Art, Design & Technology Curriculum Department

Art, Design & Technology Curriculum

Age Range: 4-18

Vision statement

To cultivate a dynamic and inclusive 4-18 Art, Design, and Technology (ADT) curriculum that fosters imagination, observation, curiosity,  experimentation, problem-solving and personal expression.

Big Ideas

Art Big Ideas:

Art – Objectivity The ability to represent something exactly as it is seen in nature without any influence of personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice. An objective view of the world assumes that there are certain fixed and shared ways of seeing and sets of rules that we follow. Objectivity is often considered the perception or experience of the external and the binary of subjectivity.
Art – Subjectivity To express personal experiences and explore our feelings, experiences, and understanding of the world. The artistic process is an introspective one that involves drawing on individual experiences and informs a unique perspective of the world that celebrates diversity and different points of view. Subjectivity is often considered the perception or experience of the internal and the binary of objectivity.
Art – Aesthetics Artists have often attempted to capture beauty, often from nature, but also the human form, landscapes or even objects. Often the choices around what we choose to record are linked to our tastes and therefore reflect what we value and consider beautiful and meaningful in the world around us. Critics will often use the term ‘aesthetics’, which is a philosophy that is ‘concerned with the study of beauty and taste.’
Art – Appropriation Appropriation in art and art history refers to the practice of artists using pre-existing objects or images in their art with little transformation of the original. Picasso once infamously said: ‘Good artists borrow, great artists steal’. The act of appropriating imagery, objects, techniques means that artists are often working with imagery that already has strong symbolism and attached meaning and therefore can be used to reinforce, question or subvert society and popular culture.
Art – Symbolism The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, often an indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind. All images are symbolic in the sense that they have meaning linked to our own subjective experiences or are socially and culturally constructed. However, some artists specifically use symbols to add a subtext to their work or as a way of subverting meaning.
Art – Formalism The study of art based solely on an analysis of its form – the way it is made and what it looks like. Understanding about how artists manipulate the formal elements (line, shape/form, colour, value, texture, space) and principles of design (pattern, rhythm and movement, emphasis, variety, balance and proportion) 
Art – Conceptualism Some artists believe that an idea/concept behind the work is more important than the finished art object. Some historians cite Marcel Duchamp and his ready-mades from the early 1900s as being the beginning of conceptual art, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the term conceptual art started to be used. Since then, artists have generally placed great emphasis on the concept behind works of art as the driving force behind their intentions.


Design & Technology Big Ideas:

Design – Human-Centred Design (HCD) At the heart of design is consideration for people and their needs, leading to solutions that are focused around innovation or new inventions that are inclusive and accessible. Human-Centred Design, sometimes referred to as User-Centred Design, implies that designers need to be constantly aware of the people and the communities using the services and how it will benefit and support them. This is in contrast to the idea of the designer operating as the high priest that makes all decisions in line with their personal vision irrespective of others. A key aspect of HCD is ensuring that products are desirable, feasible and viable. 
Design – Digital Transformation Designers use new and emerging technologies to solve problems and come up with new solutions. Since the advent of the digital/internet age, we have seen new specialisms emerge including from CAD and CAM to VR to AI. In the future, new technologies will be invented and become tools for design innovation leading to new products and occupations.
Design – Sustainability Sustainability refers to a way of thinking about all stages of a design from concept to post-completion. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimise waste, and create healthy, productive environments.
Design – Globalisation Globalisation can be summed up by the term ‘world trade’. People are now familiar with products that are made by countries, other than their own. Without globalisation, this would not have been possible. Globalisation means that there is free movement of products, services and capital, across the borders of the world, helping the world economy to grow. The internationalisation of design, manufacturing and the market place has meant that a product may be designed in one country, with the manufacture of its component parts and final assembly taking place in a number of countries, across the world. The marketplace for the product may also be international. – Reference Vincent Ryan
Food Technology – Health & Nutrition Eating well is an important part of the healthy development of the body to fight immunity and support long life. Scientific studies back up evidence that each of the food groups should be consumed on a daily basis to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. Those that do not have access to a healthy diet often suffer from hunger and illness that is known as food poverty. Knowledge about health also requires an understanding of food hygiene and safe practices in the kitchen to avoid contamination and illness.
Food Technology – Sustainability Understanding how food is grown, cultivated, consumed and disposed of or recycled. One way to think about sustainability is to have a seed-to-plate philosophy and greater understanding of food origins and availability, seasonality and different food commodities such as cereal, dairy, eggs, dish , fruits and vegetables, meat, rice etc. There are many organisations petitioning the hospitality and catering industry to adopt more sustainable practices and champion the reduction of food wastage, farming practices, recycling and promotion of different diets less harmful to the environment.
Food Technology – Globalisation Globalisation has led to greater diversity and exchange of food and cuisines between countries, often leading to a far greater access to different cultures and diets. Similarly, the importation and exportation of produce has had a large impact on the environment (see sustainability), but also the food chain and how it is no longer a case of food producer (farmer) to consumer (public), but involves many different suppliers. It has largely been monopolised by transnational corporations and supermarket chains that control the price and availability of goods.



