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Art and Design at The White House School

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." 
Edgar Degas



Art is an important form of communication, which is not bounded by written or spoken language. As such, this subject allows children to express themselves and share their views of the world independently and freely.  It enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of colour, texture, form, pattern and different materials and processes. Children become involved in shaping their environments through art and design activities. They learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions. They explore ideas and meanings through the work of artists and designers. Through learning about the roles and functions of art, they can explore the impact it has had on contemporary life and that of different times and cultures. The appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts enriches all our lives. Art therefore holds a vital part in the development of any child’s education and forms an important part of the curriculum.


The aims of art and design are:

  • To enable children to record from first-hand experience and from imagination, and to select their own ideas to use in their work 
  • To develop creativity and imagination through a range of complex activities.
  • To improve the children’s ability to control materials, tools and techniques.
  • To increase their critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art and design in different times and cultures.
  • To develop increasing confidence in the use of visual and tactile elements and materials.
  • To foster an enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and a knowledge of artists, craftspeople and designers.


The school uses a variety of teaching and learning styles in art and design lessons, through a mixture of whole-class teaching and individual or group activities. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in art and design ensuring that the children develop skills for exploring, developing their own ideas, evaluating and improving their creative work. Teachers draw attention to good examples of individual performance as models for the other children. They encourage children to evaluate their own ideas and methods, and the work of others, and say what they think and feel about them. We give children the opportunity within lessons to work on their own and collaborate with others, on projects in two and three dimensions and on different scales. Children also have the opportunity to use a wide range of materials and resources, including ICT.

We recognise the fact that we have children of differing ability in all our classes, and so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
We achieve this through a range of strategies:


·          Setting common tasks that are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;

·          Setting tasks of increasing difficulty where not all children complete all tasks;

·          Grouping children by ability and setting different tasks for each group;

·          Providing a range of challenges with different resources;

·          Using additional adults to support the work of individual children or small groups.


We teach art and design to all children, whatever their ability. Art and design sessions form part of our aim to provide a broad and balanced education for all our children. Our teachers provide learning opportunities that are matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties. Work in art and design takes into account the targets set for individual children in their Individual Education Plans. 

We plan the activities in art and design so that they build upon the prior learning of the children. While we give children of all abilities opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding, we also build planned progression into the scheme of work, so that there is an increasing challenge for the children as they move up through the school. Whenever possible the art work undertaken is linked to themes in other curriculum areas.


Art and Design encourages children to ask and answer questions about the starting points for their work. They have the opportunity to compare ideas, methods and approaches in their own work and that of other children, and to say what they think and feel about them. They are given opportunities to meet and talk with artists and other talented adults whilst undertaking their work.  Art and Design also gives opportunities to develop the children’s understanding of shape and space through work in two and three dimensions.  They also develop an understanding of different times and cultures through their work on famous artists, designers and craftspeople.


We use ICT to support art and design teaching when appropriate. Children use software to explore shape, colour and pattern in their work. Older children collect visual information to help them develop their ideas by using digital and video cameras to record their observations. Children use the Internet to find out more about famous artists and designers.


Good display is a celebration. Often it allows children to be reminded of areas of study, or work in progress. It provides a focus for discussion and a celebration of achievements. As display covers all subject areas and a wide range of display spaces it can be presented in a wide variety of ways.  The annual Open Morning is a major arts event, combining visual, drama and gymnastic displays, where every child’s work is represented.  Externally, the children’s artwork is entered into local events and local and national competitions, where we have had a number of recent successes with work selected in painting, printmaking and design.  A number of our students have also gained Arts scholarships for secondary schools.


When working with children it is important that consideration is given to resources or materials where incorrect usage may result in an accident.


Children and staff

  • are made aware of safe working practice
  • have access to protective clothing 
  • have adequate supervision when working with potentially hazardous equipment - Tjanting tools, sewing machine, printing press
  • have well ventilated surroundings when using fixatives, plaster or hot wax.



     "You can't make an architectBut you can open the doors and windows toward the light as you see it."  

Frank Lloyd Wright