Art and Design

Our school curriculum is driven and shaped by our school vision, which informs everything that we do.

St Nicholas provides a welcoming, inclusive and aspirational learning environment at the heart of its community. We nurture, encourage and support all children, adults and their families to be the best as God intended. Following God’s example of love and trust, we develop resilience and creativity in all we do.

Learning, loving and encouraging through Christ.

An uncompromising focus on pupils’ personal development has made St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy a place where pupils always come first. Ofsted 2019

Art and design is highly valued at St Nicholas and is taught every week. We are lucky enough to have an art studio for those times when children are completing long-term projects that need space and time to dry so clearing up is not a problem!

 “Art is not just a subject to learn, but an activity that you can practise with your hands, your eyes, your whole personality.” 

 Quentin Blake, Children’s Laureate


At St Nicholas we work together to ensure to provide an Art Curriculum which allows and encourages the children to explore their imaginations, generate ideas, acquire skills, apply judgements and rejoice in their learning. Through our value of perseverance, we show that making mistakes is how we learn. Within the school we create a safe space for our children to explore, experiment and take risks without the fear of getting it wrong which is the basic essence of what art is and can offer to our children. We recognise that everyone is unique and therefore encourage the children to express, explore and celebrate ideas, feelings, attitudes while using the school values.

As children progress they will become confident in their abilities and develop as critical, creative thinkers by enriching, extending and consolidating their learning in a variety of contexts using a range of different media.

We aim to foster their originality and creativity using art as a means of communication. During this the children will learn to self-reflect, communicate their opinions of others work positively and make informed choices about media and what they want to use to best express their thoughts and ideas.

We take inspiration from our class artist, learning more about them and their style, which we then apply to our own work. We plan and teach sequenced art lessons based on skills, using a range of media and give the children opportunities to apply the skills learned in other areas of the curriculum, making the lessons relevant and meaningful.

Alongside this by the end of their time at St Nicholas, they should have an idea on how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.


Curriculum structure

At St Nicholas we teach Art, Craft and Design through a skill-based curriculum and where possible learning is linked to other subjects. The skills are developed and built upon each year so that progression can be seen clearly across the school. All children are exposed to a range of media each year, giving them the opportunity to explore, develop and embed their skills and understanding of that media.

Art and Design will be taught once every other half term and where appropriate may be blocked dependant on the needs of the project being worked on.

Within the learning journey of art, each lesson will be linked to an area of the year groups curriculum and an element of will be a focus for learning for the learning. This will then lead to analysing and evaluating an artist or comparing a number of artists who may use this particular skill/element. The children will then be given the chance to be taught a skill/technique and allowed time to explore and practise within their sketchbooks. Within this a variety of media will be given to experiment with. Children will deepen their understanding of each element as they progress through the school. They will be taught the meaning of key ideas and associated vocabulary. They will also be taught vocabulary appropriately to express their thoughts and feelings on both their own and others work to help develop, review and improve output.

Starting from Reception we provide opportunities for children to:

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in the designed world through investigating, talking and asking questions about familiar objects.
  • Develop confidence and enthusiasm through frequent exploration of media to create and develop objects.
  • Construct with a purpose in mind, using a variety of resources, exploring colour, manipulating materials to achieve a planned effect.
  • Extend their vocabulary through talking and explaining about their designing and creating activities.

Pupils will be taught

  • To use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.
  • To use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experience and imagination.
  • To develop a wide a range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.
  • About the range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines and making links to their own work.
  • To develop their techniques, including their control and use of materials with creativity, experimentation and an increased awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.
  • To create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas
  • To improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials (for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay)
  • About great artists, architects and designers in history


Art learning is recorded in sketchbooks across the school and should typically evidence all four stages (Generating Ideas, Making, Knowledge and Evaluation). We encourage children to treat their sketchbooks like journals and their thoughts and learning are recorded in a format that they would like to use, for example, using thought bubbles. Each child is unique and each sketchbook should be unique, enabling children to develop their independence and creativity. Sketchbook do not need to be perfect and should be a place where they feel comfortable to make mistakes and show their development, the good and the bad. In Art, there is no right or wrong it is just a matter of interpretation. It is when we take risks that our learning can truly flow and children become artists. The children are encouraged to reflect on their work and create annotations of theirs and other works.

Assessment and monitoring

Teachers assess children’s knowledge, understanding and skills in Art by making observations of the children working during lessons. Feedback given to children by their peers or teachers is in the form of post-it notes over the learning so that their art is not marked in the process. Children are also encouraged to be critical of their own work, highlighting their own next steps.

Art assessment should never be a judgement passed from teacher to pupil, it should be positive guidance for improvement. Art assessment should promote and improve learning by providing children with an awareness of their personal development over time (the big picture) and how they have performed in a particular task. Creativity is a very anxious process that for most people is riddled with self-doubt. Assessment should not crush creativity but promote it, to inspire people to want to keep making art and understand that we are all trying to improve, that even so-called experts are rarely satisfied. Through good assessment we learn not to judge ourselves, but to enjoy the process, to relish the journey of creation.’ * Paul Carney, Access Art.


School policy applies to art.

Lessons and activities are planned to include all children by using a range of approaches. This includes: questioning, use of equipment, and mixed ability grouping to enable children to offer peer support. Lessons are planned to facilitate the best possible outcome for all children within the class.


Achieved by modifying task, language and stimulus or providing extension activities and individual support.

Role of subject leader

The subject leader will:

  • Inspire learning through bringing art and design alive for our children;
  • Monitor and evaluate the learning and teaching of art and design within the school;
  • Devise an action plan to show future developments and review progress;
  • Provide specialist support and guidance to colleagues on teaching projects and planning;
  • Purchase and organise resources and maintain equipment to make them easily accessible for colleagues;
  • Attend courses and cluster meetings for CPD and report back to staff;
  • Explore ways to raise the profile of art and design within school and make links outside artists;
  • Encourage parents to be involved in their children’s learning in art and design.


At the end of each year the children will have been exposed to a wide variety of different media, giving them the opportunity to use it in a different way or for a different purpose and develop a range of skills. This will build upon their prior knowledge of what they can do when using this media. Our lessons are accessible for all of our pupils and they are proud of what they have achieved. They will be able to look back at their earliest work in their sketch books and see the progress they have made. As we move up through the school the children will begin to develop their own preferences of media and styles as they will have been exposed to them frequently throughout their time in school.

The Art and Design curriculum will contribute to the children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection. This would be seen in them being able to talk confidently about their work, and sharing their work with others.

Progress in Art and Design is demonstrated through regularly reviewing and evaluation of their work. Teachers will continuously monitor pupils work over time as they gain skills and knowledge. They will also question the process and thinking behind their ideas. Outcomes will be key but the use of sketchbooks showing the journey leading to them is more important.

Our approach of being open and accepting of mistakes will not only help to develop our children’s creativity within Art but will extend to other areas of their lives. There are many key life skills that will be developed through our attitude and teaching of Art which will support our children as they move on after St Nicholas, such as respecting others and their work even if we don’t like it personally, or carrying on after something goes wrong or when things do not turn out how we planned. This resilience is a key skill which our children will need throughout their lives.