The Art Department at Whitgift is a flourishing environment where the creativity and talents of all pupils are nurtured and developed. There are five specialist Art teachers and two Art technicians. The Art facilities consist of four general art studios, a sculpture studio, a darkroom, printmaking facilities and a computer suite. The Department has access to an outstanding exhibition space to display students’ work.
The Department aims to create an environment where all can discover a visual language by which they can express their feelings and record their observations. We work to make students familiar with the basic concepts of Art & Design, and raise a critical, cultural and historical awareness. The Department aims to foster a positive, considerate attitude and empathy towards others, as well as enhance the student’s own self-belief. Students build on their progress through regular individual discussion and appropriate assessment records, in line with targets published for specific Key Stages; and are kept informed of outside initiatives in Art & Design through links with further/higher education institutions, visits to exhibitions, and local and national competitions.
The Art Department offers intense programmes of process- and skills-based projects, with students producing work in two- and three-dimensions, including Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Graphic Design and Photography. At GCSE Level, students can study Art and Graphic Design. Photography is also available in the Sixth Form, where students can follow either the IB programme or A Level.
The skills and concepts involved in teaching Art are not so extensive as to require a continuing line of new experiences throughout the whole period of schooling, and, therefore, a complete package can be presented, albeit at a continually developing level, from Years 6-9.
The vocabulary of ideas and skills are presented in a cyclical manner of reiteration from time-to-time, but with an ever-growing sophistication of understanding, and relation to fresh topics.
The Art teacher will sometimes impose certain limitations to freedom by presenting a task in such a way as to involve the pupil in a particular focus. This can achieve a more profound understanding than otherwise might occur.
Schemes of work
The Art curriculum is based on National Curriculum guidelines, and the relevant GCSE and post-16 requirements for Art are used as a core for the schemes of work followed.
All Key Stage 2-4 classes are taught by Art teachers that were allotted to one class for the whole academic year. At Key Stage 5, post-16 students will normally be taught by at least two teachers to broaden their learning experience.
The Art Department regularly submits our students’ work to national art competitions, which in the past have included the Saatchi Gallery Arts prize for schools, the Young Photographer of the Year award, run by the Rotary Club, and Doodle for Google awards.
The major displays of the GCSE and A Level students’ work usually takes place in the summer term, which is a great opportunity for the whole School, as well as friends and parents, to see their impressive work. There is also a smaller IB exhibition, usually held at the beginning of the summer term.
Extra classes run at lunchtime, and include sculpture, drawing and photography, and there are after-school classes every night for our GCSE/AS and A2 students and IB students. Life classes and Painting masterclasses are also offered to our gifted and talented students, usually in the autumn and spring terms.
The Department arranges visits to galleries each year, for their examination groups to enhance their understanding and knowledge of works and individuals being studied. Trips abroad have also been run for examination students to artistically-rich cities, such as Venice and Berlin.
Our results are outstanding, with many of our students having gone on to study Art and Art-related courses at prestigious colleges and universities, including Cambridge, Central St Martins, Chelsea, Camberwell, and London College of Communication.
Each year the Department invites professional artists to come and run practical workshops for the students. Students also attend lectures about earning a living as an artist, at venues such as the Institute in London. We have also been lucky enough to be visited by iconic artists, such as Peter Blake.