“All children are artists” – Pablo Picasso.

What is Art?

Art is beautiful. Art is created with both skill and imagination to express emotion and ideas.

Our definition for KS2 – Art is application of skills and further developing techniques learnt, as well as interpreting society by reflecting it in pieces of artwork.

Our definition for Foundation and KS1 – Art is learning and embedding a variety of skills and techniques and beginning to understand society which is being shown in art. 

Art teaches children about colour, perspective, layout and other techniques that are necessary in producing pieces of art. Children learn new skills as well as developing skills and techniques learnt and by allowing children time and opportunities to practice the skills and techniques, they will master it. A child’s developmental skills, memory and concentration, critical thinking and risk taking are incorporated in the journey of art learning and these developmental skills are linked throughout art skills. Art is also imperative to a child’s development; it encompasses their developmental domains comprising of physical development and the enhancement of gross motor skills.

The study of art provides children with opportunities to learn about artists but also about themselves, by providing children with unique opportunities for creative self-expression. The study of art teaches children to express themselves in ways that words cannot.  The job of an artist is to mirror and interpret an event by putting it into a picture by reflecting on our society. Art expresses emotions to others, as well as allowing children to see the world using their imagination. Art communicates to children, giving them information about the world in new ways. Art education allows them to be part of that conversation. Art provides opportunities to take risks, plan, create and make it better. Together with being imaginative, adventurous and creative. Innovation and risks will be encouraged throughout the study of art.


“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”

Thomas Merton

Through our art curriculum we aim to widen our children’s knowledge, skills and understanding of the wider world through the expression of art. Art is all around us and we want our children to know and understand art beyond their familiar surroundings. Our ambition is for our children to be able to confidently talk about their artwork including the skills used and that of others and to be able to understand the message that the artwork is delivering. We aim for the children to able to read art and express the story and or emotion it is displaying. We aspire for our children to be confident in art even with the skills they feel less strong with.

Alongside our children learning vital skills to produce their own pieces of art and having the skills to evaluate and discuss theirs and others work, we believe it is vital that our children know the work of famous artists and the background of these artists. We aim for our children to have the knowledge to confidently discuss specific artists and their work. In addition to artwork amongst other cultures.

Through our teaching we consistently aim to raise awareness of art as a subject and as a potential career field for the future. The children should leave our school knowing many different career prospects for artists. Ones which are inherently linked with the subject and those which use the skills that art as a subject teaches.

Our children should be excited by art and eager to learn more and questioning what they have learnt so far. They should be able to use their critical thinking skills and link this skill to what they are learning. The children should be fully invested in the purpose of their learning and engaged using technology, appropriate equipment to support the skill and making links to their experiences. Our children will not be limited by their starting points or life experiences. We will bring the experiences to them.

How do we teach art?

Art at Bishop Alexander LEAD Academy is taught through a consistent approach and each lesson follows the same structure. Each year group will learn about a famous artist and will revisit the same artist throughout the year when art is being taught. At the beginning of every art lesson the children will learn something about their artist. What is learnt may consist of a piece of artwork created by them, the skill they focus on or something personal about the artist. As a result of each year group learning about an artist, the children will leave Year 6 with knowledge and understanding of seven different artists. Each art lesson includes either a starter or a hook to engage the children, followed by an aspiration shared, such as a potential career that art can lead to or a quote by a famous artist as our school believes it is important for children to know why they are doing something. The skill being learned for that lesson is shared and the children will see the progression they’re going to learn in their current year group and how it links from the previous year group and how it will support the following year group. Vocabulary for the lesson is shared, which then follows into the skill being taught or developed. Throughout our school we believe that art should be taught as a kinesthetic approach but supported with demonstrations, taught by either the teacher or through our videos which have been recorded for specific skills. A warmup is implemented into every session, which lead on into a skill being taught or a technique being developed in sketchbooks. Specific questions are posed by the teacher and/ or the children, which utilises their critical thinking skills. Our lessons build up to an outcome which will have all skills learnt/ developed incorporated into it. Additionally, a pre-assessment is completed before a skill is taught to understand the children’s knowledge on the skill and subject. To enhance our learning and to stimulate the imagination we try to relate this to the children’s own experiences and interests in our topics.

