St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Live, Love, Believe

Art and Design

All art should inspire and evoke emotion. Art should be something you can actually feel'

Chris de Rubeis

'Art is not a born talent – it is taught, it is nurtured, it is refined'

Jennifer Gibbs, HMI Ofsted Subject Lead for Art and Design


What is Art?

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power (Oxford Dictionary).


Why do we study Art and Design?

Engaging with art is essential to the human experience. Almost as soon as motor skills are developed, children communicate through artistic expression. The arts challenge us with different points of view, compel us to empathise and give us the opportunity to reflect on the human condition.


Art education encourages pupils to express themselves creatively and can help pupils to develop self-confidence and their sense of personal identity. By studying artistic traditions and history, pupils may gain an appreciation of their own cultural heritage and that of other traditions across the world. 

Education in Art provides opportunities for pupils to develop personal characteristics including -critical thinking, resilience, empathy, appreciation. Wide-ranging technical skills are developed during the study and practice of each theme or media.

Art education ensures equality of access to all pupils, reducing barriers to this cultural capital that may result from disadvantage, such as financial challenge. 


The National curriculum states the purpose of the study of art as:

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.


Intent statement:

Learning within art, craft and design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a special way of understanding and responding to the world. A high-quality art and design education should inspire, engage and challenge children - enabling pupils to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of colour, texture, form and pattern. Children will become involved in shaping their environment through art and design activities, involving different creative techniques. They will explore ideas and meaning through the work of artists and designers. Additionally, as they learn about the history, roles and functions of art, they can explore the impact that it has on contemporary life and that of different times and cultures.


Supporting pupils’ artistic and cultural awareness is crucial when developing both their imagination and creativity. In the EYFS, children have regular opportunities to engage with art, exploring and experimenting with a range of media and materials. They are encouraged to communicate their thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions through art. By the end of Reception, pupils are expected to safely use tools and techniques to achieve a planned effect, share creations and verbalise the processes used to reach the final outcome. Pupils create artworks in guided focus activities and during the continuous provision that children can access each day. In the Reception class, children learn about a significant artist and their work each half term; they use this learning as a stimulus for their own creations. The selected artists represent both contemporary and historic artists, local and international artists and include males and females. Many children enjoy creating artworks and all are encouraged to explore their creative talents and to express themselves through art.


How we build progression in Art


Learning in KS1 builds on the Early Years’ experience where pupils have explored a range of creative activities including, drawing, painting, junk modelling, patterning, 3D sculpture as part of their overarching topics. In KS1, areas of study are formalised into units of learning. Pupils learn skills, techniques and processes in the areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, textiles and 3D. They become familiar with tools for specific artistic processes and the effects that can be achieved with them. Pupils learn about artists, significant in their field, and use their work as starting points for their own creations.


Learning in KS2 further develops the skills established in KS1. Pupils have the opportunity to refine previously learnt techniques and broaden the range of processes they can use. The curriculum emphasises self and peer review of pupils’ artwork so that they develop the ability to comment on artworks and suggest developments to works in progress. The curriculum continues to showcase the work of significant artists and the impact they have had on culture and society. Pupils are encouraged to use the style of significant artists and artistic movements as stimuli for their own compositions.

See below our Art roadmaps that show how lessons are sequenced and build skills over time.