Here at The Park Academies Trust we use cookies to:
- improve our website performance;
- help you share our content across your social media networks; and
- personalise our advertisements to you.

To accept our cookies please click the button below, or for further details and the chance to specify your cookie preferences please click ‘more information’.

You can change your preferences at any time by visiting the “Cookies Preferences” page, which can be found via our footer. View our Privacy and Cookies policies for full details.

Visual Art

Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact Statement


Introduction – Overall Department Intent

In the Visual Arts department at Abbey Park School, our aim is to provide an opportunity for all pupils to explore their creativity and art appreciation. We encourage pupils to understand the intentions of artwork, face technical challenges with resilience, and think freely. In this way, pupils develop artistic skills that prepare them for their future as they live in an art rich society.

Department implementation with the APS 5 Keys to Curriculum Success

Knowledge, Skills & Mastery

The Visual Arts department provides high quality lessons where we encourage discussion, critique and debate about pupils’ own work and about the work of artists and designers. This embeds and extends our pupils’ knowledge of artistic concepts and principles along with the appropriate language for discussing works of art. When teaching these artistic concepts, pupils are expected to think, respond and create.

We operate a spiralled five-year curriculum, which is described in our curriculum knowledge maps. As a department, we outline the knowledge our pupils need and always build on previous knowledge and skills. We do this by scaffolding our curriculum in such a way that pupils continually incorporate a deeper understanding of prior learning. Pupil progress is documented through sketchbooks and journals along with PLCs (personal learning checklists) for key concepts and ideas. For example, the drawing, painting, and print making skills that pupils develop in KS3 are consolidated in KS4 by the introduction of more challenging learning experiences. Such as more complex printmaking techniques and creating more independent thought-provoking artwork.

Pupils will have sufficient time and opportunities to develop their proficiency and confidence with the techniques that we use over the course of their studies. At the heart of our curriculum design is increasing levels of challenge, risk taking, and unpredictable outcomes. Overcoming these requires pupils to think creatively, show resilience and convert their potential into performance.  

The knowledge and skills gained through the Visual Arts curriculum promotes pupil independence by giving pupils the freedom to be creative. This provides a foundation on which a career can be built, allowing pupils to move onto aspirational post-16 courses.

Literacy & Numeracy

Our exam board does not require extended writing. However, extended writing is incorporated into the KS3 curriculum using topic texts to which pupils create a written response. These extended writing exercises encourage pupils to develop a deeper understanding of the work we are exploring and discuss artwork using the relevant terminology. The “How?, What?, Why?” page of each pupils planner aims to help pupils to structure their extended written responses.

Throughout all schemas in KS3, we have planned strategic topic texts. The texts provide a wide range of opportunities to link to previous studies and develop learning as we challenge pupils’ ability to recall information. This aspect of our schema allows the pupils to develop their understanding of the intentions of the artwork.

Visual arts have a unique way of using language to describe, reflect on, and analyse the world. When pupils write or talk about their own pieces of artwork or the work of others, they develop an understanding of audience and purpose. We engage students through this with our evaluations at the end of every topic.

In Visual Arts, pupils use calculations, estimations, and measurements to produce visual art and design work. Pupils develop their capacity to (i) recognise and use patterns, (ii) visualise 2D shapes and 3D objects, and (iii) calculate proportions and ratios of paint.

Entitlement & Engagement

One of the integral parts of our five-year curriculum is to provide pupils with the means to engage with the world around them. To do this, we embed in our curriculum an exploration into the work of artists and designers from a vast spectrum of backgrounds, identities, ethnicities and beliefs. Cultural awareness is developed through creating, investigating, making and doing. For example, Year 8 pupils are responsible for creating a peace poster, which is submitted to the Swindon Lions Club’s international art competition. During this project, pupils encounter cultural diversity by learning about historical and current conflicts. They develop empathy and compassion, leading to a more inclusive outlook.