At the end of each unit of art there is an outcome that the children build up to over the weeks of their art learning. We believe as a school that if children work towards predefined outcomes then the understanding and learning of the children are compromised, we do not want our children’s artwork to have poor learning outcomes just for it to look perfect at first glance, therefore planning opportunities are incorporated into each lesson to allow children with opportunities to practise the skill and prepare for their final outcome in their sketchbooks. There will be evident progression of ideas throughout their sketchbooks. We want our children to have more of a focus on their creative journey and to ensure that this happens risk taking is provided throughout. Risk taking is provided by watching their teacher take risks, children are asked to share their ideas and those ideas are incorporated in the modelling an activity, this prevents children producing the same work as their teacher. Artists work is used as a stimulus, but the children are encouraged to use their own ideas and to be creative. As teachers, there will be an emphasis placed on individuality and freedom, children are made to feel in control and know there is no right or wrong in their artwork. By providing planning opportunities, this allows children with opportunities to make their work better. They will be able to self-evaluate and judge where their work needs adapting. We aspire for our children to automatically become critical thinkers, by thinking beyond the picture, by being able to discuss what the artwork is telling us about society now or years ago, for our children to be able to represent society today in their work and to be able to discuss with confidence about their work and the artists who have influenced them. Drawing is planned into each unit of work which will be linked to the overall outcome. The children will draw from observation, an artist will be linked to the concept being learnt and finally the outcome which has been based upon the children’s ideas and development. Over cycles A and B, our children will draw from observation following six different types of drawing (imagination, still life, landscape, portraits, buildings and life drawings)

Art at Bishop Alexander LEAD Academy art is taught with an average of 4.5 hours per week when it is scheduled into the long-term plan.  A unit of art is taught over a solid 1/2-week block to allow children to become engrossed in their learning, build upon their previous skills and it is a chance for them to secure their understanding. Children will retain knowledge and understanding which will go into their long-term memory which utilises their metacognition skills. Block teaching allows misconceptions to be addressed immediately. In both cycles A and B, there is approximately 18 hours of art taught over the year.

Our topics are structured so that the children can work through each key concept of art; Drawing, Painting, Materials, Other media and Art/ Artists,however some concepts interlink. Running through this is the concept, ‘Becoming an artist’ which will provide children space to gather, collect, experiment and reflect in their sketch books,

This is how we define our key art concepts:

Drawing: A picture made with pencil, pen, charcoal or another drawing tool which has been developed through the children’s imagination to communicate ideas.

Painting: Colour such as paint or pastels which have been added to a picture drawn or a sculpture formed. 

Materials: The materials used to create the work and the skill used in which they were put together.

Digital: Art which is created using technology and digital programmes.

Art/ Artists: Being able to communicate why choices have been made, to know about artists work and to identify work of artists.

All skills will be specifically taught and modelled to support the practise.

We structure our curriculum using whole school topics and we focus on specific subjects in blocks over a number of weeks. This enables us to go deeper into subjects and to make meaningful connections with other subjects.

In the Foundation Stage expressive arts and design is one of the early learning goals. This goal is to develop the children’s imagination, creativity and their ability to use media and material, which forms the foundations for Key Stage 1. They will: 

  • Draw and paint using a range of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. 
  • Share their creations, explaining the process they have used.

In Key Stage 1, art continues the understanding begun in the Foundation Stage. They will:

  • Use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.

  • Use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination.

  • Develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.

  • Learn the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines and making links to their own work.

In Key Stage 2, pupils expand their knowledge from Key Stage 1. They will:

  • Develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.
  • Create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.
  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials [for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay]
  • Learn about great artists, architects and designers in history.


Further information can be found in our statement of equality information and objectives, and in our SEN policy and information report.

  • The school’s art curriculum, lessons and materials will support equality of opportunity and an inclusive attitude to all learners. We will ensure that children are provided with a broad and balanced curriculum that uses, to advantage, the diversity of our children at Bishop Alexander LEAD Academy. Children will be able to engage in all skills being learnt.
  • All pupils will have equal opportunity to reach their full potential across the art curriculum regardless of their race, gender, cultural background or ability. Class teachers will be responsible for planning activities that are differentiated and suitably challenging to meet the needs of all children, enabling access to the study of art.