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At St Mary’s School we believe that all children should be given knowledge, skills and opportunities to explore creatively in Art and be able to use Art to ‘Shine as lights in the world’ and reach their full potential. The children will build on their knowledge and skills through a progressive, spiral curriculum as they journey through the school and our desire is that they will leave St Mary’s with a ‘can do’ attitude in Art. We believe that through Art children can learn and develop and secure new skills, explore their own creativity and enhance their mental well-being. As they progress through the school, children will develop their own visual literacy and they will experience a broad and balanced range of Art activities.


The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

1. Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences

2. Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques

3. Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design

4. Know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.


At St Mary’s Art is taught regularly in ‘blocked’ teaching sessions. Teaching focuses on a skills-based curriculum, which covers drawing, painting, sculpture, and printing. Full details of our art curriculum can be found in our Long-Term Plan. Re-teaching skills throughout the children’s time in school. Skills are revisited and honed in a spiral curriculum, which progresses in terms of depth and challenge, to build on the children’s previous learning.

Each child develops their skills and techniques in a way appropriate to them, through clear differentiation and support, active and purposeful experiences and using a variety of art materials and teaching strategies.

  • Introducing children to artists and art movements directly linked to the skills or topics they are covering.
  • Utilising a sketchbook approach, so that children feel safe to experiment and take risks, without the fear of doing something “wrong”.
  • Sketchbooks move up with the children throughout the school and provide the children with a bank of ideas and skills to look back on and refer to. Children are encouraged to look back to help them to move forward.
  • Openly promoting art and design as a possible further study or career choice. Local artists and art students are regularly invited to visit and talk and share their work to inspire the children.
  • Encouraging each child to evaluate their art and design work and that of others, both with peers and adults. Children regularly magpie ideas from their peers to enhance their own learning journeys.
  • Celebrating effort, progress and achievement in art through displays, exhibitions, recognition postcards for children to take home, linking with art students from a local secondary school.
  • Early Years pupils explore and use a variety of media and materials through a combination of child initiated and adult directed activities. They have opportunities to learn to:
  • Explore the textures, movement, feel and look of different media and materials
  • Respond to a range of media and materials, develop their understanding of them in order to
  • manipulate and create different effects.
  • Use different media and materials to express their own ideas
  • Explore colour and use for a particular purpose
  • Develop skills to use simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately
  • Select appropriate media and techniques and adapt their work where necessary

Key Stage 1 pupils are taught:

  1. To use a range of materials creatively to design and make products
  2. To use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination
  3. To develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space
  4. About 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.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 pupils are taught:

  1. To 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.
  2.  To create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas
  3. 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]
  4. About great artists, architects and designers in history.


  • Our Art Curriculum is well thought out and is planned to ensure a clear progression in skills.
  • Our planning process ensures that time is built in for pupils to creatively explore their learnt skills.
  • Throughout the year, pupils self-assess themselves using I can statements that link to our progression of skills. This ensures that pupils see their own progression and development.
  • A teacher judgement is made against the achieved planned outcomes and children are assessed as working towards, expected or exceeding, this data is passed to the subject lead to analyse.
  • A pupil sketchbook demonstrates progression and includes thoughts, ideas, processing and evaluations of work.
  • Planned class discussions and analysis of pupils art work and their peers support the evaluation and feedback process and also develops children’s oracy.
  • Regular whole school celebration of learning, demonstrates progression across the school.
  • Regular pupil voice opportunities help to inform the art lead.
  • Children who are achieving well, as well as those who need additional support, are
  • identified, and additional provision and strategies are planned in and discussed with class teachers.
  • Achievements are celebrated in classrooms during walking-galleries and corridor displays, and by building in increasing connections with local galleries, artists and local students we aim to develop our future artists and their appreciation of the art around them.
  • The intention for pupils at St Mary’s to be proud of their art work and demonstrate a can-do attitude to art to use art to ‘Shine as Lights in the World’ is reinforced regularly by all staff.


At St Mary's we have been developing our use of sketchbooks. Year 1 have been developing their sketching skills and have been exploring mark making, shape and texture. Take a look at our sketchbook pages.

Year 1 then went onto applying their sketching skills to produce observational drawings of Paddington Bear.

Art throughout the school