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Art, Craft & Design

Art, Craft and Design in the South Hams Federation


At the South Hams Federation, we recognise that Art, Craft and Design is essential to a rich and balanced education that develops the whole child. It provides a distinctive means for children to look at, respond to, and express ideas about themselves and the world around them, and we value their role in the development and understanding of creativity, expression of self and their contribution to the wider civilisation around us.

In our teaching of Art, Craft and Design, we recognise the importance of learning the unique sets of skills, as well as their integral place in our history and culture. We aim to develop children’s skills through the process of generating ideas, making and evaluating art pieces whilst supporting this with a knowledge and understanding of artists, crafts people and designs, materials, tools and techniques.

We believe that this will prepare them to not only continue their study of Art, Craft and Design into Key Stage 3, but provide the foundation stones so that children may have a lifetime of participation, appreciation and enjoyment of the Arts, which are also used to gain a greater depth of understanding in other areas of our curriculum.

Which curriculum will we use?

The National Curriculum provides the structure and skill development for the Art, Craft and Design curriculum being taught throughout the school.  We are using a new curriculum developed by the charity ‘AccessArt’ which supports the high-quality teaching and learning of visual arts with a vast and established bank of resources. The curriculum prides itself on being relevant, exciting, rich and forward-thinking, whilst giving non-specialist teachers support. The curriculum has three units of work each year in the following areas: drawing and sketchbooks, surface and texture and working in three dimensions. These encompass the art disciplines of drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture and mixed-media collage. Our school has chosen projects, artists and materials from the curriculum that allow the children to develop a progressive range of skills in these areas. In Early Years, children develop their fine motor skills to hold and control tools and materials. For example – pencils, paintbrushes and scissors. They explore these through independent and adult-led activities considering shape, line, texture, pattern and colour.

What knowledge and skills will we teach?

In the South Hams Federation, we aim to provide all children with the opportunity to:

  • Develop Art, Craft and Design knowledge and conceptual understanding through the disciplines of drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture and mixed-media collage.
  • Develop a progressive range of skills and foster creativity through the process objectives - generating ideas, making and evaluating.
  • Develop an understanding of the art elements -line and mark-making, shape, form, colour, tone, texture and pattern through exploration with materials and studying the work of others.  
  • Develop children’s ability to investigate and understand the world around them through exploring Art, Craft and Design in different time periods, cultures and areas of the curriculum.
  • Gain an understanding of the different ways in which artists work in the world today and the relevance of their work in the world that we live in.  To develop visual literacy and understand the importance of Art, Craft and Design, as well as foster appreciation and enjoyment.
  • Develop children’s articulation so that they are able to communicate their experiences and ideas, and evaluate their own and others' work.


How is Art, Craft and Design planned?

Art, Craft and Design provision is allocated three units of teaching time each year. Each year follows a long-term plan using learning ‘pathways’ which have been selected from the AccessArt curriculum using the following areas: drawing and sketchbooks (Autumn), surface and texture (Spring) and working in three dimensions (Summer).

There are medium-term plans for each unit which include: skill progression and end points; artists, themes and art principles; an elicitation task; an overview of each lesson; assessment guidance and adjustment ideas for SEND pupils.

PowerPoint weekly planning is currently being developed and shared between teachers in the South Hams Federation, which directly links to the resources on the AccessArt pathway. Teachers adapt the planning in response to their class's needs, which are assessed during the elicitation task and through ongoing assessment.

How is Art, Craft and Design taught?

At South Hams Federation, children will be taught a unit of art each half-term. The unit will consist of 5 to 6 lessons which are usually taught once a week. However, there is flexibility for teachers to block lessons together to allow for exploration with materials and final pieces. This allows for greater focus on learning as the time for setting up tools and materials is reduced.

Each unit may include –

  • Learning about an artist.
  • Experimenting with materials and tools.
  • Developing a skill.
  • Exploring ideas.
  • Creating and evaluating artworks.

Sketchbooks are used throughout the process as each lesson builds on ideas from the previous. However, work on different scales and surfaces is also encouraged. Children are encouraged to take ownership of their sketchbooks by exploring their own ideas through working with materials and making annotations.

In the Early Years, Art, Craft and Design learning is particularly developed through the learning areas: ‘Physical Development’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design’. However, it is appreciated as a tool to express and gain understanding across the seven areas, particularly as a means to communicate ideas in writing composition.

What do Art, Craft and Design lessons look like?

Each lesson will begin with a retrieval task to:

  • Access the children’s prior learning within an art discipline such as the tools and materials used.
  • Describe an art piece to develop children’s understanding and vocabulary with the art elements.
  • Discuss their knowledge about an artist including their style, art movement and make comparisons.

The teacher will link this to new learning using the National curriculum objectives.

Observation and discussion are used to allow children to explore the art elements and consider the use of materials in their own and others' art pieces. Children are encouraged to make personal observations and describe their opinions. The teacher will aid children by introducing both new artists through information about their work and life and art skills. Children will use new knowledge and their own reflections to evaluate pieces. They will record evaluations in their sketchbooks using key vocabulary.

Teachers will model the use of materials and tools by explaining each step of the process clearly, and children will have the opportunity to practice the skill themselves in their sketchbooks. Children will be encouraged to apply the skills in different contexts using their own ideas. Throughout this process, the children will be encouraged to reflect and evaluate their own and others' work. This will allow them to consider the effective use of materials and develop their ideas.

The journey of the artistic process will be recorded and celebrated within the classroom through examples of work and photographs on the Art Working Wall.

How is progress ensured?

We build upon the knowledge and skill development of previous years.  The use of the elicitation tasks at the beginning of each unit as well as retrieval tasks at the beginning of each lesson ensures that prior learning is revisited and embedded to help provide the framework for the new knowledge each unit offers.

As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, they become more articulate in describing the art elements in art pieces with vocabulary of increasing complexity. They are able to explain how to use different art materials and tools for different effects and use them in their own art pieces with greater control. They build a bank of artists, craftspeople and designers that they can access for comparison and inspiration.


How is learning assessed?

Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up. Sketchbooks are assessed each lesson to allow teachers to inform the teaching of subsequent lessons.

At the end of each unit, the class takes part in a crit where all the children’s work from the unit is evaluated.

The teacher assesses:

  • Control and use of materials and tools.
  • Knowledge of the art discipline, art elements and artists.
  • The development of ideas.

How is the teaching monitored and supported?

The subject leader monitors the children’s sketchbooks, working walls, pupil voice and digital assessment to ensure that the knowledge content is covered and that the children are being given the opportunities to develop a range of skills. 

Teachers are provided with resources on AccessArt, which include CPD films and clear instructions for activities. MTPs and weekly PowerPoint planning are also provided for each unit of work.

How is the overall impact measured?

Teachers' assessment for each unit of work is uploaded onto South Hams Federation Staff Google Drive.

The teachers' termly assessment data is recorded on Target Tracker to help the subject leader identify children who are exceeding age-related expectations; those who are still working towards them and those whose progress has changed.

The subject leader provides up-to-date information and ideas about learning in Art, Craft and Design and manages the school Art resources.  

In the South Hams Federation, we believe education has the power to give people the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop themselves as self-actualized individuals who can freely participate in, and transform the world. We provide all children with a range of high-quality Art, Craft and Design experiences in order for them to explore and develop their talents. Therefore, we measure children’s confidence and enthusiasm in both talking about and creating artworks.