Art and Design and Photography

art for the web

Art, Design and Photography are observation.  “The more you look the more you learn”, are the words of Damien Hirst, a very famous and accredited visual artist.  Having the ability to be creative is a vital skill to develop as an individual as it celebrates the development of ideas, promotes quality research skills, analytical ability, communication, problem solving, sustenance and expression.   We live in a contemporary world that demands greater creativity from all of us in many different life experiences and careers.  Art and Design is the way forward and provides that edge that young people need to gain the skills in leadership that will drive them forward.

At The Misbourne we pride ourselves on providing every student the opportunity to gain confidence and succeed.  The high expectations we have of ourselves as educators is infectious and we aim to inspire our students to be the best they can, the teaching in our curriculum area has been judged by Ofsted to be outstanding and the work produced  by our students is extraordinary and breath taking.

“The school’s specialist arts status is having a positive impact on provision. Students achieve well in the specialist subjects, the department is strong and well led.  The specialist status is used to develop a range of community ventures and specialist curricular activities. For example, staff use their expertise to support whole-school developmental work to raise student aspirations and improve teaching.” (Ofsted Report December 2011)

“Notable examples of teaching and learning at the highest level include: Year 11 and 13 students working jointly in a photography lesson to share and use a range of skills to demonstrate mastery when using software for design and photography.” (Ofsted Report March 2012)

Our reputation in the local and wider community for visual arts is very high, seeing many of our students attending top Universities and Art colleges.  Student work has been exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery and The Mall Galleries in London. Students have been recognised in The Buckinghamshire Young Artist of the Year competition and we also have work on show in local galleries. A highlight of the school calendar is our annual exhibition in the summer term, this year one of our guest speakers was from Warner Bros Studios who awarded a student prize for achievement.


Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)

In Year 7 students undertake a baseline test in observational drawing and this sets a current level and a challenging target for their progress through Key Stage 3.  We then concentrate on teaching the fundamental elements of drawing, colour and research through project-based themes. Recent themes have included autumn leaves, local environment, self-portraits, happy architecture and pattern. Students become familiar with drawing and painting materials, as well as experiencing mixed media techniques, printmaking and ICT.  Every project demands high quality research to develop the generation of independent ideas and development of them in term of art and design.  Students become critical friends through peer assessment and they learn to express person opinions about the work of other artists and designers, as well as contemporary issues through conceptual work. They gain confidence in the skills of analysis, self-evaluation and presentation. 

In Year 8 students explore more complex skills which include proportions of the face, one and two point perspective, using colour theory to create depth and saturation; we discover the importance of light and reflection to support the illusion of three dimensions. We approach these skills within project-based themes some of which include memories, insects, and still-life.  We experience skills in 3D, mosaic and illustration, whilst continuing with a heavy focus on the fundamental elements of observational drawing and painting. We look at the differences between primary and secondary resources and support students in creating personal work.  Every themed project is supported by the work of other practitioners in art and design.

Year 9 prepares our students with the skills needed at GCSE level, they are encouraged wherever possible to be independent in their thinking and take the lead in their own interests studying contemporary issues.  They learn how to draw the figure using specific measuring skills, discovering the power of silhouette and stencil based techniques used by the artist Banksy.  We also study Impressionism as this opens the door to optical illusion, texture, light, shadow and composition. We also explore how to create the illusion of glass and metallic surfaces.

GCSE Art and Design (Years 10 and 11)

In Years 10 and 11 students are given the opportunity of studying two separate subjects in our curriculum area.

GCSE Art and Design and Photography (Exam Board: Edexcel)

Students can select both option subjects although they must take into consideration the practical coursework demands and the amount of work involved.  Students in our curriculum area perform exceptionally well and trends show that our students achieve some of the highest grades nationally.   We have a high reputation within the borough and local community.  The majority of our students continue to study A Level with us where examination results are outstanding.

GCSE Art and Design: Students complete two coursework topics which are worth 60% and one exam topic that is externally set by the exam board and this is worth 40%.   Within each topic students are encouraged to research independently and it is this that forms the basis for all work.  Students must create work from primary and secondary resources.  We build upon drawing and painting skills developed at Key Stage 3 and introduce students to complex techniques for example colour reduction lino and etchings, silk screen printing and sculptural techniques.  Alongside the practical skills students draw inspiration from artists of their choice as this evokes greater passion and exploration by our students.

In Photography students are taught how to use In-design and Photoshop, for electronic sketchbooks and image manipulation. We also have a darkroom and studio space.

A Level A Level Equivalent (Years 12 and 13)

In Years 12 and 13 students are given the option of studying A Level Art and Design and Photography (Exam Board: Edexcel)

A Level continues the GCSE theme of coursework and students complete one coursework unit across the two years of study. Students are truly independent at this level and teachers guide and support to allow student ideas to become a reality.  In addition to coursework here is a 3,000 word critical and contextual study where students discuss, critique and analyse the work of other practitioners. This study is assessed separately and contributes to 15% of the final A Level grade. In January of year thirteen students are given the external project by the exam board, this is a themed exam and preparation time is eight school weeks with the exam taking place over four days.

Photography A Level is the same format as A Level Art, students are taught how to use In-design and Photoshop, for electronic sketchbooks and image manipulation.  We also have a darkroom and studio space.

Department Staff

Mrs K Cato (Curriculum Leader)
Mrs McHale
Ms B Inscoe
Ms J Whitfield
Ms K Shields (Technician)

All teachers are specialists and teach both Art and Photography.

Excursions, Trips and other interesting projects  

Clubs – Our Sixth Form students become art leaders and run a lunchtime club for key stage three students.

Homework and Assignments

At Key Stage 3 one homework is set every two weeks that should take a minimum of one hour to complete.

At Key Stage 4 students work at very different levels and speeds so instead of setting a time limit to a home-work task students are expected to complete one A2 sketchbook page (or equivalent ) every two weeks.  All tasks set by our teachers count towards their final exam mark in our subject areas.

At Key Stage 5 students work at very different levels and speeds so instead of setting a time limit to a home-work task students are expected to complete one A2 sketchbook page (or equivalent ) every week.  All tasks set by our teachers count towards their final exam mark in our subject areas.

Past Examination Results

Summer 2018

A Level Art:

100% A*-A grade

A Level Photography:

66% A* grade

GCSE Art:                             

16% grade 9

16% grade 8

87% grade 9-4

Progress 8 +1.10   

GCSE Photography:

11% grade 9

22% grade 8

89% grade 9-4

Progress 8 +1.44

Useful Websites and Resources