to inspire and foster creativity. Art and Design teachers work around students’ ideas and respond appropriately to all levels of ability and enquiry.

At Key Stage 3, students study a variety of exciting projects, which are designed to improve visual literacy and develop an understanding of the formal elements of Art and Design. Projects range from technical design to ceramic sculpture.

At GCSE, students follow the Edexcel specification, which builds on the skills established at Key Stage 3 and encourages them to develop themes of personal interest. Students undertake sustained and rigorous study in printmaking, painting and sculpture. 

At A level, students embark on a personal programme of study, following the Edexcel specification. Students make art independently and are supported by tutorials, which assist in the development of their individual portfolios.

Students are taken to the Tate Modern in Form 3 to experience art first-hand and foster creativity. The Royal Academy and Saatchi Galleries are also visited during the course of the year and are well attended by GCSE and A level students. Each year, selected Form 5 students and all A level students visit the Institute of Education for the Creative Process. This is an opportunity for students to gain valuable insights into further education.

Art Club is available during the week. Students are encouraged to use the 'open studios' after school to develop their art and design practice. Life drawing is also run within the Department for A level students to hone their observational drawing skills in the Michaelmas Term. This effectively complements the students' A level personal portfolios.