Art & Design


Head of Department: Tom Hordern

Staff Contact Details: Edmond Brooks-Beckman

The Art department at Christ's aims to engage, inspire and challenge students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As students progress through the school, 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 reflects and shapes our history, and contributes to the culture, creativity and economic growth of the world around them.

The department has two large well-equipped specialist rooms with an adjoining kiln room and is led by Mr Hordern, an Art specialist, and Head of the Art and Technology Facility.

It produces consistently excellent results, above national averages. The Department ensures all schemes of study cover the traditional aspects of Art and Design, material topics such as painting, sculpture and printmaking, whilst recognising the need to teach specific contemporary skill sets in digital media and photography.


Key Stage 3

Art and Design aims to ensure that all students:

  • Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other Art, Craft and Design techniques
  • Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of Art, Craft and Design and know about great artists, craft makers and designers
  • Understand the historical and cultural development of Art forms

Students at Christ’s are taught:

  • To use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas
  • To use a range of techniques and media, including painting, printmaking and sculpture
  • To increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials
  • To analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work
  • About the history of Art, Craft, Design and Architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day.

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 are taught at least once weekly and are asked to complete homework every 2 – 3 weeks depending on need and application to the growth of their projects. Students are taught in mixed ability groups when they arrive in Year 7, and this remains the case throughout their time in Art and Design. Assessment takes place in the form of formal written comments led by the department’s teachers and less formal methods of reflective feedback in class critiques and peer feedback. Questioning is a key assessment tool for the department and is fundamental to the creative progress. Topics and themes are updated yearly and reflect current exhibition programmes and new areas of challenge as selected by teaching staff. Students will spend a term each year painting, printing or working in 3D. The scale and ambition of these projects is designed to aid transition to KS4.

Topics covered

Students in Key Stage 3 respond to a range of artists and designers with contemporary and historical references as starting points, and produce a term of painting outcomes, a term of printing outcomes and a term of sculptural outcomes. The skills of painting, printing and sculpture are built upon each year and become progressively more complex. This is designed to reflect the needs of students at Key Stages 4 and 5, where in-depth investigation on a theme is required.


Key Stage 4 - GCSE

GCSE Art and Design offers the opportunity to learn about visual communication and expression.  Students will develop the skills to organise and express their ideas and observations through both traditional and contemporary approaches. Students have three lessons a week and every opportunity to work in the department outside of lessons in numerous extra-curricular activities. Homework is set weekly and is mostly practical.

The course aims to foster in students a broad understanding of the nature of Art and Design. Students build on areas of experience covered in Years 7-9 as well as learning new skills in order to present possible solutions for their ideas in increasingly independent study. There is a critical and historical element to the course and students can expect at least one visit to view major work in a London gallery.

Topics covered

In Years 10 and 11, students will cover the following topics:

Year 10: Year 10 is techniques focussed and students can expect a new artist focus each week, alongside a practical skill to develop

  • Term 1: Distorted portraits – printmaking and painting
  • Term 2: Natural forms - sculpture
  • Term 3: Bookmaking project - illustration/photography/printmaking

Year 11: Year 11 is ideas focussed to encourage students to produce a personal response

  • Term 1: Portfolio Unit - students own choice of outcome, produced in PPE in December
  • Term 2: Controlled assessment. OCR will set a range of topics, students pick one and respond to produce in the pre-Easter GCSE exam
  • Term 3: Exhibition and portfolio presentation

Key Stage 5 - A Level

The teaching of A Level Art and Design at Christ’s is broad and contemporary, seeking to immerse students in an environment where their creativity is challenged and where outcomes reflect personal choices and attitudes. The course features both technical teacher-led workshops and independent project time; allowing students to realise ambitious and present well thought out responses. At Christ's we follow the OCR examination board syllabus.

Students will explore ideas of personal significance and as such will need to demonstrate good research and sound justification in their project portfolios and very independent in their approach.

Homework will involve both research and practical tasks, it is expected that for each lesson studied 1 hour of homework will also be completed. Students are expected to demonstrate an interest in Art and Design outside of school, actively visiting galleries and exploring the work of other artists. Students have every opportunity to work in the Department outside of lessons in numerous extra-curricular activities. Many students who study Art and Design at A Level go on to pursue careers in the creative field and study a diverse range of university subjects.

Topics covered

Year 12 students spend Term 1 completing a range of teacher-led practical workshops, ending with a PPE produced final piece under timed conditions.

In Terms 2 and 3 students choose their own topic from past papers and respond in a wide range of styles and media. Outcomes are encouraged in painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Year 13 students work on self-titled projects and specialise in one area, or can produce a combined portfolio showing a range of approaches for examination. Students have exhibited photography, video and installation, alongside painting, printmaking and sculpture.


Christ's Art and Design department has a proud history of involvement in local and national Art competitions and awards. Students’ work from all stages is exhibited yearly. Numerous opportunities are available through clubs and afterschool workshops.


Potential careers or further education courses for Art and Design pupils after A Levels include:

ArchitectArchitectural technician or technologistArt editorArt gallery curatorArts administratorArt therapistBookbinder or print finisherCeramics designer-maker,Costume designerDesign engineerDressmakerExhibition designerFashion designerFine artistFloristFootwear designerFurniture designerGlassmakerGraphic designerHat designer or millinerIllustratorInterior designerJewellery designer-makerLandscape architectMake-up artistMuseum assistantMuseum curator,Pattern cutterPhotographerPhotographic stylist/technicianPre-press operatorPrinting administratorProduct designerProp makerSet designerSewing machinist,SignwriterTailorTattooistTextile designerTextiles production managerUpholstererVisual merchandiserWeb designer

Exam board


Exam Board: OCR

Course Code: J170


Past papers:


Exam Board: OCR

Course Code: H601


Past papers:

Textbooks and revision RESOURCES

None required for the course.

Revision resources:
N/A. The exam is practical and therefore there are no revision guides.

Useful subject related websites:


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