At Bridgelea we are artists!

Art and Design provides the children with the opportunities to develop and extend skills and an opportunity to express their individual interests, thoughts and ideas. We want our children to love art and design. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be illustrators, graphic designers, curators or printmakers! 

The art and design curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their artistic capital. We want our children to remember their art and design lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with! 

At Bridgelea the pupils have a variety of emotional and complex needs. As a result, many of our pupils have low self-esteem and find it difficult to express themselves. The Arts are a valuable means of developing confidence, communication skills and facilitating expression, ideas and feelings. In addition, through purposeful, imaginative and creative activities pupils learn to take managed risks, trying out new ideas and new ways of working without fear of failure. Art encourages the exploration of design ideas. Pupils can express what they know, understand and can do, through a variety of media and various forms of presentation. 

Pupils will learn about the place and role of art in life today, as well as in different times and cultures. Pupils should know how art reflects and shapes our history, and contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

Bridgelea provides opportunities for the pupils to be aware of their own and others’ work, describing what they think and feel. The staff at Bridgelea value the contribution art makes to the quality of life in and beyond school. The staff believe that providing a range of experiences is essential to support the wellbeing and resilience of the pupils. Over the school year every child will access  lessons with an external artist. Via the curriculum vehicles the pupils will cover the art curriculum.

Curriculum Intent

The art and design curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient.

We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the art National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. 

For example, we have a specialist art teacher. Our children made their own portraits with her, using clay and different techniques, receiving several compliments from staff. What an absolute treat and a very unique experience indeed! 

We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach. For example we took part in the ‘Bee in the city’ project. This was one of the most spectacular public art events that Manchester has ever seen. Our BridgeBee has been designed and produced by our students. The whole school entered a design competition to produce a Bee that reflected the spirit of Bridgelea School and Manchester.  The children discussed what living and attending school in Manchester meant to them. They wanted to express the school as a whole community and how important that community was in enabling aspiration and success for all. Every class spent a whole day trip visiting our and other communities’ bees around the city. What an amazing experience! We firmly believe that art is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.

As a school, we believe that art is a vital and integral part of children’s education. Art contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection. 

The art curriculum will develop children’s critical abilities and understanding of their own and others’ cultural heritages through studying a diverse range of male and female artists and designers throughout history.

Children will develop their understanding of the visual language of art with effective teaching and carefully thought out sequences of lessons and experiences. Understanding of the visual elements of art and design (line, tone, texture, colour, pattern, shape, 3D form) will be developed by providing an accessible and engaging curriculum which will enable children to reach their full potential.

Curriculum Implementation

In Spring term of 2020, a complete audit of the art and design curriculum was conducted. On the back of the findings from this audit, the art and design curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each mile posts crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. For example the way art and design is taught at our school has been revamped and now follows a specific and consistent structure. 

To facilitate coverage of both the statutory and wider curriculum teachers create “ A vehicle”

to deliver the curriculum learning to children. The vehicle is a project that does not have its

focus primarily on the subjects of the National Curriculum but is rooted in a real life

experience that children engage with for up to a term. The key focus in all of these projects

has been to deliver the wider aims of the “Rainbow Curriculum” whilst using the academic

strands of the National Curriculum subjects to facilitate it.

We teach a skills-based art curriculum, which allows children to express their creative imagination as well as providing them with opportunities to practise and develop mastery in the key processes of art: drawing, painting, printing, textiles and sculpture. This is supported through the studying of key artists throughout history and the development of a knowledge of their work.

Lessons are taught during the vehicle on a half termly basis and involve studying existing pieces of art, sketching aspects of these, with a particular focus on the necessary skills, before completing a final piece. The children will then be given constructive feedback and next steps, with further opportunities to create the art piece, to improve their work and ensure that the skills are being developed. Pupils' work in Art and Design is also presented differently to other subject areas as teachers use scrap books and or displays around school instead of individual exercise books.

We empower our staff to organise their own milepost curriculums  under the guidance of our subject leaders. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develop termly vehicles which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year.

We encourage staff to teach a weekly art and design lesson. This was a notable change after the art and design audit. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to art and design and that the subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make. 

Curriculum Impact

We use both formative and summative assessment information in  every Art and Design lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group

(This is available in the Focus Education Resource: Assessing a Knowledge Rich Curriculum). This means that skills in Art and Design are progressive and build year on year. Assessment information is collected and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. As a school this is a developing approach and we are working with other schools in Manchester to look at effective ways of assessment in Art and Design. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in Art and Design includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.

Cultural Capital & Art and Design at Bridgelea

● Children have access to key knowledge, language and meanings in order to understand and readily apply to their work in Art and Design, and across the wider curriculum.

● Educational Visits, will make links to Art and Design and be made to develop the children’s learning experiences. Children will achieve age related expectations in Art and Design.

● Children will retain knowledge about their journey and the outcomes for each unit of work.

● Children will understand what being an artist, designer, sculptor and architect means.

● Children will learn British Values and PSHE and revisit the importance of our world and how it should be treated.

● The creativity of our pupils needs channelling into a field where they learn to empathise with others and create solutions for others’ problems, not just their own. They will benefit from taking a design brief and designing an artwork that meets the needs of others. Additionally, our pupils do not always have the ability to see a process through from start to finish. By learning Art and Design, pupils will develop perseverance to design, make, test, evaluate and amend their creations, seeing the rewards of sticking at something for its entirety. 

At Bridgelea we value Art and Design as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. Art and Design provides the children with the opportunities to develop and extend skills and an opportunity to express their individual interests, thoughts and ideas.  This leads into British Values, and how the pupils are taught about the moral choices facing designers & artists when deciding on materials. Pupils consider sustainability to understand and apply ways of conserving the Earth’s resources. 

There is a focus on recycling materials and how to minimise waste. Pupils develop an awareness of health & safety for themselves and others when working practically. Pupils are taught the social skills around behaviour self-regulation to ensure collective responsibility for a safe and efficient working environment. They are taught to challenge each other’s behaviour and how it impacts on the collective expectations of the group. Pupils explore how artworks contribute to lifestyle and consumer choices and understand how products evolve according to users’ and designers’ needs, beliefs, ethics and values.  In Art and Design education, pupils look at cultural influences on the art we surrounded and the diversity of the styles. 



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