Oaks Park High School

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Art and Photography

Studying art as a subject helps to develop critical thinking and the ability to interpret the world around us. At Oaks Park we encourage an enquiring mind, self-expression and creativity which can build confidence as well as a sense of individual identity. Art develops students' motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and critical thinking skills, these are important transferable skills which are relevant to students.

KS3 Art

Students are taught the skills and techniques needed to allow them to express their ideas and feelings; recording through drawing and photography is seen as an important part of the curriculum and is often the starting point students take to develop their work further. They will use a range of techniques and media, including painting, sculpture, clay and other art techniques. Students will find out about great artists from ancient times to the present day and learn to understand the history and culture behind these famous art pieces. Students respond to a range of topics which are  based on their own world and the world around them.


Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Introduction to Art 
  • Exploring making, ideas, knowledge and evaluation in art
Abstract Art 
  • What is Kinaesthesia and Abstract Expressionism? 
  • Research, analyse and respond to the work of Wasilly Kandinsky
  • Create an Abstract artwork
Critical and Contextual
  • Exploring historical art 
  • Creating a timeline of historical and contemporary art movements
Portraits project 
  • Research and analyse of Artists Ronald Jackson or Lucian Freud 
  • Drawing and recording self portraiture
  • Developing personal ideas based on Artists explored
  • Mixed media self portrait outcome
Mask Project
  • Research and analyse masks from around the world
  • Select a culture to base ideas on
  • Develop and design ideas on chosen culture
  • Create a three dimensional mask based on ideas explored and cultures researched

Year 8 

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Introduction to Street Art - Tagging project
  • Experimenting with tagging and lettering drawing techniques
  • Research into contemporary Street Artists and historical context
  • Developing personal ideas
  • Create personal tag

Canopic Jars
  • Exploring historical context of Canopic jars
  • Researching the work of contemporary ceramic artists
  • Introduction to the formal elements of ceramic art 
Canopic jars continued
  • Develop design techniques and skills, exploring slabbing, pinch pots, slip and score.
  • Develop observational drawing
  • Varnishing and painting ceramic vessels 

  • Explore the works of contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama
  • Techniques including drawing, stencilling and polyblock printing
  • Create a final Abstract print
  • Compare and research the work of Zaha Hadid and Antonio Gaudi
  • Develop design skills and techniques 
  • Explore drawing formal elements and 2 point perspective
  • Explore 3D model making techniques to create a final architectural maquette 

KS4 Art & Design

​​Examination Board: EDEXCEL

At Oaks Park High School, GCSE Art and Design is a popular choice. Students are encouraged to be creative, bringing their personal experiences, ideas and opinions to the subject.

The Art department’s KS4 programme of study develops independent working. We will equip you with appropriate skills and knowledge of the work of artists. You will be given the freedom to realise your personal intentions whilst developing an understanding of the visual arts.

​You will complete a series of coursework projects and a final examination project over three years. You will be given many opportunities to develop your skills and ideas through a variety of materials. You will be encouraged to have an adventurous and creative approach.

The exam is an externally set assignment that will have a broad title for example: Journeys, Inside/Outside, Layers or Apart and/or Together. You will follow skills workshops until you are prepared to embark on more independent ideas. The final piece is produced in 10 hours under controlled conditions over two days at the end of the preparation period.

You will:

  • Explore both contemporary and historical sources of art, craft and design first hand through visits to museums and galleries.
  • Take an individual approach to your art, craft and design making.
  • Develop the skills of selecting your best and most appropriate work for presentation which will culminate in presenting your work for the Annual Oaks Park Exhibition.

Component 1

60% personal portfolio

You will create a personal portfolio of work comprising of supporting studies and final pieces.

Component 2

40% Externally set assignment

Preparation time, plus ten hours of supervised time. Candidates respond to the chosen starting point.

​Areas of study

In Component 1 and Component 2 you are required to work in one or more area(s) of art such as those listed below:

  • Drawing
  • Photography
  • Mixed media
  • Land Art
  • Printing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture.

