Art and Design

Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Yinka Shonibare

The Art curriculum at Acland Burghley embeds the ethos from KS3 to KS5 that all students can achieve creative excellence through artistic practice. Each child has the opportunity to develop key technical skills such as drawing, painting, and sculpture/ceramics. The department strongly encourages students to explore and question their imagination through experimentation and persistence, resulting in highly creative and thought-provoking pieces of art.

The Art department believes that students can also help their overall academic learning through critical and analytical research. Our recent units focus on crucial historical and contemporary artists such as Kara Walker, JMW Turner, Grayson Perry, David Hockney and Frida Kahlo.

The Art department consists of five large-scale art studios, in which the facilities are vast. Our studios house a range of professional pottery/ceramics equipment, including two large kilns and potters’ wheels. Expert teachers and technicians are available to support students develop their skills and ideas with these specialist materials. The department also includes a fully functional dark room, consisting of five professional enlargers and photographic equipment to print in A4 to A1 formats. Our screen-printing and etching equipment is also available to enable students to explore further ways of showing and encapsulating their ideas through process and technique.

The Art and Design curriculum at Acland Burghley aims to engage students in questioning ‘What is Art & Design’ by expanding each student’s practical and written skills through imagination, persistence and collaboration. Students think carefully about these creative dispositions throughout their individual journey within the Art Department through creative process, use of professional materials and artistic development.

Head of Creative Arts and Technology

Gwen Frye  |

Subject Lead

Sebastian Willan  | 


Matthew Brotherhood  |

Emma Close  |

Natalie Eaton   |

Megan Oliver  | 

Asma Ali  | 

Jamie Duncan | 



Curriculum Intents and Maps

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In Y7, Y8 and Y9 students will work with a range of creative explorations into specific historical and contemporary approaches and disciplines such as drawing, painting, print-making, ceramics and 3D-work. The formal elements, diverse and key artists and new technology are pinnacle to the refinement and development for each student’s learning resulting in imaginative and disciplined outcomes.

Projects within Y7, Y8 and Y9 enable students to be fully prepared as independent and inquisitive thinkers exploring both 2D and 3D making laying the foundations for GCSE, A-Level and BTEC. Students are immersed within experimenting with a range of materials and techniques such as painting, screen-printing, performance, photography and large-scale sculpture. Students are taught about concept and imagination through critiques and professional practice leading them onto study at some of the world’s greatest art colleges.

Homework is set twice each half term and students can select from a range of tasks that develop and extend the ideas and skills taught through classwork.


Autumn term: Introduction to elements of Art HT1. Developing techniques and Natural forms HT2.

Spring term: Space and Place   

Summer term: Plastic Planet              


Autumn term: Introduction to elements of Art and developing techniques HT1. Patterns in Nature HT2.

Spring term: Masks in Art

Summer term: Animation              


Carousel: Introduction to GCSE mini brief – ‘Collections’

Flying Start: Global Issues

Carousel: Sustained collaborative Drawing Project 



Excellent art work by our students


KS3 Progress planners

Useful websites

Things to see and do

Free galleries in London: Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery, Saatchi, Serpentine, V&A, Camden Arts Centre, National Galley and Whitechapel Gallery.

Extra-curricular activities and club

KS3 clubs run in six week blocks on a rotation each half term – speak to your Art teacher to find out what’s on!

  • KS3 Art Club
  • KS3 & 4 Art Magazine Club ‘Create’
  • KS3 Art Homework Catch up Club


Students are taught a range of techniques, exploration of different mediums as well as learning about historical and contemporary artists to develop their own creative practice. The Art Department has often been praised in guiding and teaching students to become independent learners creating projects that are imaginative, current and thought-provoking. Over the two years, students will cover two units of coursework (60% of marks). The final examination is an early release paper allowing the students to have plenty of time to develop extensive preparatory work before the timed examination session of ten hours (40% of marks).
Working from a single starting point, students develop their own direction of study with increasing freedom and variety, resulting in an impressive body of work displayed in an exhibition at the end of the course. Drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking form the backbone of the course. Within this, students are introduced to a wide variety of techniques including developing using different types of paint, etching, relief printing, transfer printing, screen printing, textile printing, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media.


Autumn term: Seven Deadly Sins

Spring term 1: Journeys

Spring term 2: Journeys mock exam

Summer term: Static and Motion 


Autumn term 1: Static and Motion

Autumn term 2: Static and Motion final piece planning and mock exam.

Spring term 1: Externally Set Exam

Spring term 2: Externally Set Exam

Summer term: Catch up on any incomplete work within portfolios as well as refinement towards final pieces of work to support overall GCSE grade.


Year 10 & Y11 Overview

  GCSE Subject Specification 

Please click through to the links to view more information on the Edexcel website.

Art and Design - Edexcel Exam Board

Useful websites

Things to see and do

Free galleries in London: Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery, Saatchi, Serpentine, V&A, Camden Arts Centre, National Galley and Whitechapel Gallery.

Extra-curricular activities and clubs

Y11 Coursework intervention sessions: Monday lunchtimes and Wednesdays after school 3.30-4.30pm.



As part of the LaSWAP consortium, Acland Burghley offers the following level 3 courses: