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Art & Design

Purpose of study


Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.




The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils: 

  • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences  become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques 
  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design 
  • know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Art and Design at Middleton


Throughout each year groups, children will focus on the 9 key knowledge categories which are:


Media and materials - Across the discipline of art and design, artists and artisans use a variety of media and materials, sometimes in combination, to create a piece of artwork. Some commonly used examples of these in which pupils should develop their procedural knowledge are: 
• drawing

 • painting

• collage

• sculpture

• print

• textiles

• digital media.


Techniques - Techniques in art and design involve the development and refinement of procedures in order to communicate ideas and create varying effects. These techniques, and the effects created, are likely to be dependent on the medium used.  Some techniques that may be included in this category are: 
• colour mixing

• sketching, shading and hatching

 • texture mixing

• moulding and carving

• layering and replicating to create patterns

• weaving and stitching

• editing and animating.


Effects - Artists and designers develop a range of techniques in order to create powerful visual effects, leading to significant impact for the observer. Examples of knowledge which may be included in this category are: 
• light and shadow, e.g. through shading or brush technique

• tone and texture, e.g. through hatching and cross hatching, mixing materials

• movement and perspective, e.g. applying different line thicknesses, using wire frameworks and moulds, digital animation

• pattern, e.g. through weaving, creating prints, stitching, tessellation

• tinting, e.g. applying colour theory

• reflection, e.g. sketching lightly or brush technique. 


Colour theory - Colour theory explains how humans perceive colour and how colours mix, match or clash. It helps pupils understand the messages colours communicate and the methods used to replicate colour. Aspects of colour theory of which pupils should develop knowledge and understanding include: 
• primary and secondary colours

• colour systems and the colour wheel

• adding white and black to colour to make tints and tones

• layering colours

• complementary and contrasting colours

• warm and cool colours and associations with emotion


Emotions - Emotional responses are often regarded as the keystone to experiencing art, and the creation of emotional experience has been argued as the purpose of artistic expression. Pupils should build a knowledge of how artists and designers have used differing techniques and media to convey and create emotive pieces and use this to express and stir differing emotions in their own artwork and designs. Examples of knowledge required in this category include: 
• emotional impact of using line, colour, texture and shape

• creation of abstract artworks to convey an emotional state

• artists and designers who are well known for conveying and stirring emotional responses through their work

• styles of art and design that are commonly known for conveying particular emotions

• visual language to describe emotion through pieces of art. 


Artists and Artisans - Artists and artisans, throughout history and today, make and create art as a profession or hobby. Pupils need to take inspiration from ‘classic’ and ‘modern’ artists and designers by describing their work, replicating techniques and creating original pieces influenced by their style. Examples of desired knowledge in this category may include: 
• notable artists, artisans and designers

• how they were educated and how they developed their technique and style

• how their style has influenced society and other artists

• notable styles and periods, e.g. Surrealism, Impressionism, Art Deco, Renaissance. 


 Styles and Periods - The history of art is immense, with the earliest cave paintings pre-dating writing by almost 27,000 years. Since the beginning of time, human beings have attempted to demonstrate their feelings on life, love, religion and other topics by creating art. Whether it is architecture and paintings, sculpture and drawings, their art has allowed us to see how artists viewed the world in their time. As time and technology have progressed, so has art, and it has been divided into periods based on techniques and common trends. Aspects of this category of knowledge may include: 
• development and changes in art through time – from Stone Age carving to contemporary art

• availability of materials and technological advancements

• common themes expressed through art, e.g. love, war, food, religion, home

• historical events, e.g. social and political influences

• artistic pioneers who created an art movement or are significant within a specific period or for a particular style


Visual language - Visual language is a crucial form of communication and, with increasing fluency, pupils can enrich their overall understanding of art and influence their creativity, empathy and critical thinking. To develop visual language, pupils can, for example, acquire and develop their knowledge of: 
• the language of art used to describe and analyse any work of art

• how forms of lines and marks are constructed into meaningful shapes, structures and signs

• how an image can dramatise and effectively communicate an idea or message

• how the use of a particular technique or colour, for example, can stress the most important feature within a certain piece

• how visual language has changed over time and been used to encode the world to better understand ourselves and nature.  


Process - Artists and designers work through a series of processes in order to achieve a final composition. They select and use materials and techniques skilfully and inventively, using their own knowledge, experience and expertise, alongside the influence of the work and ideas of others. Examples of knowledge in this category include: 
• developing ideas using the knowledge of the work and style of influential artists and designers

• appreciating the importance of collecting information and presenting ideas, e.g through sketching

• exploring the qualities of materials in order to adapt, refine and enhance ideas

• using increasingly fluent visual language to analyse the development of their own artwork towards a final piece

• exhibiting artwork through the consideration of final presentation for a varied audience. 


In each year group the children will have three areas of art to focus on. Throughout these 'units' their lesson will be based on one or more of the art and design knowledge categories. In addition, they will learn a wide range of vocabulary linked to the art unit they are studying. Our aim is that by the time they reach Year 6, children at Middleton will have studied a wide range of art periods, artists and styles.


Below are the units of art the children will study in each year group.


Year 1

  • Weather
  • The beauty of flowers
  • At the seaside


Year 2 

  • Landscapes
  • Portraits
  • In the jungle


Year 3

  •  The Renaissance
  •  All work and no play
  • Abstract Art


Year 4

  •  Royalty
  • Myths and Legends
  • Art Deco


Year 5 

  • Explosion of Pop Art
  • Amazed by architecture
  • Art and Fashion


Year 6

  • Surrealism
  • Expressionism
  • Capturing Conflict