KS4 Art Photography

Examination Board: AQA

You are encouraged to be creative, bringing your personal experiences, ideas and opinions to the subject. You will complete a series of coursework projects and a final examination project over three years. You will be encouraged to have an adventurous and creative approach to the set themes and topics alongside developing an understanding of photography as a visual art.

What is GCSE Photography?

You will learn to develop ideas and experiment with different photographic techniques from digital photography, Photoshop, darkroom experimentation and hand edits. You will develop an e-portfolio which showcases your experiments with techniques, development of ideas and visual research linked to a theme.

Alongside improving your practical expertise, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop, refine and record your ideas.
  • Present a personal response that realises your intentions.
  • Improve your creative skills through the effective and safe use of media, materials, techniques, processes and technologies.
  • Successfully use visual language and the formal elements e.g colour, line, form, shape, tone and texture.
  • Use drawing skills for different needs and purposes.

GCSE Photography Component 1 - 60% Portolio of work:

Candidates produce a sustained project and a selection of further work that represents the course of study.

GCSE Photography Component 2 - ​40% Externally set assignment:

Preparation time, plus ten hours of supervised time. Candidates respond to chosen starting point.

Areas of study

​In Component 1 and Component 2 students are required to work in one or more area(s) of photography, such as those listed below:

  • Portraiture
  • Location photography
  • Studio photography
  • Experimental imagery
  • Installation
  • Documentary photography
  • Photo-journalism
  • Fashion photography

Knowledge and understanding

You will show how you have developed your ideas and been inspired including:

  • How sources relate to historical, contemporary, social, cultural and issues based contexts and external considerations.
  • How ideas, themes, subjects and feelings can inspire creative responses informed by different styles, genres and aesthetic considerations and/or an individual's distinctive view of the world.


Within the context of photography, you must demonstrate the ability to use photographic techniques and processes, appropriate to your personal intentions, for example:

  • Lighting, viewpoint, aperture, depth of field, shutter speed and movement.
  • The use of enlarger chemical and/ or digital processes
  • The use of media, materials, graphic media for purposes such as storyboarding, planning and constructing shoots.

KS5 Art

Examination Board: EDEXCEL

Students will be given time to develop and practise their visual skills in order to achieve their full potential. Art is taught through experience and example. Students are encouraged to explore how ideas can be developed and problems solved.

Students will be expected to demonstrate a skillful use of the formal elements and experiment with a wide variety of media and methods.

What will you learn:

  • Exploring themes.
  • Developing 2D and 3D visual language.
  • Analysis of artists work.
  • Exploration of media and methods.
  • Develop ideas and independent thought.
  • Artists, designers, craftspeople and cultures.
  • Developing a personal study from a chosen theme.
  • Developing and producing ideas that arise from your own interests.
  • Research and investigation.

Component 1 - 60% personal portfolio

You will create a personal portfolio of work comprising of supporting studies and final pieces.

Component 2 - 40% Externally set assignment

Preparation time, plus fifteen hours of supervised time. Candidates respond to the chosen starting point. In the past exam titles have been Growth and Evolution, Environment and Change and/ or Stability.

What can you do at the end of the course?

The GCE in Art and Design qualifies for UCAS points. If you complete the course successfully you could go onto study Art at degree level or a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. You could also go onto relevant employment.

Examples of Further education courses:

  • Foundation Studies in Art and Design
  • BTEC Higher National Certificate
  • BTEC Higher National Diploma

Examples of Art and Design Degree courses:

  • Computer Animation
  • Contemporary Jewellery
  • Creative Arts for Film and Theatre
  • Fashion
  • Fine Art
  • Ceramics
  • Graphic communication
  • Hand embroidery for Fashion, Interiors and Textile Art
  • Illustration
  • Interior Architecture and Design
  • Journalism and Creative writing
  • Metalwork and Jewellery
  • Photography
  • Product Design
  • Art therapy
  • Curatorial practice
  • Web Design
  • 3D Animation
  • Costume design