At Dunston Hill we are passionate about Art and Design and currently hold a silver level Artsmark, a recognition of our efforts from Arts Council England. We firmly believe that art is for everyone; a means of expression and creativity for children and is learnt through a variety of skills and techniques learnt from sparking their excitement in nursery right up to year 6.
We are passionate about children’s engagement in the arts to encourage them as active, independent learners capable of critical and creative thinking. We want our children to love the arts and feel that they can express themselves and achieve well in these areas. With our school’s emphasis on the good mental health of our pupils, it is vital that we continue to emphasise the importance of the arts as an outlet for feelings and understanding of the actions and emotions of others, enabling children to develop resilience and self-expression. Thinking about the future, a great many of our children will likely move into some sort of employment linked to the arts and creativity, these areas contributing billions to the UK economy, and it is our role to provide the inspiration for our learners and equip them with the skills they need and the enthusiasm to be successful.
Art is taught in every year group with EYFS providing continuous provision, packed with opportunities to explore and be curious about art and design throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors. Each year group from years 1-6 have bespoke ‘schemes’ of work, developed in line with pupils’ interests and with input from our pupils’ arts council. We have tailored our curriculum to spark excitement, not just at the start of a unit of work but throughout, ensuring children are able to continuously explore and develop their love of art and design.
The curriculum is designed so that children have the opportunity to revisit skills on a regular basis, beginning each new unit and each session with a chance to recall and build on the learning from previous year groups. A particular emphasis is on our pupils’ opportunities to develop their drawing skills.
A real focus for our children has been evaluation of both their art and the art of others. Going back to our art and discussing it, annotating our drawings and paintings, developing our ideas as a constant process – all of this helps our children develop a positive mindset towards their work: there is no ‘right’ piece of art, just an ongoing perseverance.
Our learners are exposed to a wide variety of artists from different time periods and with diversity in mind so that our children have the advantage of inspiration from all walks of life.
Through our art curriculum, pupils will gain a greater courage to take risks and try things out, not worrying about perfection and becoming self-evaluative and independent – all transferable skills, not just in school subjects but in life itself. We want our children to dream big and be able to see themselves as the artists, designers and craftspeople of the future. Our pupils show a high level of interest in arts in school, shown by attendance at extra-curricular clubs as well as their responses through our arts council (made up of a child from each class y1-6). We have held art exhibitions to showcase pupils’ work and this was popular with both children and parents/carers alike. It is our aim to continue to host yearly events to maintain our pupils’ enthusiasm and give them more opportunities to be creative and express themselves.