The art department at ContinU Plus Academy is a relaxing and calm one where all pupils study the subject in KS3 for one lesson per week, and two lessons a week if chosen at KS4. Art lessons at CPA aim to enrich the lives of pupils through awakening interest in their immediate environment and culture. Pupils are encouraged to make a personal response to their own experiences and central to this is the development of observational skills and an ability to record and interpret what is seen, conveying this information in the expression of personal ideas, thoughts and feelings, in visual terms. Practical involvement within art encourages pupils to develop skills in using materials and may involve working in two or three-dimensional activities which communicate ideas and information. Pupils will be involved in collecting information for themselves and are given the opportunity to express their own judgments, ideas and opinions. Pupils will also develop the skills to evaluate their own work, and that of artists and craftspeople at first hand by visiting galleries and museums.
In art at KS3, pupils follow a skills based curriculum centred on a theme for each half term with a range of design work, research, refining of ideas and a final product in either two or three-dimensional activities.
At GCSE pupils study the AQA art syllabus and will complete two units of work. Unit 1 is worth a total of 60% of the overall GCSE grade. Pupils will also complete a portfolio of work through controlled assessment. Pupils will produce a final response to a starting point through 10 hours of sustained study at the end of Year 11 which is worth the other 40% of the overall mark. Through studying GCSE art pupils are assessed on their ability to:
- Develop their ideas through investigations informed by contextual and other sources demonstrating analytical and cultural understanding
- Refine their ideas through experimenting and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes
- Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to their intentions in visual and/or other forms
- Present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and where appropriate, making connections between visual, written, oral or other elements.
Many pupils at CPA have had periods of absence from education or unsettled learning experiences, therefore the role in which art plays can have a positive impact upon their self esteem and development both in and out of school. Pupils at the CPA have weak basic literacy and numeracy skills with 85% of them have reading ages significantly below that of their chronological ones. Pupils have the opportunity for therapeutic art sessions where they are able to use art as a means for self-expression. Marking is used frequently during lessons, with targets set and students taking ownership with self and peer assessments taking place, alongside verbal feedback to enhance and boost artistic skills. Praise and rewards are seen in lessons through the whole school RAISE system.
On entry to CPA our pupils have a range of experiences when it comes to art. As pupils are often disengaged from art we want their experience to be a positive one, where lessons are planned to be appealing and understanding of their artistic preferences. Lessons are planned to satisfy for all needs and enable pupils to have achievement through a varied outcome. Pupils are often keen and proud to display and appreciate their successes through completed projects and pieces of work.
Art has many benefits to pupils, allowing them to express themselves through individual and personalized projects. Art allows pupils to practice and master challenging techniques to create work of intense beauty, which can produce work of a powerful emotional response. Art encourages pupils to recognize and appreciate true beauty, communicate thoughts and feeling to others, and teach them to think through the use of alternative media. Most importantly art can enable self-expression through the form of visual media.