Art & Design

“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse.

Art and design is all around us, it’s in almost everything we see. Much that we possess and behold first had to be created, through an art and design investigation and making process. Art and Design at Fearnhill takes you on that journey, from that first tentative mark to the final masterpiece.

YEAR 7 – Gaining Confidence

Getting familiar with formal elements and media.

Year 7 is all about technique and experimentation. Starting with the foundations of drawing and observation, then going on to explore painting, collage, printmaking, ceramics, digital media, photography and much more. Students will understand line, colour, tone, texture, shape, form and composition, and how artists have used these formal elements to achieve the art work we see around us. Students are encouraged to take risks and explore the formal elements through a range of media; learning what works and what doesn’t. The importance of recording the art and design journey and how to keep and develop a sketch-book are key parts of the first year in Art and Design at Fearnhill School.

Through the topics of The Natural World and Mythical Creatures, students combine the rigour of observation and skill with expression of creativity and imagination.

YEAR 8 – Developing Skills

Look. Now look again…closer.

In Year 8 students build on the foundations of Year 7 and take their acquired skills to a new level; gaining deeper understanding of visual devices such as perspective, scale and proportion, depth and image manipulation. A greater emphasis on the research and analysis of art, craft and design, encourages students to use literacy and communication skills to gain deeper understanding of the role of art and design in society and across history and cultures.

Through the topics of Distortion and Still Life, students explore formal elements and media informed by different styles and viewpoints.

YEAR 9 – Understanding Art

What makes art, art?

In Year 9 students begin to explore and understand the broader process of developing personal ideas, through conception and intention, research and observation, exploration and experimentation, to a solution with a final outcome. Students grow in independence and confidence by investigating and making their own personal ideas through sketch-books and design sheets, experiencing first-hand what it takes to develop a personal unit of art and design.

Through the topic of The Art of Africa, students learn new techniques in ceramics and decoration (such as relief, glazing and slip decoration), seeing how the art of Africa and other cultures impacts on the work of artists and communities across the globe. Through the topic of Surrealism, students start to question and ‘play’ with the idea of art, using their imagination, seeing what happens when they adapt and alter what they see, tricking the eyes and the senses and looking beyond what the eye can see.

YEAR 10 & 11 – Getting Immersed

Time to take risks and work in greater depth.

Students use and refine their skills to immerse themselves in themes and ideas at a greater level of complexity. Art and design processes and techniques are broadened and students are taught to draw, paint, print and sculpt with new media to a higher level of sophistication. Their analysis of artists requires a higher level of understanding; looking beyond what they do, to how and why; understanding the impact of social context and often comparing and contrasting, artists, approaches and cultures.

At Fearnhill School, our GCSE in Art and Design helps students develop knowledge, skills and understanding to enable them to express their creativity and imagination through responses to visual and written stimuli. The titles we offer cover the breadth of art and design, both traditional and digital. Students will gain opportunities to see artwork first hand through gallery and workshop visits, providing stimulus, inspiration and enrichment to their own work.

YEAR 12 & 13 – Going even further

Independence, free thought, expression and mastery of technique.

At A level, students take the confidence gained at GCSE even further. They work and think at a greater breadth and depth and with a higher level of academic rigour and mastery.

The emphasis is on the independent development of idea from conception through to realisation and on the growth of a personal style as a practising artist. Students will gain opportunities to see artwork first hand through gallery and workshop visits and will curate and exhibit their work in a local public gallery.

Students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore the range of fine art media, processes and techniques in both traditional and new media. They will explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to a range of art, craft and design, from past and from recent times, including European and non-European examples. These are integral to the investigating and making process.

In A Level Fine Art, students produce practical and critical/ contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, drawing, painting, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, installation, printmaking, moving image (film, video, animation) and photography.

Many of our students go on to study Fine Art and related disciplines in Higher education and often then beyond… making an exciting and fulfilling career out of what they’ve learnt. The sky’s the limit and the world is their oyster!


More details can be found below.



  • Student and teacher led lunch clubs – technique and the joy of making
  • Gallery and museum visits at each key stage
  • Local artist workshops
  • Life drawing workshop (A Level)
  • Exhibitions of work with opportunities for curation
  • Alumni visits from ex Fearnhill art students who have built careers in the subject.


  • Bespoke technical workshops
  • “Scaling Up” – where students have the opportunity to learn media and techniques beyond their key stage
  • Student leadership opportunities for students to be a peer coach or coachee
  • Art ambassadors at KS4


The National Gallery
The Tate
BBC Bitesize