We provide schemes of work that are relevant to everyday life and incorporate pupils’ personal interests. In this way, pupils are more engaged with their projects, which leads to a deeper understanding of key concepts and ideas.

To engage our Year 10’s at the beginning of their GCSE’s, we offer educational trips. This encourages students to observe and be inspired by the world around them. The photography students have the opportunity to visit Kew Gardens in London and Art students can visit Tate modern and Britain.

We also intend to offer KS3 pupils the opportunity to visit local art galleries. All trips intend to expose pupils to new cultures and experiences, thereby inducing a spirit of adventure and unlimited aspirations.

All GCSE classes are oversubscribed and thoroughly enjoyed by pupils. Classes are taught with mixed ability, where support is offered to students within lessons as necessary. We are proud to say that examination results within Art and Photography have been positive and on an upward trend over the past 5 years.

Aspiration & Wellbeing

Visual Art’s core drive is to create, understand intentions, and develop pupil’s awareness of key concepts and issues. Here at Abbey Park, we are keen for pupils to have an inquisitive approach. We want pupils to question the world we live in and have the opportunity to investigate all viewpoints. Our aim is to provide pupils with the transferable skills they need to progress and ensure they are equipped for their everyday life. We strive to adapt our teaching to cultural shifts, keeping SMSC and British Values and our own APS PROUD in consideration. Together, we create a learning environment that fosters inclusivity and unbound aspirations.

We display pupils’ work throughout the department and school to showcase best practise and to help pupils learn from one another through social interactions. Pupils are inspired by seeing the work of their fellow classmates. We also hold an ‘Art Show’ every year, where we showcase all the Year 11 artwork and photography portfolios.

All Visual Arts staff are tutors, supporting the whole school ethos and wellbeing pastorally as well as in the classroom. Our curriculum offers pupils the opportunity to express their emotions in their artwork and encourages them to understand the emotional intent of another artists’ work. This intends to provide pupils with an empathic viewpoint that allows them to feel comfortable with the spectrum of emotions that everybody encounters throughout life. The emotional intelligence gathered in this way promotes a better understanding of wellbeing and how to incorporate a mindful approach to mental health.

Community, Respect & Enrichment

Our learning journeys across Visual Arts are carefully considered to ensure they are broad and balanced, promoting artistic concepts, cultural diversity as well as being spiralised, evolving the skills and attributes needed in order for Abbey Park students to be successful.  We include a range of activities within lessons that teach pupils to respect other peoples’ beliefs and views. For example, shared activities expose pupils to the importance of teamwork and intend to create experiences where ideas can be shared and discussed in a respectful way.

Enrichment activities include after school clubs for KS3 Art and Photography. This gives pupils an opportunity to practice artistic skills and be creative in a relaxed environment. KS4 pupils are offered catch-up clubs where they can work on their GCSE portfolio.   A sense of community is brought to our pupils by engaging with external entities. For example, pupils have had the opportunity to display work at and visit Swindon’s Great Western Hospital (GWH). This has helped to develop pupils’ aspirations by showing the impact of artwork outside of the classroom. We intend to maintain a relationship with GWH so that more pupils have a similar opportunity.


Curriculum Implementation

  • At KS3 all pupils have Art timetabled for 1 hours a week.
  • KS4 is balanced with Year 10 pupils being timetabled for 2 hours a week and then year 11 timetabled for 3 hours a week. We plan our curriculum model to have more time in Year 11 to finish their coursework (60%) and complete the exam (40%) unit of work.

KS3 and KS4 Visual Art Curriculum Maps

Click below in 'Related Documents' to view curriculum maps.

APS Visual Art Curriculum Map KS3 & KS4 (201KB)

Curriculum Map which includes Unit of Work, Knowledge and Skills and Assessment broken down into Terms.

APS Photography Curriculum Map KS4 (153KB)

Curriculum Map which includes Unit of Work, Knowledge and Skills and Assessment broken down into Terms.