Art Department at Rivers Academy


Curriculum Team Leader: Ms K Sullivan

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The Art Department

Art and Design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides students with visual, tactile and sensory experiences, and a unique way to investigate and respond to the world. Students use different materials and processes to record and communicate what they see, feel and think. Through Art and Design activities students learn to make informed judgements, aesthetic and practical decisions, while actively shaping environment’s.

Students explore ideas and meanings in the work of artists, crafts people and designers. They learn about the diverse roles and functions of Art, Craft and Design in contemporary life, in history and in culture. 

Understanding and enjoyment of the Visual Arts have the power to enrich our lives.

The Learning Environment

The Art Department has four main teaching rooms, including a digital photography suite, a dark room, a textiles room and a focus area for quiet study and research. The department is equipped to support a wide range of media, providing students with a broad range of experience. Teaching staff are specialists in drawing and painting, printmaking, three dimensional design, textiles, graphics and photography. Thus we are able to ensure that students excel in whichever media they choose to specialise in.

Key Stage 3 

All students have four lessons over a two week cycle, with homework set every other week. At KS3 students are introduced to a range of media and techniques including, drawing, painting, printmaking, 3D work and textiles. Students are taught to develop creative ideas and project work through research, experimentation, reflection and review. Students will not only develop their artist skills, in preparation for further study, but also learn how to express their thoughts and ideas, and respond to the world around them.

Key Stage 4

All students have four lessons over a two week cycle, with independent learning task set every week. We follow the AQA GCSE Art and Design course, which is run over two years. In Y10 students have the opportunity to develop their skills and explore a range of artistic approaches including drawing, painting, printmaking, graphics, photography, 3D work and textiles. During this foundation Year they will develop two major projects in response to themes such as Natural Forms and Aspects of Architecture. During Year 11 students have the opportunity to specialise and work more independently developing their own choice of project. We offer GCSE Photography for students. The Art Department staff work as a team to support all students to provide the best opportunities for our students to be successful at GCSE.

Key Stage 5

We offer specialist A-Levels in both Art and Photography following the two year AQA course. All students have four lessons per week and are also encouraged to work within the department during independent study. During Y12 students are taught to further develop their skills and explore their own artistic identity. Initially all students are guided through workshops which focus on key skills such as recording, developing ideas, researching, experimenting with materials and review. As the students’ progress they are given more freedom to select their own focus. By the second year of the A-Level course students should be working in partnership with their teachers to develop their final project work.