The Art department is a lively and productive place where our goal is to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, creating an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated. We aim to equip every student with the knowledge and ability to work independently and creatively; transferable skills which will serve them well during Key Stage 3 and beyond.
At Key Stage 3 and beyond, we aim to prepare students as fully as possible for the demands of the GCSE and A level courses we offer. The Year 7 course is designed to set a strong foundation in the following areas, which we then build on in subsequent years:
- how to communicate ideas using the formal elements of colour, line, form, tone, texture, pattern and shape;
- how to make best use of the properties and effects of a wide range of different media, materials, techniques, processes and technologies;
- how to think critically and use specialist language to evaluate their own work and that of a diverse range of artists, craftspeople and designers;
- how to use both hand and computer- based drawing techniques to record the observed world and explore ideas visually.
The GCSE and A-level courses are designed to extend these skills, as well as encouraging self-expression and creativity through a number of individual projects. Students are given the opportunity to work on their own lines of enquiry and to develop strong independent learning skills that are essential for higher education or any career. They are encouraged to visit galleries, museums and art fairs to inspire their own work and gain an insight into the processes and professional life of an artist or designer.
Key Stage 3 Art
Students study the Formal Elements of Art: Line, Tone, Shape, Form, Texture, Pattern and Colour. Special projects are set to develop skills in using these elements so that students can approach individual projects with confidence and success. The work of relevant artists is studied, enabling students to understand how certain techniques and approaches can be used to create highly personal and meaningful artwork. As students progress, they are expected to work more independently, developing their own ideas and using appropriate media.
The students develop an appreciation for the artwork of other times and cultures in order to help them celebrate their own ideas and to aid them in the creative process. Many Art lessons follow a detailed structure, covering the development of skills using different media but eventually these give way to more personal projects, allowing students to express themselves independently. Research techniques are taught and students are encouraged to reference their own choice of artists, demonstrating how their choice has made an impact on their own work.
The nature of homework varies: sometimes we may set a specific task which should take pupils about 45 minutes to complete, but on other occasions we may ask them take on a bigger project which they come back to regularly over the course of several weeks and may have to complete within the Department at lunchtimes, when we have an “Open Door” policy, enabling students to extend their learning.
Useful websites for Lower School students include:
At Loreto College, we offer two separate GCSEs: Fine Art, and Art, Craft & Design. These are different endorsements from the same Edexcel specification. Therefore students must opt for one or the other. Both courses have exactly the same structure and are designed to encourage self-expression and creativity through a number of individual projects.
Students are examined on their skill and their creativity; they will need to demonstrate an ability to develop their own response to a given theme, showing how their ideas form and grow in response to appropriate research into relevant artists and experimentation with various media and processes. The course is divided into a coursework portfolio and a final externally set assignment, weighted 60% and 40% respectively.
Homework at this level should take 2 hours per week and some students prefer to complete this at lunchtimes within the department so that they can experiment with media that would be difficult to use at home.
GCSE Art students benefit from our close links with the St Albans Museum and Gallery, whose close proximity means that we can take regular trips to see their new exhibitions of work by both nationally and internationally recognised artists throughout the course.
Useful websites for GCSE students include:
At Loreto College, we offer Fine Art at A-level. Click here to see the AQA specification.
Students at this level will be examined on their ability to work to a very high standard and to produce artwork that has been well developed and is highly personal. A level takes the subject to greater depth and focus and students are expected to show a high degree of individuality and creativity. The time spent on homework varies at this level but should not be less than five hours per week. Students may use the department during their free time to continue their practical work.
Extracurricular opportunities include an annual trip to London to see the work of a wide range of artists and designers, the possibility of entering an exhibition which showcases the artwork of students across the county, and the chance to become an Art prefect: an ambassador of the subject throughout the school, both on a day- to day basis and at various events. All of these will strengthen applications to a Foundation course in Art and Design or Art- based degree course in areas such as animation, architecture or fashion.
Advice and guidance is available to help with personal statements and the preparation of portfolios for interview. A level Art also nurtures valuable transferable skills such as resilience, independence, creativity and problem- solving which will prove beneficial in any future career path.
Useful websites for A-level students include:
We develop skills through special projects that aim to encourage students’ confidence with a wide variety of materials and processes. Individual creativity can flourish when founded on a strong skill set based on drawing and painting and as students progress through their Art studies, they are encouraged to express themselves with confidence. Students have the opportunity to experience a variety of processes including print making and ceramics.
You can see plenty example of our students’ work in the website gallery by clicking here.
Art & Design & Careers@Loreto
Want to find out more about Art & Design work skills, then check out this infographic poster, which can also be found in the canteen.