Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 course focuses on practical two and three dimensional activities in Art, Craft and Design. Projects encourage students to explore and develop ideas whilst gaining experience of working in a wide range of media. Practical demonstrations are central to art teaching at Millthorpe. While emphasis is given to practical experiences, student knowledge and understanding of artists/artistic styles from different cultures provides both a stimulus and reference for practical outcomes. Regular homework tasks reinforce and extend learning. Lower school groups study Art and Design in weekly hour long lessons.

The Year 7 course is designed to unify the varied art experiences gained at primary school. Projects based on portraiture, colour theory and the local built environment provide a common reference from which each student may confidently progress towards fulfilling their true potential. Inspiration is gained from the work of various portraitists, masks from different cultures and local artist Emily Sutton.

The course content for Year 8 reinforces and then extends the foundation of knowledge, experience, understanding and skills laid down in Year 7. Students study perspective and observational drawing. Outcomes include an interior design, a Surrealist inspired composition, an illuminated manuscript letter inspired by the Book of Kells and a stencilled Celtic style tile. The Year 8 ‘Expressive Faces’ task extends students understanding of the Year 7 Colour Theory topic.

In Year 9 students follow a varied programme of study designed to provide every student with a final opportunity to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding to their full potential with regard to satisfying the end of Key Stage level descriptions. Three units involve the production of a ceramic monster fish, an animal themed lino print and a series of still-life studies. Particular importance is placed on development work in Year 9. Year 9 projects are informed by various still-life images, the photographs of Alexander Semenov, ceramic work by James De Rosso, prints by Chris Wormald, William De Morgan and Japanese printmakers.


Mid-way through a unit, key pieces of work are awarded a formative grade and feedback, with regard to progress, effort and next steps. Students are given opportunity to improve their work prior to the next (summative) assessment. At the end of each unit of work, progress made in relation to National Curriculum Levels can be assessed.

Key Stage 4

Year 10 and 11 students follow AQA’s Art & Design (Fine Art) GCSE course. It is a two year course and the course involves students working in two or more of the following areas:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Mixed Media
  • Sculpture
  • Print making
  • Photography

For Unit 1 (60%) students are required to submit a portfolio of Controlled Assessment (Coursework; a sustained project and a selection of further work).

Controlled Assessment (Coursework)

Students undertake a minimum of two coursework projects over two years. The first project starts in September of Year 10 and is completed by Easter. The second project is undertaken during the summer of Year 10 and the Autumn Term of Year 11. All coursework will be submitted for final GCSE assessment. New projects are planned throughout the year, carefully tailored to the interests and needs of groups.

Externally Set Task (Exam)

The exam component takes place during the Spring Term of Year 11. The Art department also provides additional support in the form of a supplementary support booklet and an extensive image bank. Students are given six weeks to plan, undertake research and prepare a final piece. Art department staff can provide support throughout the preparation period. Following the preparation period, students produce their final piece in timed exam conditions (total of 10 hours). Supporting preparation work in sketchbook and/or annotation sheets are handed in for assessment once the final piece is complete.

GCSE Final Assessment

At the end of the course candidates receive two final marks, one for each component of the examination:

Controlled Assessment – 60% of the final marks awarded

Externally Set Task – 40% of the final marks awarded