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at Didsbury CE Primary School

“Every child, young person and the protected characteristics has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries.”
- Goal 5 of Arts Council England’s 10-year strategic framework Great Art and Culture for Everyone, 2015.

At Didsbury CE, it is our intent to provide a high-quality art and design curriculum that is designed to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. During their time at DCE, we believe that children should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. Consequently, the children will have the opportunity to become increasingly proficient and confident at: 

  • producing creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
  • evaluating and analysing creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • identifying great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

A curriculum for life for all (Addressing social disadvantage)

Research by The Arts Council in 2016 found:

  • Parents from higher socio-economic groups are significantly more likely to take their children to arts events and to encourage them to participate in the arts.
  • Research suggests parents who define themselves as Black and minority ethnic and from “other” backgrounds are less likely to take their children to arts events or encourage participation.
  • Disparities between disabled and non-disabled children and young people seem to be driven largely by in-school rather than out-of-school factors.

Many children at Didsbury CE have the opportunity to experience art and design at home through cultural day trips in the UK or abroad, may have artwork in the home or have been encouraged to develop artistic skills by their parents, however, we are aware that this may not be the case for all of our pupils. Therefore, our curriculum has been designed to ensure social disadvantages, ethnicity or disability does not impact a child’s ability to engage and enjoy their art and design education. The ways in which we are addressing disadvantage amongst our pupils are:

  • Teaching weekly art and design lessons to all pupils.
  • Each half term children learn about a significant artist, craftsperson or designer from a range of ethnic backgrounds, genders, nationalities and time periods.
  • Strong connections with community-based art projects such as The Didsbury Parsonage Trust and Didsbury Festival.
  • Adapting resources or tools to meet the needs of children with SEND.
  • Enrichment trips to galleries and museums are subsidised by Pupil Premium funding for those eligible.

Curriculum end points

The impact of this art and design curriculum is that children will critique their own and other’s artwork by asking open and closed questions. They will become reflective of their own work and discuss how to improve their artwork next time. Children will understand that art is made by a variety of people in a variety of ways. They will know that they are all artists. Each Key Stage Phase (Year 1 & 2, Year 3 &4 and Year 5 & 6) is given a set of skills that they need to have covered by the end of their phase. Some skills are taught exclusively to one year in the phase and others are revisited at a deeper level.  The skills taught are influenced by Lancashire Grid for Learning’s Progression in Art and Design Skills guidance.

Children are assessed against the skills taken from Lancashire Grid for Learning and the National Curriculum before being recorded on the school’s assessment tracker. Children in Key Stage 1 and 2 complete a termly evaluation where they self and peer evaluate their work. They then answer questions about their artwork such as which skill was the most challenging, how would they improve their work next time etc. Final pieces of artwork are kept at school along with the evaluations as evidence. In EYFS, children’s art skills are assessed in line with Development Matters broad phases of development and Early Learning Goals (soon to be replaced by Development Matters 2021). This is recorded on Tapestry and in the school’s data tracking system. The children’s learning journey in art and design is reported formally to parents at the end of each academic year. The progress of each child will be tracked throughout their time at Didsbury CE Primary.

Curriculum planning and sequencing

We teach Art and Design within a knowledge-engaged curriculum, as a discreet unit with links to mainly the Design Technology, Computing, History or Geography curriculum. This provides an opportunity for the children to explore and develop ideas from first hand observations, learn of significant artists, designers or sculptors in history both from Britain and the wider world. As aforementioned, each Key Stage Phase have set of skills that they need to cover by the end of their phase. Some skills are taught exclusively to one year in the phase and for others we employ a spiral curriculum where skills are revisited at a deeper level in subsequent years.  The skills taught are influenced by Lancashire Grid for Learning’s Progression in Art and Design Skills guidance. 

In EYFS, the children are exposed to a wide range of art and design techniques through the continuous provision learning environment. Children manipulate materials in the malleable and creative areas to create models of natural and man-made objects. They are taught how to cut, hold a paintbrush, blend colours and join materials. Children also learn of a famous artist and create artwork in their style.

Art and Design is taught through weekly discreet lessons. In Key Stage One and Two, art lessons are often linked to the class topic in History or Geography. Art and Design techniques which relate to an artist, designer, craftsperson, particular historical period or culture are taught over a series of lessons. Different skills are taught during these lessons, be it sketching, creating different effects with paint or manipulating materials such as clay.

In Year 1, the children will develop their artwork independently in the learning areas, whereas in Year 2 and Key Stage 2 at the end of each unit, the children are encouraged to use a medium and technique of their choice to create an individual piece of art inspired by what they have been studying.


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