Art & Design
Why study Art?
This is a world with an increasing number of problems to solve. Every type of employer is seeking to recruit people with the ability to think creatively, from banks to building companies, from science laboratories to hospital administration departments. There is no subject that helps a student develop his or her creative thinking skills more than Art. This is a subject that is by its nature creative, one demanding innovative thinking but also an ability to appreciate great objects such as paintings, architectural wonders and everyday beauty.
From Art, emanates all aspects of design including architecture. Art also encompasses so many aspects of creativity such as film and photography, fashion and textiles, sculpture, printmaking, art history and all aspects of painting and drawing. It is a very wide creative force in the UK with the creative industries employing over 2 million people.
This is a visual world dominated by moving and still images, logos and signs. To be fully engaged with it, one needs to have a keen sense of what is and is not important, to be able to critically evaluate what one sees. A substantial degree of visual knowledge and understanding is essential in all aspects of life. In brief, we all need to be visually literate.
KS3: A Foundation Course in Art
The Art curriculum follows a Fine Art direction including units focussing on natural forms, landscape, wildlife, still life, streets and interiors, people and faces and many other areas. Artists and art movements are studied as an integral part of the programme. Students learn from those artists’ techniques, styles and ideas, and apply some of that learning to their own work. They do not merely copy the work of other artists. By doing so, they ensure that their own work is strongly ‘informed’ by the work of great artists, yet is still their own original work. We place great emphasis on all students developing their own style and responding creatively to their own interests.
We also promote the need for literacy and help all students develop skills in using Art-specific words and terminology. All students are also taught how to be visually-literate.
At all times throughout the Key Stage, students are given every opportunity to use a wide range of materials and processes. ICT is used in areas of digital imagery and research. Photographs that are of relevant subject matter are taken by the students to support their studies.
KS4: GCSE Art and Design – Fine Art (AQA)
This course contains two components (or Units), the Coursework Portfolio and the Externally-Set Assignment (the examination). The coursework counts for 60% of the total mark with the examination counting for 40% of the total mark. The coursework portfolio should contain at least two units.
We follow a Fine Art programme and students are encouraged to use a wide range of materials and processes inclusive of painting and drawing, printmaking, photography, mixed-media work, and art history. Some students produce work in three dimensions. All work is enriched by studying the work of major artists, learning from their work and applying that learning to practical pieces whilst simultaneously developing an original style.
Units cover a wide range of themes such as landscape, still life, interiors, wildlife, faces and portraits, world art and the built environment. Each student is advised as to a strategy and learning programme that is unique to him and a record is kept of his progress. Homework augments the work done in lessons and is designed to add real value to the portfolio.
We work to a coursework deadline at the end of December of Year 11 so that the period from January to April can be used to concentrate fully on preparing work for the examination (held in May).
KS5: Art & Design – Fine Art (AQA)
We follow the AQA Specification in Art & Design (Fine Art).
The two-year programme contains four Units. Each year consists of one coursework Unit, and one externally set assignment, leading to a 5 hour examination in Year 12, and a 15 hour examination in Year 13.
The coursework and examination work each count for 50% of the total mark.
The ‘Portfolio’ in Year 12 and the ‘Personal Investigation’ in Year 13 require you to be innovative and to experiment as you learn from major artists and apply that learning to practical work. For the externally set assignments you will write at least 2,000 words analysing, describing and appreciating the work of major artists. You will also make notes about your own work and how it relates to the work of selected artists.
Themes for the Units could include landscape, portraits, still life, interiors, buildings and structures, or wildlife. Wide ranges of materials and processes are used throughout the course.
You are given a strategic learning programme that is unique to your artistic direction, interests and creative development. Group discussions and one to one discussions are held frequently and recorded.
Trips to galleries provide opportunities for you to engage with original works of art. We also expect you to learn independently, by undertaking your own trips to galleries, exhibitions and by making contact with local artists.
Your work will be exhibited locally, in London and internationally, in both Brussels and Addis Ababa. Previous students of art at Dover Grammar School for Boys have gone on to study art, art history or architecture at university.
Enrichment activities at DGSB
There is an exciting programme of trips for all age groups to galleries such as Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Courtauld Institute and the Turner Centre in Margate.
The department has also recently taken students to Paris and we are planning to take trips to other great cities.
One of the dynamic areas of engagement we have is exhibiting the work of our students. Recently we have shown their work in Dover, London and Addis Ababa. The department plays a key role in the international work of the school with the link we have with our partner school in Addis Ababa. We support Link Ethiopia through provision of Art schemes of work.
The Art rooms are open every lunchtime to all ages.
Over two million people in the UK are employed in the creative industries. In the world of art and design, there are many fascinating and rewarding careers such as in fine art, architecture, graphic design, fashion and textile design, jewellery and silversmithing, film and video, publishing, museum and gallery work, teaching, journalism, illustration, cartoon work, art history, photography and interior design to name just some of the many areas of employment for artists.
Art provides many vital skills that can be easily transferred to any sort of employment, skills such as the ability to ‘think outside the box’ as the Americans say, or the ability to find creative solutions to everyday problems. Creative thinking is a key skill that all employers are looking for in potential employees. If you follow an Art programme you will be identified as a creative thinker thereby giving yourself a huge step up the ladder.
Art also helps you develop skills in critical thinking and how to evaluate all manner of things in life. Your powers of appreciation and analysis will be greatly enhanced by taking an art course.