Art & Design

The Visual Art Department is a highly skilled group of professional teachers and artists with subject specialisms spanning fine art, photography, 3D Sculpture and textiles. The department is focused on providing a creative environment where independence and creative enquiry is encouraged by a team of highly motivated staff.

The Department uses a range of social media to keep you up to date with news and events within the creative sector- exhibitions, artists and art news- at school and from around the world. We share useful information about artists, tutorials and resources as well as regularly sharing some specially selected work created by students from across all the visual art subjects and key stages.

GSA Art Key Concepts

Study Support

The department offers a wide range of opportunities in order for all students to engage actively in exciting art and design experiences to maximise and fulfil their potential across all key stages. This includes after school clubs, study support and intervention sessions, trips, visits as well as regular specialist workshops with outside artists and agencies.


Mrs L Shaw ( Head of Department), email: l.sha[email protected]

"At GSA, I have been given the opportunity to do many amazing things that have helped me develop my art. The teachers always go out of their way to help all students. For example, they arranged a day in which I could photograph a real, classic motorbike for my project. The creative nature within the Art department helps students such as myself, to become more confident in themselves and their abilities." Jordan J. Year 13

"The Art and Design staff provide all the support possible, staying in after-hours and ensuring all projects are perfect, and to the student's best possible standard. I am glad to say I studied with them through my GCSE's and now onto my A Levels." Cameron S. Year 12

"The Art Department at GSA has given me confidence in my work and helped me explore different media which has helped identify both my weaknesses and strengths." Charle B. Year 11

We follow a curriculum which has been devised carefully which focuses on the key skills across all of the specialisms- Fine art/ Photography/ Textiles and 3D, covering a range of relevant and relatable topics and focus areas.

Year 7, 8 and 9

Pupils are taught the following key visual elements: line, tone, shape, texture pattern and colour and experiment with drawing, painting, 3d clay, printmaking, photography and textiles. These are done through a wide range of topics and focus areas to broaden not only their artistic skills and knowledge, but also to that of social context and issues that are relevant to us.

All projects are underpinned by GCSE Criteria and techniques getting pupils ready and prepared for the next steps to GCSE, developing independence, resilience and confidence in their chosen area.

Years 10-11

Courses offered:

  • GCSE Fine Art [OCR]
  • GCSE Photography [OCR]
  • GCSE Textiles [OCR]
Exam results2017201820192020*
GCSE Art (Fine Art)15.8% A*-A
73% A*-C
7.1% 9-8
39.6% 9-6
100% 9-3
10.3%- 9
24.1% 9-8
69% 9-6
96.6%- 9-5
100% 9-4
8%- 9
20% 9-8
60% 9-6
88%- 9-5
100% 9-4
GCSE Photography21% A*-A
93% A"-C
31% 9-8
57% 9-6
100% 9-U
12.5%- 9
18.8%- 9-8
50.% 9-6
100% 9-5
9.1%- 9
27.3% 9-8
59.1% 9-6
90.9%- 9-5
100% 9-4
GCSE Textiles31% A*-A
77% A*-C
16.9% 9-8
41.7% 9-6
100% 9-4
No entries10%- 9
20% 9-8
60% 9-6
90%- 9-5
100% 9-4

Table of art and design exams results

Structure of the course is 60% Coursework - Theme is teacher led. Externally set Exam (40%) is a based on a pre-release paper where pupils have a choice of starting points to build a project around meeting all of the marking criteria. All except * where examinations were disrupted through lockdown.

The AS and year 1 courses within the art department are all about experimentation, developing skills, confidence and stretching personal strengths and ideas. AS/ year 1 Teaching Practical Workshops are central to building a strong portfolio and reinforcing strong observational and experimentation skills. Within each of the specialisms, key skills are explored through a range of bespoke workshops which culminate in the presentation of a skilled based project preparing students for their AS examination. Once pupils have developed and found their preferred media/technique, a choice of project themes are given by the exam board (OCR), and then a project is cultivated which is 100% of the AS grade.

A2 is about the strengths, interests and preferences of the pupil – a totally personal project. A practical portfolio of practical work, along with a final response is created by students.

This year, 2020, we have introduced a new course- Art, craft and Design. This has been offered as a full A level, with no AS being submitted at the end of year 1 teaching.

Please visit the designated Sixth Form section to find out more information about the courses we offer.