Subject Design Principles:


Project-based learning / Design Thinking

At the heart of our subject lies the creative process, which is implemented through a project-based curriculum in which students learn through a series of stages designed to help them identify and respond to areas of interest or solve problems.


Real-World Learning

Where possible, we like to build partnerships with artists, designers and organisations to give students exposure to professional and/or vocational ways of working in what might be considered  ‘real-world learning.’ We try to map pathways and careers to projects to support our students and understand the application in the world beyond school.



We believe strongly in celebrating the work of students and providing an opportunity to share their work with an audience wherever possible. Beyond providing a meaningful outcome, it reinforces our drive to make work that is real world and purposeful where possible. We often use exhibitions as a chance to engage with the public and students run workshops and demonstrate their understanding that way. 



In line with our school focus on oracy, we also believe that the ability to talk about and express your ideas verbally to be an important skill for artists and designers. Further info can be found via Voice21. Oracy is an important tool for when students are analysing the work of others, critiquing and presenting their own work, which can range from small group discussion to presenting in front of an audience.


Phase Specific Journey:

Phases 1 and 2 Discovery Stage: Developing a love of learning
Phase 1 Journey Our department staff do not teach reception level pupils, but they do explore art with their class teacher through the exploration and manipulation of materials and processes within their main curriculum. It is taught predominantly through a combination of independent exploration and explicit small group instruction with assessments made through termly ‘on track/not on track’ summative assessments. Storytelling and illustrated books plays an important part in drawing pupils into the world of art and developing their visual understanding of the world around them.

Activities for pupils are often part of carousel activities with specific materials and tools available, but also there is a standard provision of resources for general use. Further information can be found on the Curriculum Intent for early years.

Phase 2 Journey The curriculum of our Discovery stage is led by a primary arts specialist. At the very earliest stages of their art and design education in years 1-4 (Phases 1-2), art and design is a fun, energetic and exciting experience for our children. They are able to explore materials, techniques, concepts and storytelling in a creative and positive environment. Wherever possible, Art lessons are linked to cross-curricular projects led by their home teacher as much as possible in order to build on pre-existing knowledge and introduce technical skills. This helps to ensure learning is always deepened and within the context of what they are immersed in every day.


Phases 3 and 4 Explorer /Specilaisms Stage: Developing passions and increasing independence
Phase 3 Journey Year 5-7 is a good stage to deepen and expand children’s understanding of the subject as a specialist discipline, whilst continuing to understand the links between the humanities, maths and sciences.Our curriculum at this stage is predominantly project-based, although there are skills-based workshops designed to develop particular core skills such as drawing for intention. Projects will have starting points that are either thematic/issue-based, process-led or problem–based, depending on the area of study i.e. art or design. Application of the formal elements and principles of design in different art forms deepens their interdisciplinary understanding and visual language.
Phase 4 Journey In year 8-9, we have a carousel programme that is based around particular pathways linked to real world roles within the creative industries, including Fine Art, 3D Design, Foodd Technology and Digital Design We believe that this provides a good grounding towards further study for our qualifications post-14 and 16, when they can choose to study art and design or hospitality and catering.


Phases 5 and 6 Qualifications: Building choice, autonomy and empowered professionalism
Phase 5 Journey We offer GCSE art and design, when pupils will build on the skills learned during the specialism stage in Phase 4 and complete a series of projects across different specialist areas, one of which is a fine art project and one that is a 3D design project. They are then expected to do a project with a title set by the exam board and make preparatory work and a final outcome during a timed assessment period at the end of the qualification.

We also offer a qualification in Hospitality and Catering. Up until this point, pupils will have had the opportunity to study food technology in year 8 and 9. Many of those starting the qualification will have selected it as their elective in the final year 9 carousel, resulting in a good pre-qualification grounding. The qualification is split into two units that cover the Industry and H&C in Action. These are taught concurrently throughout the two years.

Phase 6 Journey As young people enter more advanced stages of their art and design education, we offer a fine art qualification. Our aim is to support students to identify themselves more confidently as an artist, but still be open to exploration. We also want them to be challenged in their thinking around the big ideas and so this stage is about embracing the ‘problematic’ and ‘soul searching’ nature of the subject to mirror their own creative journey. Big ideas such as conceptualism are often challenging to students who hold great value around craft and the importance of aesthetic elements in their work. Conversely, some students are only interested in ideas and more concerned with provoking reactions and debate around issues.