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Art & Design

Intent for Art & Design

At St Thomas we use the digital visual arts resources from Access Art. The inspirational lesson ideas and outcomes are closely linked, where possible, to our wider curriculum. We have chosen a specific combination of areas to ensure the curriculum is cumulatively sufficient.


The areas chosen are specific to the national curriculum expectations of “becoming proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques”.

  • Drawing & Sketchbooks
  • Surface and colour
  • Working in 3 dimensions

At St Thomas CE Academy, we believe art is an essential aspect of the school’s curriculum. Our art curriculum engages, inspires, and challenges all pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own ideas and understanding of art, craft, and design. It also provides opportunities for pupils to develop ownership over their ideas and create outcomes unique to them, record and annotate them in their personal art journals.  

At St Thomas CE Academy, pupils are encouraged to think about WHY we teach art, to help build understanding of why art and artists are relevant to society. This is achieved by the selecting units of work that allow the children to explore a concept of art, along with various related artists from different periods of time, practising and developing skills using different media and finally applying their knowledge to create a final piece of work.  

The aim of our curriculum is that as pupils progress through the school, they will be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art. The pupils will learn how to improve their ideas by developing strategies to peer and self-assess their ideas. Our aim is for the pupils to develop an understanding and appreciation of how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation and the need for it to be protected in our society.  

This enables all pupils to deepen their understanding of other subjects through art, but also develop the following skills:

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.

Know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.






AccessArt advocates:

  • Before we decide what and how we teach within the umbrella of “art”, we should remember why we are teaching art in the first place. At AccessArt we remind everyone that we teach art because it is one way we can enable children to reach their creative potential. Every child is entitled to develop their critical and creative thinking skills, and to build their knowledge and understanding of materials and techniques, developing their experience of how they can make a creative response to a variety of stimulus, and our role as teachers is to facilitate this journey. So for AccessArt, remembering our core aim is to enable creativity, we place an emphasis on encouraging exploratory journeys, working towards varied and individual outcomes. 

  • Art teaching should be aspirational yet accessible. We specialise in creating resources which help all teachers, including non-specialist teachers, to feel confident and enable to deliver inspirational activities to all children. You do not have to be “good at art” to be a great art teacher – you only need to be willing to explore, alongside your pupils, modelling an attitude of curiosity, open-mindedness, creative-risk taking and reflectional. 

  • Our offering to pupils should be broad and rich, contemporary and diverse. By keeping our understanding of all discipline areas (drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture etc) as open as possible we ensure that we keep art as inclusive and accessible to every child. 

  • Teaching art can and should be as rigorous and disciplined as any other subject. Enabling open-ended creative learning actually requires teachers to understand the structures and spaces pupils need to work to their best. 

  • That we build skills and knowledge through a combination of opportunities for repeated practice and new projects. Art is subjective and experiential – and there are many types of “knowledge” all of which are best understood when the knowledge is embedded in experience. 

  • We cannot and should not apply the same metrics to art as to other subjects. Art is a unique subject to teach/facilitate, and we should embrace that fact. 

  • Through enabling pupils to think about the purpose of art and artists to all our lives, we will ensure that as children grow they feel entitled to express and better understand themselves (and the world in which they live) through making and talking about art. Through this creative entitlement we help nurture citizens who feel empowered to help shape community and society for the better.


Our curriculum map has been created based on the resources and lesson ideas from Access Art. It has been designed to ensure full coverage of the National Curriculum, to ensure learning is sequential throughout EYFS - Year 6 and to ensure the art skills learnt are progressive and build upon prior knowledge throughout each year group. 

Children have opportunity to develop their skills within the following art forms, across different scales, independently and collaboratively:

  • Sketchbook work
  • Drawing
  • Painting and collage
  • Printing making and collage 
  • 3D sculptures
  • Digital media and animation

They also have opportunities to explore artwork created by famous artists, craftspeople, architects and designers from all cultures and times. This helps to generate discussions and questioning to inform their own ideas and preferences.


Throughout each topic, children’s work is evidenced in sketch books which show a wide variety of engaging activities and experiences to support their learning. At the end of each topic, teachers assess pupil’s knowledge and skills through observation, questioning and a variety of outcomes they have worked towards, whereby pupils are given purposeful opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt.

After specific lessons, teachers assess children's knowledge and understanding through a range of questions that enable children to reflect and evaluate on their learning. This gives children opportunities to evaluate and improve their work through teacher guidance. The final evaluation process of each art project allows the children to use key language and specific knowledge that has been covered in that unit.

We feel it is important to take in consideration that Art is too rich, broad, and complex to view in a simple linear fashion as that means pupils are prevented from discovering their strengths and skills. An approach too fixated on learning endpoints, where a child progresses along a linear journey, are most often not conducive to enabling a child to fulfil their potential and are often governed by misplaced value judgements. Therefore, as art is subjective, our teachers are required to carefully think about the value judgements they might be bringing to the classroom. Widening our own perception of how broad the definition of “skills” might be.

Ultimately, we want our children to be inspired and express themselves freely, whilst drawing on the knowledge and skills they are taught throughout each lesson.


St Thomas CE Academy
Great Colmore Street, Birmingham B15 2AT
0121 622 2151